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Article: Taking Care of Stress on a Day to Day Basis

How we feel in our body is our feedback loop for stress. Tensions, fatigue, feeling emotionally low or too wired are some ways our bodies tell us that we are stressed. Stress is a body event. I am a mindfulness-based body psychotherapist. So I know from experience the tremendous value of attending to how our body feels in the moment for relieving stress.

Here are 5 basic ideas to help with stress in our day-to-day lives. We know these are working by how our body feels:

  1. Seek out balance: This is everyone’s job on an ongoing basis. I don’t know anyone who has this down pat. Nevertheless going after balance relieves stress for sure. We need to balance work with rest and play, routine activities with new and exciting ones, alone time with people time.
  2. Take care of body basics: *sleep * exercise* good nutrition*limit caffeine, alcohol, quit smoking.
  3. Spend time every day slowed down and absorbed in the moment. For you this could be meditating, tidying, gardening, yoga, relaxed walking, praying, art. For this we need to be willing to do less and enjoy what we do more.
  4. Take time away from computer, cell phone, blackberry, TV. Too much time wired into technology brings us into more automatic, fast and therefore tense and numb way of being in our bodies.
  5. Seek satisfaction: We never ‘get there’ in this life, so it’s quite fine to take the journey in a manner that seeks out deeper satisfaction. This way we discover that something like ‘retail therapy’ feels good and gives a lift but it doesn’t satisfy deeply the way that improving our work situation, our relationship with those close to us, helping others, or our own creative endeavors does. It’s really not selfish to seek out deeper satisfaction. Not only does it relieve stress, but everyone around us benefits as well.

Here are 3 quick tools for sure fire stress relief:

  1. At any time we can meditate on three consecutive breaths. Just by noticing how you are breathing for 3 breaths in a row, without judgment or correction, you’ll see your body reorganizing the stress patterns in a satisfying manner.
  2. Take 5 minutes out to simply notice your body sensations. Leaving behind your thoughts and emotions. You simply choose to focus on body sensation only. You will be amazed at how well your body takes care of it’s own stress and tension just by doing this.
  3. Think of something that you are grateful for. Notice what happens in your body as you hold the thought of gratitude. 

— Nancy Christie

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Nancy Christie BFA, CYW
Suite 404
170 The Donway West
North York Ontario
M3C 2J2

Certified Sensory Motor Psychotherapist Advanced Practitioner
Member Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy
Member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
Clinical Member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
—Anaïs Nin