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Posts Categorized: Make Stress Work For You

Breathing Exercise to Reduce Stress

We can’t think of options and alternatives when we’re under high levels of stress – in fact, we can’t think at all.

Only when some of that stress has been reduced can we put on our thinking cap, challenge our fears, and look for ways to go beyond survival.

Ruminating over your problems may be the only way you know how to cope with stress at first. You may continue to argue your point of view… “You just don’t understand. I followed instructions. I took classes to learn. All I hear from everyone, is why don’t you do this or that, as if I haven’t already tried that and more.”

What is Creating Your High Levels of Stress?

A student in my husband’s college class came to see him one day to tell him she would have to drop out of college. She was a great student, and he was afraid she would not return to school, limiting her chances in life.

He was always a trusted resource and support to his students, and he gently probed the reasons. He listened as she told her story, as shared in today’s post.

I also include information about how the fight/flight response affects us physically, and questions to ask yourself to help you identify what may be causing distress in your life.

How to Turn Challenges Into Advantages

At a women’s retreat, I asked, “Who has experienced stress in the past week?”

All hands went up. I then asked how they knew they were stressed. Their comments ranged from “constantly feeling overwhelmed” to “exhausted.”

They were unable to get everything done that was expected of them and there was little time left for pleasure or relaxation. They felt there was never enough time, there was too much to do, and they were constantly required to learn something new.

As I jotted their responses on the white board, I was reminded again of just how many demands are placed on us every day and the heavy toll it can have on our lives.

The Difficult Choices I Need to Make

There are days I don’t want to get out of bed or go to work or face another day of caregiving.

I don’t feel like being kind to my neighbors or overlooking minor irritations.

I don’t want to know I can choose to forgive or be responsible for how I react to others. It is much easier to blame.

I’m tired of working through all my problems. I don’t want to make the tough choices required of me.

And yet, would I really want to give up the freedom I have to make those difficult choices of getting up, forgiving, and working through tough problems?

Reach Out and Keep Going

Life can change in the blink of an eye; one minute you are living life to the fullest and the next you are faced with some catastrophe. Whether it is the loss of a job or a loved one who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you hear yourself cry out, “Please God, No.”

Whatever the situation, whether you have just received some earth-shattering news or you have simply reached a point where everything in life lacks purpose or meaning, it is a place where you recognize as never before your shortcomings and reach out to God for guidance and strength, and friends for support and encouragement.

Letting Go of Unwanted Stress

Relaxation Audio - Marlene Anderson | Focuswithmarlene.com

Years ago, as part of a design team developing a ten-week program for individuals living with chronic illness and pain, I produced and recorded my first relaxation audio recording for Kaiser Permanente.

I produced a second one some years later with an Emmy-nominated friend who composed the background music for it.

As you listen and follow the instructions in my Relaxation audio, you will focus on the process of breathing. You will tighten different muscle groups, breathe deeply, and then release the tension as you breathe out.

When practiced each day for at least 30 days, you will become aware of where you hold your tension and will learn how to quickly release that tension.

What Turns Normal Stress into Distress

Every day we get up, go to work, make meals, clean our houses, and try to unwind at the end of the day.  We are adjusting to whatever demands are put on us. When properly channeled, stress provides the energy and adaptability to live happy, energetic, and productive lives.

Each person responds to life differently. What one person sees as overwhelming energizes another. Personality traits and our genetic predisposition play a role in how we perceive and respond to circumstances. But that does not mean we are locked into only one way of responding to life’s challenges.

When we recognize and understand what creates a negative stress response for us, we can alter our approach and put that stress to work for us instead of against us.

Understanding the Benefits of Stress

Properly channeled, stress enables us to live happy, energetic, productive lives. It enables us to meet dangers and defend ourselves.

We live in stressful times, constantly bombarded with change and the need to go faster and faster while still maintaining a high level of productivity. As more and more demands are put on us, worry and anxiety become the norm.

But along with unexpected tragedies, adversities, losses, and unwanted changes, we can enjoy times of incredible joy and happiness. We can make stress work for us. Click to learn how to make stress work for you.

Getting to Know You

Adjust Your Focus: Reframe Your Circumstances | FocusWithMarlene.com

When we meet someone new, we say, Hi, my name is_____________, and start a conversation.

As that conversation continues, we gradually get to know one another. So, for those who are new followers of my blog and podcast, I would like to formally introduce myself.

Hi, I am Marlene Anderson and I write and speak on how you can take advantage of any challenge, turning it into something positive and meaningful. (You can learn more about me on my website About page and Speaking & Workshops page.)

As a former licensed counselor and college teacher, I share my training and life experiences, offering strategies to help you tackle life’s challenges. These become a toolbox of approaches that can be used to combat fear and anxiety, recognize and solve problems, and take charge of your life.

How to Make Stress Work for You

Make Stress Work For You by Marlene Anderson | focuswithmarlene.com

If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, anxious about the day awaiting you, you are not alone. We are living in a time of great uncertainty, which causes stress levels to escalate.

Anxiety and fear take center stage, and we struggle to find ways to make life normal again. Often the symptoms are so devastating, it becomes harder and harder to identify the underlying problems.

When our ability to think is compromised, our ability to find resolutions is compromised.

When we try to cope without identifying the underlying core issues, we end up going round and round in circles. Stress levels not only continue to escalate but remain high day after day.