So, what causes you stress?

What a funny question! You might say, I should rather be asking you what does not cause you stress. While everything under the sky seems to have the power to cause you stress, what could you possibly do to counter it? Do you have any ability at all to fight back or is the war hopelessly lost without a shot.

Let me equip you with some stress reduction techniques which will help you in your war against stress.

So, What are the main types of stress management techniques?

The 3 main types of stress reduction techniques are:

1. Cognitive techniques which try to train your mind and redirect your thoughts such as mindfulness, meditation and visualisation.

2. Relaxation techniques which try to appeal to your soul – like connecting with your family and friends, or indulging in your favorite hobbies

3. Physical techniques which work around your body such as physical exercise, Yoga or breathing techniques.

How exactly do these stress management techniques work?

Let me delve into each of these stress management techniques to see how they work so you are fully prepared with your arsenal of tools to win the familiar battle next time around.

1.Cognitive techniques:

Exercises on mindfulness, meditation and visualisation help due to the fact that they arrest the chain of negative thoughts and imaginations that further exacerbate stress. Stress causing thoughts often associated with negative emotions such as fear, anger, worry, jealousy etc.. gain strength only when the mind continues fueling them with more emotionalised thoughts. These thoughts develop into gigantic spiraling waves inside our head, directly leading to stress and anxiety. The moment you are able to calm your mind and stop fueling more thoughts, the spiral waves lose momentum and fall flat to the ground. These stress reducing exercises such as mindfulness, meditation and visualisation all train the mind to stop feeding this tornado of thoughts. However, they do need patient practice over time before you start seeing results.

2. Relaxation techniques:

Connecting with your loved ones or indulging in your favourite pastime, is a simple method to disengage and re-balance your mind. By doing so, you are reminding yourself that there are other more important or enjoyable matters that you can use to fill your mind space. This often results in decluttering your mind and in gaining a much needed clarity of thought. Not only is stress and anxiety reduced as a direct outcome due to such a mental shift, but also, often times, a new perspective or solution is obtained as an indirect outcome. Hence the importance of a healthy work life balance cannot be stressed enough.

3. Physical techniques:

“I am too stressed to workout today”

“I am too busy to practise Yoga or breathing today”

“I am too tired to go play football tonight”

Sounds familiar? How often do you say these to yourself? By giving yourself an excuse, you are actually throwing away a golden opportunity to counter stress. You are forgetting that your body has a wonderful and powerful influence over your mind. By doing that physical exercise you can elevate your mind to go above stress inducing thoughts. Use this to your fullest advantage and let exactly those reasons of being too stressed, too busy or too tired, drive you to go do your exercise. The awesome after-effects of self-confidence and accomplishment usually always shatters that stress to pieces!