Stress Relief Management
Stress relief management is an interesting keyword combination to write about. At first blush, it would seem that the searcher might be seeking to manage the relief of stress, but I am going to guess that the folks searching for information using those keywords are feeling stressed, and noticing that their performance in some area of their life is impacted by stress, and they would like to change the stress from distress to eustress, and see how their performance results change.
Never heard of eustress? That is the good stress, the kind we have that helps us learn new skills and tools and apply them in our lives. Distress is the too strong stress response that can move us into a flight of fight chemistry where we have three behavioral options, run, fight, or freeze, none of which are appropriate to the office or the living room, unless perhaps you work at the Post Office.
And most of us think that stress will be less of a factor in our lives when we get the outside world organized in the way we want it.
Unfortunately the stress we feel follows our thoughts about the outside world, and the only place I can think about the outside world is in my head.
So stress relief management really means I have to change my thinking in order to feel stress relief.
Most of us can do that, the problem comes in sustaining a stress relief thought, because I can go a gratitude thought, but if I do not keep that thought going for a bit, the powerful stress chemistry will pull me back to my stress thoughts, and the stress chemistry comes back immediately, well, perhaps in 1/18th second, which is about twice as fast as I can blink my eyes.
So stress relief management is going to require that I become aware of and manage my thinking and perhaps my breathing and attend to those processes like I attend to the position of my vehicle on the road when I drive.
Not only attend to the position of my thinking and my breathing, but make it a habit to keep those processes moving in a eustress rather than a distress direction.
Ever leave work and drive home safely and realize that you do not remember any of the drive home?
Well, that happens because safe driving is a habit that your cells have learned and they use that memory while your thoughts may wander all over the place, and I want to manage stress relief in my body like that, have my gratitude thoughts or my breathing technique handy in the background to call up on a moments notice so that I sustain eustress rather than distress.
The tool that has worked the best for me in that regard is Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback.
Heartmath (or the emWave) is a biofeedback tool that gives me real time feedback about the time between my heart beats, or the coherence of my heart beats.
So I can look at a computer monitor and see and hear feedback about how my thinking and breathing impacts this usually unconscious physiological process, and most folks I have taught this too are quite surprised to see their physiology change even as they sit quietly because they have created a stressful thought.
Just as surprising is the change in the opposite direction when folks follow the directions of the Heartmath Coaching tutorial included with the program, breathing with the coach and attending to thoughts of gratitude.
It took me about 6 one half hour practices to sustain the coherent heart beat for up to 20 minutes, which leaves on feeling really contented and relaxed, but I think the really great aspect of the emWave Heartmath tool is that with practice I can recognize much more quickly when my heart beat is incoherent, and move it back to coherence.
That one tool makes me a much better parent, for example, and it certainly helps in my marriage too. Now to get the cats to trained.