4 Step Attack for Stress

Posted October 23, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five
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By “Attack” I mean a big, giant, tackle-you-to-the-floor kind of hug. That’s what your stress needs. You can keep trying to ignore it, sucker punch it, or manage it. But I’ve found those approaches are worn out and not working. Instead try this more loving tactic for embracing your stress and shifting it to work for you instead of against you. When you learn to leverage your stress, you can master your life (yes, this takes lots of practice!)

I give this “small change BIG shift” exercise to my clients who are super busy and quite stressed. It works for every single person I’ve ever given it to, on any situation. Set aside 15-20 minutes, grab a notebook or your computer/iPad and get cozy with your stress.

  1. Write, “I am stressed about…” at the top of a page or document. Then write everything and anything that is currently stressing you out. Get all of those stressful thoughts and feeling on paper and out of your head. Don’t hold back, the more you write down the more you can release any negative attachments to your stress.
  2. Look back over the list, and notice how you feel reading it. Where in your body do you feel that stress? How would you describe it? Instead of trying to stop those feelings, just let them flow for about 5 minutes. This is allowing you to process and release some of the emotions and body responses attached to your stress. Detach from labeling any of your feelings as good or bad. Anger, frustration, joy, anxiety, sadness, love, hate… these are all valid and necessary emotions. Let them come up and flow in this healthy expression. This step is key… you cannot make the shift in step 4 without first doing this.
  3. Think about how much thought, time, and energy you are directing towards the stressors on your list (which are almost always things you don’t want). If they are things you’re worried about, be honest and answer this question: Is my stress or worry about this beneficial to me or anyone else? Chances are, it’s not. Go through you list and write YES next to any worries or stressor that are helping you and those around you, and NO next to any of the ones that aren’t helping you (or anyone else) be your best or achieve what you want.
  4. Here’s what I call the “small change BIG shift moment”: Get yourself and your energy back in alignment with what you DO want. Look over your list, and find all the NO stressors. Re-write what you want to be stressing (putting emphasis on) instead. If you’re stressing not having enough time, start stressing creating more time. If you’re stressing not having enough money, start stressing being grateful for the abundance you do have in your life. If you’re stressing being overweight, start stressing having more energy and vibrancy within your body.

Stress kick us into our fight or flight response, one of our bodies most powerful systems to keep us alive. Instead of competing against this system, use it to your advantage! Utilize your stress response system to give you all the energy, focus, and drive you need to make your dream a reality and your goals your biggest achievements.

Be aware of what you’re stressing in any moment, and remember YOU hold the power to shift your focus to whatever you’d like. Practice this small change BIG moment each day and watch your stress transform in front of your own eyes.

Imagine a world where our stress response naturally kicks us into feeling more abundant, powerful, and loving. That’s a world that I want to live in!

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.