"Tension is who you think you should be; Relaxation is who you are." -Unknown author.
Why stress affects your vitality
Did you know that the first response of the body to stress is a shrinkage of the thymus gland? Now, if you consider that the thymus gland has a lot to do with immunity system and with your vitality, it is obvious that stress can have a direct impact on your health. The typical example is when people are under stress – which causes their natural body defenses go down– and then they end up catching a cold. Long-term stress is harmful because it obstructs the body's natural processes of regeneration and detoxification.
The usual reactions to stress
People's usual reaction to stress is to either "flight" (willing to run away from it) or "fight" (deciding to confront it, as in a struggle where you hope to win). This is because when people are in a state of stress, they use predominately only one brain hemisphere in trying to find stress relief. If they use the left hemisphere, they apply all of their logical, analytical and even mathematical forces to the problem, but fail to apply their intuition as well to solve it. Reason alone is not enough to solve the problem.
Conversely, when people respond to stress using primarily the right hemisphere, they tend to want to escape and run away from the problem, which is not either a sound solution in objective terms if appropriate action needs to be taken immediately. However, in some cases "taking a break" from the problem might be utterly useful, as when you are in the middle of arguments and disagreements with someone else and you decide to have some quiet time to cool down, instead of getting "worked up "in the course of a discussion, which could in fact make things worse.
The ideal approach
Obviously, the ideal approach to find stress relief is to apply both hemispheres to solve a given problem, because with logic and intuition together we become truly creative and are in a much better position to find a sound solution to a stressful situation.
Now, in practical terms, what kind of general, easy and ready-to-use healthy tools can you use to find stress relief the very moment you are under a stressful situation?
3 healthy ways to handle stress and find stress relief:
1) Changing the physical part of the problem
When you are facing a stressful situation, simply ask yourself: What practical physical changes can I make to improve the situation? Let's give an example. Suppose that you are stressed over the fact that you are always coming late to work. You can easily overcome the problem either by changing your patterns and leaving your home half an hour earlier each day, or by changing your mode of transportation. That is a physical change.
2) Changing your own, personal perceptions
As Carl Janowitz says, "most stress in not the result of the event itself, but rather originates from the perceived threat of an event." So changing your perception of an upcoming event can alleviate the problem. Do not magnify its nature. Do not indulge in its unpleasant characteristics over and over. Do not see it as a "punishment". Avoid dramatizing about it. Maintain objectivity as much as possible. Do not take things personally.
3) Practice acceptance, stop the fight to ease the pressure
In some cases you can handle a stressful situation merely by acceptance. For instance, if you are stuck in a traffic jam and find yourself fretting over being late to a meeting or a social encounter, you can say to yourself: "I have no control of the situation. " This takes away the additional pressure that come from fretting or being nervous about the situation.
Are there any holistic remedies that help effectively in achieving stress relief?
Certainly. If you are open to alternative holistic remedies, you may resort to the use of Bach flower essences to put yourself into the right frequency to communicate more effectively with your Feeling Self and be able to find your natural balance. These are non-toxic natural herbal remedies made of flower essences that have unique energies to link you with the positive core of your own being. You may have heard of the famous "Rescue Remedy" , a combination of flower essences commonly used to help people find fast relief in acute emotional situations.
There are 38 different flower essences. Each one corresponds to a specific emotional state. For stress relief you have – addition to the general "Rescue Remedy" – some wonderful essences:
"Cheery Plum" helps you when you perceive that something "is enough to drive you mad" and feel that "you are about to burst" or lose your self-control. This remedy helps you find relaxation in those moments.
"Elm" is very useful when you perceive that an important job or responsibility makes you feel so stressed and you feel that you might not be up to it. This remedy helps you to feel more confident and objective in those situations.
"Impatients" helps you when you feel stressed because you perceive that you are being held up for any given reason. This remedy helps you to find more patience and reduce stress in those situations.
"Oak" helps people who put themselves under too much pressure and over-exert their power from a feeling of duty. This remedy helps you to find the balance needed to fulfill your duties without having to destroy your personal reserves of energy.
How do you take the flower remedies? -Simply add two drops of the flower remedy to a glass of water and sip it through the day as required (people with problems of alcoholism should note that the solutions do contain a very small portion of alcohol). Try not to take the remedy at the same time you have other drinks or food to avoid diminishing the impact of the essence.
Any other recommendations for effective stress relief?
Doc Childre makes a solid point when he affirms that "appreciative feelings activate the body's biochemical systems that help diminish stress and stabilize the psyche". Therefore, a very good and effective practice to relieve feelings of stress is to spend sometimes every day to focus on feelings of appreciation. Try to appreciate small and big things. Make it a heartfelt appreciation. Mere words are not enough.
Indeed, from a metaphysical point of view, the feelings of appreciation and gratitude always raise your vibrations from the lower states (where stress, anger and other similar states remain), to the higher states of consciousness. The higher the state, the less possible it is for stress to be the ruler of your life.