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  • Hannah Hempenstall

How To Reduce Stress #1

Feeling wound up? Tight? Anxious?


Stress is common and we're constantly bombarded with health and wellness tips, but are we less stressed as a result?


Not so much, hey.


In fact, we're 100% bugged out and suffering from varying degrees of mental anguish from agitation chronic anxiety.


So how can we create a little more peace in our lives without feeling like we have to add YET ANOTHER THING to our ever-growing to-do lists.


Easy. Take something OFF the list.


If we all downscaled our busy-ness we'd instantly create more room. I tell this to my most strung out clients and I almost always get the same response …


First, they look at me like I just announced I've bought a hot air balloon and am moving to the Moon. Then, when they realise I'm serious, they do one of two things:


  1. They remark how if they didn't have kids they'd be fine.

  2. They admit that yes, that would work, but the problem is, they just have so much to do and so little time, and if they don't do it, nobody else will and then blah blah blah …

That's right, apparently our whole worlds would fall apart if we did one less thing. Because we're addicted to our busy lives.


There are many reasons for this and one of them is that it creates an identity of IMPORTANCE.


If you're busy, you must have important stuff to do, right. And if it's up to you to make sure it's done, then you, by default, must also be important.


Now, I'm not saying any of this to shame or blame. I'm simply stating that if we continue to overfill our lives with activities and tasks that leave us with zero time to pause and reflect, then the only outcome is STRESS.


And with too much stress comes a host of physical symptoms. First, our shoulders will tense. Ever-so-slightly in the beginning but over time the sides of our neck will follow suit causing the fascia that surrounds our muscles to freeze in place which will slightly pull our lower backs, hips and eventually our knees out of shape until we feel PAIN.


At this point we make a choice to sort things out. But the problem isn't in our joints and muscles. The root cause of our problems is in how we live. Take away some of the busyness and you'll find a black hole of space and time that wasn't there before. And it will feel big and overwhelming at first.


You'll feel BORED. You'll be tempted to fill it by scrolling or web-surfing. Or actual surfing (which is better but still not technically relaxing).


The issue with our tired, worn out bodies is that we've been riding the wave of adrenalin and status for so long it's become a habit. We think it's normal. And we think people who do less or don't make plans are lonely and boring, or both.


But making time to do nothing is the greatest gift you can give yourself.


And you don't have to sit and meditate, although I would recommend it because it might help. But usually when we're in an unwinding phase we're tense and terse and sitting still feels impossible.


What we can do is recognise that our stress is a choice. It might be an unconscious one – you didn't wake up and decide to be strung out today – but choosing to ferry the kids around non-stop, or be rigid about doing the washing up or mopping the floors are your choice and if they're creating too much stress, consider what you could do to temporarily relax your standards or remove your need to Do It All.


Ladies, you know who I'm talking to here!


I'm not saying leave the house in a mess and make the kids walk to school. I'm simply inviting in a little awareness. Next time you're feeling knocked out by a migraine or you're frazzled to hell and wish there was a dark room you could crawl into until you feel normal again, ask yourself this:


What is ONE THING that if it got done today by someone else, you'd feel a million times better?


Then have the courage to ASK FOR HELP.


You don't have to do that today. You don't even have to do it tomorrow. But at some point in the near future, maybe, just maybe, you could find a way to ask someone to help you out with one (or more) of those tasks.


Let that simmer in your sub conscious until you're ready, but at the very least, pay some attention to your stress. It's a signal that your body-mind is out of whack. Leave it too long and one (body) or the other (mind) will let you know.


If taking time out alone is too hard, try massage, reiki or reflexology. All three are proven to help the body move into a state of deep relaxation. And you might find that by handing yourself over for some healing, a moment of clarity might awaken inside you.


Whatever you decide, I hope this lands as it was intended: with truth and love.


Daydream more and stress less x

Relax and stress less

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