Last week we talked about the “box” so many people find themselves in and the stress that living there causes them. If you´re interested in releasing stress from your life, you need to get out of that box!
But of course you can get yourself out of the box and start releasing stress, you need to recognize that you are in it!
How To Recognize That You Are Living `Inside The Box´
Step 1: Listen to your internal-external conversations
Any time you catch yourself using the language of stress. Expressions like: I have to, I must, I can't, I need to, I ́ll try - you are in the box.
Step 2: Check in with your body and your emotions
As soon as you feel some kind of negative or separating emotion, you are in the box.
So, once you recognize you are inside a box, how do you go about stepping out of it?
How You Can Step Outside That Box
We actually all have our own ways of getting out of that box, though we may not be consciously aware of them.
For some people, listening to music is a great way of releasing the stress they feel.
Before I go on though, here's a bit of food for thought:
Do you know the American Medical Association (AMA) reports something like 90% of all disease is stress-related?
Which essentially means, you either make time for relaxation in your life now and get out of that box now, or you will be forced to make time for disease, later on.
Think about that.
So, as I said, when it comes to getting out of the box, some people listen to music. Some people work out. Others, like myself, read uplifting and inspiring books or watch thought-provoking TED Talks.
Of course, there are probably just as many creative ways for releasing stress as there are creative individuals.
Ideas For Your Stress-busting Toolkit
Here are a few more ideas to add to your stress-busting toolkit:
- Enjoying nature
- Talking to a friend
- Playing an instrument
- Arts & Crafts
- Walking on the beach
- Singing in the rain
- Doing something nice for someone you care about
Think a bit about how you relieve stress in your life and make a list of your own. These are the ways you, personally, step outside the box. When you find yourself feeling un-resourceful, having your list close to hand can make stepping outside the box both easier and faster than ever before.
Awareness is key here.
The Role Fear Plays
As I mentioned before, every in the box state is based on some level of fear.
Fear often causes us to breathe shallowly or even hold our breath. When we do that, what do you think happens? We deprive our brain and our body of what we need most to get out of that box - oxygen.
When you oxygenate your brain, it helps your body in releasing stress.
Let's just test that, here and now, with an exercise I call Three Conscious Breaths.
When stress is distracting you, this simple exercise helps you focus on what it is you want to accomplish; it brings you back into the present moment.
Here's how you do it:
Breathe deeply, then p-a-u-s-e…
And breathe out again as if you were gently blowing out a candle.
Then, do it again. Go through this simple cycle three times.
Make a habit of doing this whenever you catch yourself feeling negative, stressed, or fearful. It makes a world of difference in your sense of well-being and personal power.