Recognising signs of stress (& what to do next)

Do you find that when something stressful happens it can set the tone for the whole day?

I really noticed it this week: I got frustrated on the phone to customer services and it set the tone for the next hour or so. It would have wrecked the whole day if I hadn’t taken the steps below to change my state of mind.

Children can really pick up on your mood and the last thing I wanted was for my son to suffer as a result of my bad phone call.

The experience got me thinking about the trigger signs for stress. Everyone’s body has a way of signalling you’re under stress. It’s usually some part of your body tensing up. Once you know what your stress trigger is, you can try and use the steps below so a stressful incident doesn’t cloud your whole day.

Sore shoulders 1 Blog

1. What is your stress trigger? Stress is a physical and mental state. When you’re stressed out you’ll change the way you hold your body. Which part of your body do you tense? For me it’s my shoulders, especially my right one. For my Mum it was her jaw. We all have our own stress spot. If you don’t know what yours is, next time you’re wound up, take a moment to do a mental scan from head to toe and see where feels tense. Looking in a full-length mirror can really help identify where you’re holding tension. 

Catherine breathing Blog

2.  Breathe it out simple and effective – take a big breath in and slowly breathe out. Breathing out relaxes a lot of muscles in your body which is why breathing is so good at calming you down. Try this a few times and see if you’re still tense. Depending on the situation, breathing alone might not be enough to totally de-stress you but it’s a good place to start and it will make you feel better.

I’ve written before about how to take a breatherbreathing to snap you out of it and how using a simple breathing technique to get you through anything


3. Stretch out your stress hopefully you’ve identified where you feel your stress the most so the final step is to move that part of your body to force yourself to reduce any stiffness in your muscles. If it’s your shoulders, try to release some of the stiffness with this stretch or this one.

If you tense up your hands, wiggle your fingers or try this great stretch for sore wrists.

It’s been well documented that yoga can help reduce anxiety and a regular practice is an ideal way to keep calm, strong and relaxed. I hope using some of the basic yoga moves in this post will enable you to regain your inner calm when something has stressed you out.

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