As an organizational psychologist and happiness expert, I can tell you that people think it’s normal to be stressed, overwhelmed and tired, but it’s not! Certainly, when experiencing it, stress gives energy, but in the long run, it hurts our performance.
Stress is the answer to a perception of danger. In difficult situations, the adrenaline released allows us to be fast, strong and agile. It’s very practical in the moment, but in the long term it harms our physical and psychological health.
Here are the 2 most effective tips I recommend in my practice.
1-Breathe Slowly and Deeply
By slowing down our breathing, we send a signal to our brain that we are in control. This allows us to react better because we are more effective when we are calm than when anxious or exhausted.
A practical tool to control our breathing is cardiac coherence. This method of monitoring heart rhythms was discovered by American researchers and then widely publicized by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.
It is believed that the average number of complete breaths that is related to positive emotions and well-being is between 5 and 7 per minute, depending on the person. By “complete breathing” we mean long, deep inhalations and total exhalation: the cycle is about 10 seconds in total (5 seconds of inhalation, 5 seconds of exhalation).
Quick tip: Try this…Try a breathing video to help guide you with your breathing. In addition, I suggest you download the APP RespiRelax – iOs or RespiRelax – Android on your smartphone, so you can easily “de-stress” between crises in about five minutes!
2-Learn to De-dramatize
Stress, as previously mentioned, is caused first and foremost by our perceptions or interpretation of events. If you think a situation is severe or negative, your stress automatically increases. Conversely, if you think there is a solution to everything and that things could be worse, your stress decreases.
One thing I love to do to help de-dramatize comes from the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. The book poses the question “will it matter a year from now?”. Usually, the answer is NO! Most of the time, we are stressed with things that are usually quickly resolved. We tend to manage multiple emergencies and crises per week to which we most often find solutions. I always say: “if there is not a solution, there is a lesson!”
Quick tip: Try this… Since I am not a physician, when dealing with problematic situations, I often say to myself: “There are no lives in danger” and this allows me to regain my composure in order to find the best way to deal with the issue.
Do you want to know more?
You can learn more tips on managing stress in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, in chapters 12 and 13.
21 Days to Happiness is a practical guide offering 21 different simple techniques to try for 3 weeks in order to increase your happiness, productivity and energy. Do you have 10 minutes a day?
About the Author: Ingrid KELADA, Monthly Mentor, is an experienced psychologist, speaker and happiness expert. As a speaker, she has facilitated over 1000 workshops around the world. People find her to be pragmatic, inspiring and funny! With over 25 years experience, Ingrid offers her expertise to a wide range of clients. She is bilingual and a member of the professional association of Psychologists of Quebec, Canada. Ingrid is also the Author of 21 Days to Happiness. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated or just want to increase your happiness, Ingrid teaches you how to be happier in just 10 minutes per day. Read More…