Stress has a way of getting the best of us sometimes. There are so many ways to combat anxiety and shift yourself out of a stress response while it’s underway. The important thing is to make the effort and remember that as human beings, we aren’t meant to be processing high levels of stress chemicals in our bodies and minds the way most of us do on a daily basis.
If you’re noticing yourself reacting to stress and being gripped by it throughout your day, it can be a signal to you—a physical manifestation that your body is exhibiting to get you to pay attention to it. And we love our bodies, these great vessels that contain all of who we are. Be kind and loving where you can. That can look like tuning in before, during, or after stressful reactions, guiding yourself through them with any and all tools. This is what we call practicing extreme self-care in the truest sense. And by pushing against stress with practical tools, you are stepping into another way of operating in the world in a more high-functioning capacity. Not to mention, you’ll live longer and look younger—we’re sold. Here are some next-level ways to move into your Zen-est self.
Those long, cool, boho beaded necklaces with a tassel? Get one. They have a higher purpose than just adorning your awesomeness. Most of them have 108 beads, which is a sacred number in India. These japa malas are traditionally used to keep count while silently reciting a mantra, phrase, or affirmation as your fingers move over each bead. You might say something as simple as “I am whole and complete” or “I am loved,” or even a sacred mantra like “Om Namah Shivaya” or “Sat Nam.” Whatever one you choose—that resonates for you—will calm you mentally and physically when you’re in a tight spot, moving you out of a stressful moment. When you put that necklace back around your neck, you’ll be high-vibing throughout the rest of your day, with those beads holding your intention, uplifting you, and reminding you to stay in your center.
Your subconscious mind (SM) dictates 90% of your life. It holds all your memories of everything that’s ever been said or happened to you, your imagination, as well as all your emotions. And the kicker is that it’s surrounded by your autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is in charge of all the chemicals that create the stress response. By working with your SM, you can go right to the juggernaut of the stress regulation source.
You have programming in the SM that wires you to become stressed and triggered around specific situations. The SM sends signals to the ANS to release those chemicals into your body to keep you safe and alive. Those responses aren’t totally necessary when you are dealing with a boss, a deadline, traffic, or a relationship—you don’t need to be in fight-or-flight mode for your survival. But those signals and chemicals are indiscriminate, and they flood your system anyway. By learning some easy, specific ways to put yourself into light self-hypnosis, you can reprogram your own SM, so you’re more relaxed around ideas of success, power, love, abundance, and even traffic. Then you can move into alignment with both your conscious and subconscious minds. You’ll become a powerhouse, and you’ll naturally be less activated by the same external circumstances that used to send you into a tailspin: #winning.
The miracle tone 528 hertz is a healing frequency that promotes emotional and full-body/cell restoration at the DNA level. You can find this incredible sound online. Listening to it will both relax your mind and provide you with an increased amount of energy in your body—always welcome when you feel at the mercy of stress’s ravaging effects.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a quick self-help method to regulate yourself through tapping on eight specific energy meridians on your body while repeating key positive phrases (“Even though I want to scream in my BFF’s face, I deeply and completely accept myself as I am”). EFT helps clear the mind, focus your attention on the present moment, adjust your attitude, and lower stress hormones ASAP—much like meditation. It’s easy to learn, and you can find a cheat sheet online that can walk you through it. If it has proven to work wonders for veterans with PTSD, you know it will help you when you’re steaming mad at your best friend.
Try this fun yoga sequence combining breath, movement, and sound while you stand in place and force your body to catapult you into another state of mind. Stand upright with your feet apart, fully grounded. This entire series of movements is done with one breath. Take a small sip of air in while simultaneously swinging your arms in front of you forcefully. Take another sip of air in and swing your arms out to the side. Take one more sip of air with your arms swung overhead, and then, with intention, throw your arms and torso forward down to the floor while you exhale the breath and make the loud sound “HA!” Do this for about six rounds. You will alchemically change your stressful state to one of joy—hence the name.
This mac daddy Kundalini yoga meditation is one of the most scientifically proven techniques for mental balance and harmony, among many other physically peace-restoring benefits. It literally interrupts and breaks thought-pattern stress. Sit upright, with your neck long, hands in your lap, palms facing upward. You’re going to touch your thumb to each finger. As you touch each finger, repeat these sacred sounds: SAA (birth, infinity) index finger, TAA (life) middle finger, NAA (death, completion) ring finger, and MAA (rebirth) pinky finger, all said in a rhythmic, steady way. It’s traditionally an 11-minute practice. You’ll chant out loud for two minutes, chant in a whisper for two minutes, chant in silence for three minutes, chant in a whisper for two more minutes, then chant out loud for two more minutes.
As you say each sound, imagine a gold line of light from the top of the head, coming out of the space between the eyebrows (the third eye) in a circular loop. You can use an app like Insight Timer to help you, or practice with Nirinjan Kaur’s Meditations for Transformation, available on iTunes. You will see all kinds of results in your life as you commit to practicing this daily for a period of time and allow it to shift you and the world around you in ways that are wildly beneficial. Stress has no traction here. You’re up-leveling yourself to no longer resonate at stress’s base-level frequency, that primal, outdated survival mode. You’re here to do more than survive. It’s your time to thrive.
Ryan Haddon is an ICF Certified Life and Spiritual Coach (ACC), a certified hypnotherapist, and meditation teacher. She has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for over 30 years. She is passionate about helping people create their best lives by coming into alignment and resonance with who they are, clearing away all that no longer serves, and helping them move closer to their highest vision for themselves. She works remotely with clients globally and does workshops privately, for corporations, as well as at wellness retreats. You can follow her on IG @ryanhaddoncoach and visit her website ryanhaddon.com to find out more about how she works.
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