“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz

Did you know that 20,000,000 Americans suffer annually from chronic pain and other health issues due to stress? Did you also know that the annual cost to the economy due to lost wages and medical care is over $150 billion dollars annually? According to the American Journal of Family Physicians, two-thirds of visits to the doctor are stress related.

Shocking isn’t it?

Any demand on the body, pleasant or painful creates stress. Even good stress can be unhealthy if the stress is long term, non-specific or a number of good stresses all at once. The important thing to learn is how to balance your stress.

Stress not only exacerbates anxiety, pain, and illness, it can be the cause.

Moderate amounts of stress can also be beneficial, helping us to draw upon our potential to be the best we can be. But at some point, as stress builds and we go past our peak performance, stress can begin to debilitate us.

We all react differently to the stressors in our lives. However, there are ways that you can reduce your stress response.

Breathing exercises, visualization, self-hypnosis, inner reflection and other simple techniques have proven to be quite useful in dealing with stress.

1) Try Deep Breathing. Stop what you’re doing, sit down, and take a few slow deep breaths. Inhale to the count of three, hold to the count of three, and exhale to the count of six.

When we experience stress we don’t breathe correctly. This causes oxygen deprivation and added tension to our muscles, exacerbating or even causing anxiety, pain or illnesses.

2) Think of Positive Things in Your Life. In the movie “The Sound of Music”, Julie Andrews sings the song, “My Favorite Things”; which tells us that when she feels sad she thinks of all her favorite things and then she doesn’t feel so bad…

Our mind takes in information from the outside world through our senses. When we remember something pleasant we sense that experience and our bodies then naturally produce a chemical response that creates a pleasurable feeling.

Your mind controls your body and you control your thoughts that control your mind. Take a minute and remember something positive in your life. Close your eyes and think about this positive experience with all your senses. Notice how your body responds to this wonderful memory or thought…and breathe.

3) Take Minute Vacations. Visualizing can assist you in relieving daily stress and help you feel more calm and relaxed.

I invite you go to a safe special place in your mind and notice the details with your senses. Look around and see the beauty surrounding you. Listen to the sounds as you relax even more. Feel that sense of tranquility and calmness…and breathe.

Create a special word or phrase that will assist you in returning to your special place anytime you want to reflect on this wonderful feeling again.

4) Enjoy a Power Snooze. It’s important to take time for yourself. Enjoy a short 10-20 minute nap, self-hypnosis session, or meditation during the day.

Most of all remember to BREATHE…and always soothe yourself with words of kindness.

“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.” ~ Wayne Dyer

To Your Success,

Marla Brucker

Peak Performance Coach