Stress occurs in the hypnotic state. Something happens to which we react with a negative emotion, and we subconsciously conflate that trigger with our emotion about it. Our subconscious minds can’t tell the difference between the trigger and the emotion. Hence, we believe that, as long as the event is true, we have no choice but to be stressed about it. Sadly, we can’t always control what happens in the world around us, but, fortunately, we can have an effect on the way we respond to it.
One effective way to release stress as soon as you begin to experience it, is to acknowledge to yourself that whatever triggered the stress and your emotion about it are two separate things. It may sound too simple, but your subconscious mind believes that you’re in much more danger than you are. It believes that what triggered the stress is life-threatening, and it’s reacting as though you have to run or fight for your life. It does this without consulting you. In that moment, if you remind yourself consciously that you’re responding emotionally to a stressful trigger, it puts you back in control.
“Stress is an automatic response triggered by your subconscious when it believes your life is in danger.”
Once you’re back in control, there are more things you can do to bring about relief from stress. Speaking comforting phrases is often quite helpful. “I am safe,” “It’s all right,” or “All is really well with me,” are effective choices. Reminding yourself that you are safe is especially effective because, as mentioned, your subconscious mind believes you’re in as much danger as you can be.
Breathing properly can also help you feel calmer. Imagine that you’re drawing the breath all the way to the bottom of your abdomen, to the area below your navel, so that your stomach expands with each inhale. If you’ve ever watched a baby sleeping, you’ve noticed that the baby’s stomach rises and falls, not the chest and shoulders, as with adults. That’s the proper way to breath. It’s helpful with stress relief because one thing that changes when you’re in the state of stress is that your breathing becomes shallower. When you’re breathing so that your chest and shoulders rise and fall, you’re closer to launching stress at the tiniest trigger because you’re already part way there. Choosing to breathe properly makes it impossible for your subconscious to trigger all of the stress responses.
You can also utilize soothing acupressure. Lay the palm of your hand on the crown of your head, close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply. Or, using your index, middle and ring fingers, place the tips vertically on the area between your eyebrows so that your index finger is on your forehead, your middle finger is between your eyebrows, and your ring finger is at the top of your nose. Press them there with your eyes closed while you take in a few deep breaths. Acupressure is most effective if you hold the position for two minutes or more, but however long you can hold it will always be helpful.
However you decide to handle your response to stress, you will be empowered. Stress is an automatic response triggered by your subconscious when it believes your life is in danger. Any time you make a conscious choice to respond differently, you take control back. It becomes much more likely that you’ll be able to mitigate the stress response because you’re operating from your conscious mind as opposed to your subconscious.
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