“I’m stressed.” How often have you said or thought this? At least once in your life, I bet. There are many reasons why you could feel stressed. An example of this is exam stress, which is something I have recently experienced.
I was working towards my Level 5 Sport and Remedial Massage diploma. Even though I worked hard all year, I still wondered if I had done enough to guarantee a pass. And with English not being my first language, I was anxious (as anyone would be) about the written part of the exam, especially as I needed to include many anatomical terminologies.
However, I decided not to allow my exam stress to overwhelm me. Instead, I explored many interesting techniques to deal with stress. And this is what I will be sharing with you today.
What is stress?
Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed by situations or events in your life. It’s normal to feel under pressure at times. However, if it leaves you struggling to cope with life, then that’s when you will experience negative effects on your mind, body, and behaviour.
To know what negative effects to look out for, I’ve listed some signs below.
The effects of stress on your body include:
• Upset stomach
• Muscle tension or pain
• Chest pain
• Sleep problems
• Panic attacks
The effects of stress on your mind include:
• Lack of motivation
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Irritability or anger
• Feeling neglected or lonely
The effects of stress on your behavior include:
• Overeating or undereating
• Angry outbursts
• Drug or alcohol abuse
• Social withdrawal
• Exercising less often or none at all
• Starting to smoke or smoking more
Now we know what stress is, we can look at how to beat it.
10 Ways to Deal with Stress by Me
Yes, I know, you hear it all the time. But I can assure you that exercise is good for stress relief. And you don’t need to join the gym. You could go for a walk. Why is exercise great? Well, exercise increases endorphins, which improves your mood. And with an improvement in your mood, you’ll be able to deal with stress better. If the word ‘exercise’ still fills you with dread, then let’s call it ‘meditation in motion’ instead. (On that note, I’m off for a run) )
A good night’s sleep is important for your health. As an adult, it’s necessary to get at least seven to nine hours sleep. But trouble sleeping is one of the effects of stress – you can’t drift off to sleep if your mind keeps going over things. The solution is to find a bedtime routine that helps you to relax. For example, you could read before bed (not off the screen).
3. Guided meditation
What is guided meditation? It’s meditation with the help of a guide. This guide will be a trained practitioner or teacher. Guided meditation can be given in person, but you can also have it via video, audio, or written.
There are several types of meditation, but most of them have four elements in common:
• A quiet location with few distractions.
• A comfortable posture.
• A focus of attention – a chosen word, or the sensation of the breath, etc.
• An open attitude
I have tried guided meditation, thanks to my good friend Kerry Sheahan – massage therapist and meditation teacher - who gave me some pointers. She recorded for me a short guided meditation session to help me focus and relax. At the moment she is practicing and running meditation classes in Clevedon, and very soon she will bring her knowledge and mindfulness to Bristol as well.
More about guided meditation and her classes you can find on this link http://whitegroveholistics.co.uk/meditation/
It’s a brilliant way to help you focus and work with the subconscious.
Okay, yes, I’m a massage therapist, but I can assure you this isn’t the only reason why I’m suggesting to get a massage. Since having to deal with exam stress, I have had many massage sessions which have helped me to relax. When looking for a massage therapist, you need to make sure the massage therapist is trained and experienced – I have heard that a massage therapist called Krzys Klinowski at BMM is great by the way.
5. Breathing techniques
I have tried breathing techniques. They are great, and you can do them anywhere. To do the breathing technique, you need to make sure you are comfortable – you can do it standing, sitting, or lying down. You then need to breathe gently in through the nose and out through the mouth. You should repeat this for three to five minutes.
6. Healthy eating
You might be tempted to eat an unhealthy snack when you feel stressed, but this can lead to overeating and guilt. What you need to do is avoid or limit caffeine ( that the hard one, while you need to revise), limit your alcohol intake, have regular meals, and don’t emotionally eat.
7. Socialise with family and friends
Spending time with family and friends is a great way to relax – as long as they are the ones that don’t cause you stress. So, go to that family barbecue, or even take a trip to the cinema with a friend. Sometimes sitting and talking with a friend can relieve stress.
8. Get a hobby
Hobbies are great for stress relief. No, you don’t have to take up knitting. There are many different hobbies that you can try. You have photography, writing, baking, reading, woodworking ( I am making some honey comb shelves), plus much more.
Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary therapy that uses hypnosis. I had a few sessions, and they helped me to deal with my anxiety. And the sessions aren’t only for exam stress, it can help to improve your motivation for exercise, and to stop smoking, plus much more.
10. Positive thinking
Researchers have found that positive thinking can help to reduce stress. Before my exam, I focused on passing my exam rather than failing.
And it worked – I passed with a distinction grade.
So there you have it – 10 tips for dealing with stress. Some will work for you, and some won’t, but do try them. And if you do want a massage, remember I’m a massage therapist. With my additional training and experience, I can guarantee that you will be in safe hands. Interested? Then see the website link below.