classic stress reduction strategies

 

stress reductionHow often do you have stress headaches or difficulty sleeping?  Does stress ever make you short of breathe, jittery or tense?  Most of us experience some of these and other physical symptoms of stress.  Clenched teeth, knots in your back, waking at night and queasiness are all common reactions to stress. In fact, many of us go through our days on automatic pilot, barely registering the affects stress has on our bodies.

Physical symptoms of stress are extremely uncomfortable and can interfere with our ability to function on a daily basis.  Over time, we can end up exhausted and feeling unable to calm down, relax tight muscles or lessen other aches, pains and physical signs of stress.

 

The Body Scan

The body scan is a classic strategy to restore your connection with your body.  At first it may seem counter-intuitive to enhance your connection to your body when you’re uncomfortable, in pain and hoping to escape physical symptoms of stress.

But the body scan, a timeless technique involving a thorough and minute focus on the body, allows you to feel relaxed and more at home in your body.  The central goal of the body scan is to become aware of your body, without trying to change how you’re feeling and without thinking about or judging yourself.  The intention is not to try to reduce tension, but just to be aware of you body.

Interestingly, when you are not trying to reduce tension and maybebecause you are not trying to reduce tension, the result often is the reduction of tension and other uncomfortable stress symptoms.

The body scan begins by bringing attention to different regions of your body.  In The Stress Response, I suggest that you start at the top of your head, noticing sensations in your head, face and neck.  You then move your attention slowly down through different regions of your body, simply becoming aware of tension, discomfort or other sensations that you might have been overlooking.  The body scan can also begin at the toes, slowly working up through the body.

In either case, accepting what you find, as you move your attention through your  body allows you to tap into new ways of feeling and being in your body.

If you practice the body scan often, even daily, without the intention of changing symptoms of stress, you just might find that you’re symptoms do, in fact, change.

Click here for a podcast leading you through a body scan.

You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.

Stressed woman photo available from Shutterstock

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About davepyl

Though I have held many jobs over the years, being a fiction writer has always been my main interest even though I may not have always pursued it well enough. Originally from Princeton, IN, where I graduated High School and took writing related courses, I went on to attend Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN, and obtained a degree in journalism. After working a few years as a journalist and freelance nonfiction writer, I pursed other careers. late in the 90’s my interest in writing fiction resurged with stronger and better ideas, I have taken courses through Full Sail University to help me hone my skills as a creative writer. Now my plans are to focus more on writing fiction in addition to my day job and build it as a career in as many ways as I can: books, short stories, scripts, comicbooks. My writing credentials include: *KNOX COUNTY DAILY NEWS | Feb 1988 – April 1992; Staff Writer / Journalist; * OFFICIAL DETECTIVE MAGAZINE GROUP | 1990 – 1992Freelance Writer / Photographer; *VIETNAM MAGAZINE | April 1995 • Contributing Writer (Short Story) – “Operation Babylift” *MIDNIGHT ZOO | May/June 1991 • Contributing Writer (Poem) – “Lady In Black” *REUNIONS MAGAZINE Summer, 1995 * Contributing Writer Reunion at George Field *QUILTER’S WORLD | April 2004 • Contributing Writer (Short Story) – “Two Visionaries” *STORYTELLER MAGAZINE | Nov/Dec 2010. • Contributing Writer (Short Story) – “The Ol’ Conner Place” short story *TALES OF THE TALISMAN | Oct 2011 • Contributing Writer (Poem) – “Bloody Red Riding Hood” *REUNIONS MAGAZINE Fall/Winter 2012 * Contributing Writer Morgan/Bivens Family Reunion * Frontier Tales magazine/ Winter 2012/ Battle of Three Lakes and what inspired you to write your book. The battle between the ani-men and the JLA, from Justice League America issues 221-223-1984.
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