Stress Management Tools

Anger Management – How to Make the Mind Work Faster Than the Tongue

"People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing."

~Will Rogers

Anger gets a bad rap in the sphere of emotions. Anger, expressed in a healthy manner can help resolve conflict and develop trust within a relationship.  This misunderstood emotion is sometimes feared, suppressed, or even ignored. As with any feeling, anger can have varying degrees of intensity.  Extreme anger, like road rage, can be potentially damaging to ourselves as well as those around us. Repeated rage episodes can affect our stress levels by temporarily altering our body’s chemicals, rising blood pressure, and increased heart rate.  So what are some ways to make the mind work faster than the tongue in the heat of an argument?

Give permission to make space. Give yourself the O.K for a time out during an argument. This doesn’t mean walking away from conflict without a resolution. Be prepared to say something like, “I am too angry to discuss this right now. I need space for (time needed) and would like to discuss this at (time). You have given yourself permission to disengage from a potentially explosive situation. Your choice to battle it out may also set up the need to win, be right, and not hear what the other person is saying to you.  The other person may choose not to disengage. A suggested response is to repeat your permission statement again, and possibly a third time. Repeating your permission statement will help prevent diving back into the conflict again.

Walk in someone else’s shoes. When we feel intense anger, our mind can create “stories” about the other person involved in the conflict. Let’s take road rage, for example. Your story could include why the driver is so slow, how they have ruined your day and how they should have their driver’s license taken away from them. The situation suddenly became your viewpoint only. Do you really know the truth about the driver and the reason for their slow driving? Take a deep breath and walk in the other person’s shoes. What can you do for them? Getting out of story-making mode and your ego can quickly diffuse an anger-related situation.

Time is on your side. Developing a different way to look at things before experiencing intense anger can makea difference when you are in the heat of the moment. Examining beliefs about anger can better prepare your mind to be faster than your tongue.  An example of a belief around anger could be “I have to win an argument no matter what.”Such a belief may be an experience from childhood. Think of our beliefs as the lens through how we see the world. What would happen if you shifted your thinking, to “I can have the conflict with an outcome of a win-win negotiation?” The second belief allows the people involved in the conflict to be more like a team rather than opposites in a boxing ring. Shifting your beliefs can change your experience-and reduce your stress. over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

“How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions a Big Success”

New Year’s Day signifies a date of resolution for many people.  However a recent poll suggests that 56% of folks are not likely to make a resolution for 2011.  Is January 1 the only day to implement life changing habits? Statistics show that 75% of people keep their resolution week 1. At two weeks, 71 % are still going strong with their goals. At 30 days, 64% are still keeping with the program. However, at 6 months less than half (46%) are still keeping their resolutions.

The power in change lies in the fact that we can pick any day to resolve an unwanted habit. Achieving success can greatly increase when we have the following three suggestions.

Pick one goal. Many people set two or three major New Year’s Resolutions. Attempting to quit smoking, drinking and lose weight are major life changes Yet oftentimes, those are the most common resolutions.  Keep the focus on one goal. Write down your goals and read them through. Pick the one goal that rings true to you.

Set structure for success. Once you have selected your goal, plan how you are going to set up your day to support your goal. Our conscious mind may be on board for you to achieve your goal with “I know I want to quit smoking” or “ I really want to lose 20 pounds”. However, your subconscious mind may be kicking and screaming about changing your habit. Pre-planning your day can make all the difference in the world for your goal success. For example, making a meal plan and packing your food the night before can decrease the chance buying fast food the next day. Sugarless lemon drops in your desk drawer may help stave off nicotine cravings. Setting up preventative measures can keep you prepared for staying on track with your goal.

Get support. As you set up daily structure for success, you will undoubtedly find opportunities for support programs. A big mind trap can be thinking that you are the only person going through change in your life. The truth is there are countless people working through the same goal all around you. Find one person or a group of folks working at the same goal. You will have greater success in achieving your goal if you are accountable for your choices. You may find local programs, friends or internet groups that align with your goal. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak.  Getting support in place shows a level of commitment to make true change in your life. over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

Three Quick Stress Relief Techniques to Reduce Tension Now

crazy_busy_dayA secret to practicing effective stress management is using a toolbox of valuable techniques to calm you during stressful events. Here are three simple but powerful stress relief techniques to regain relaxation quickly when difficult situations overwhelm you:

1.    Breathe. A response to stress is shallow breaths, or chest breathing. This type of breathing is not the most efficient way to draw air into the body, since you are mostly filling the upper part of your lungs. On the other hand diaphragmatic breathing fills the lungs with life-giving oxygen. This type of breathing fills the lungs to capacity. Here is a method to practice diaphragmatic breathing. While lying on your back, place your hands on your abdomen near your naval. Take deep breaths, feeling the rise and fall of your abdominal area. Taking a few deep breaths will not only oxygenate your body but also will help improve circulation, decrease anxiety and increase alertness. We were born diaphragmatic breathers so with just a bit of practice we can regain this skill naturally.

2.    Inhale. Certain essential oils may help reduce the effects of stress. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to soothe the jangled nerves. Keep a small bottle of your favorite essential oil in your desk drawer at work or in your purse. Sprinkle two or three drops onto a tissue or cotton ball and inhale. Some relaxing essential oils include lavender, bergamot, tea tree and sandalwood. Use a ceramic or electric diffuser to disperse evenly in a room. (Caution should be used with some essential oils. Avoid directly applying the oil to your skin as it may cause skin irritation. Some essential oils should be avoided in pregnant. When in doubt, ask an aromatherapy practitioner or physician.)

3.    Gratitude. How do some people change their mindset during stressful times? One strategy is an attitude of gratitude. You can quickly change a negative mood or attitude to a much brighter outlook on your situation by following this suggestion. Ask yourself, “What five things am I grateful for right now?” The list could include family, friends, health or even clothes and a warm food. This practice can rapidly shift your perception and bring clarity to a complicated, stressful situation. Remember a negative attitude begets a bigger negative attitude. Break pessimistic thought patterns with thanks.

Practice one or all of these suggestions over the next three to four weeks. You may very well begin to notice a greater sense of well-being and peace in your life.

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