Shaleena Anand provides six tips on how to keep your stress levels under control.
Stress does not exist. Stress is a man-made creation. Have you ever stopped to wonder why a television programme can be funny to one person and distressing to another? We choose what emotion we attach to every event in our life.
You have chosen one of the highest paced industries in the world. People from all walks of life and age groups look to you as a specialist in your field to give them advice and to heal them. You could look at this as a lot of pressure and create stress in your mind, or you could look at it as an incredible position to be in – you get to choose.
I am going to share six tips with you about how to deal with stressful situations and how to avoid them altogether.
Feeding your body with oxygen is one of the quickest ways to de-stress. It is so simple yet we so often forget to take time to stop, take a step back, breathe deeply and let ourselves focus. The human body can live a month without food, 48 hours without water but not a second without oxygen, proving how important breath is.
Lymphasising is a breathing technique that allows you to get oxygen to your cells, so that you have the most energy and clearest thought train. Studies have shown that doing this for a few minutes every two hours helps to reduce stress.
2. Feed your body energy
Make sure you are feeding your body with energy foods, not causing the body and brain to be under more stress. Eating an alkalising diet and ensuring you are getting the right vitamins is essential to having an abundance of energy and lowering stress levels.
What you feed your body with through all of your senses ultimately affects your mood. Have you ever noticed on a sunny day how you suddenly don’t mind that walk home from work? The environment you’re in changes your mood instantly.
3. Free your mind
Make your workplace somewhere you feel free. Sometimes we associate our place of work with stress and anxiety, which means that we have anchored those feelings onto the room we work in, the people we work around, even the tools we choose to work with.
Try and brighten up your workplace with pictures of nature; being around nature is the best way to centre ourselves and give ourself that reality check and purpose. Try changing your computer background and your phone background to a beautiful sunset or a beach or print out a small photo and keep it in your pocket. Use a photo you have taken to strengthen the neurological association between yourself and that place.
There are lots of exercises you can do to create the association of freedom in your mind – find a neuro-strategist to help you with this.
4. Create a life outside of work
Getting up a few hours earlier for work is a great way to differentiate between work and home. If you have to leave your house for work at 7am, try waking up at 5am a few days a week. Go for a run, do some meditation, make a big breakfast. Enjoy this personal time so that by the time you leave for work you’ve had some positive experiences that you chose to do in your day already.
5. Move your body
Studies have shown that depressed and anxious people who took three brisk 30-minute walks a week felt happier at the end of the trial than those who did not (Lyubomirsky, 2005). Brisk walks in your workplace do not count!
I know a lot of us are on our feet all day, but taking a walk in nature will allow your body to release good endorphins and will result in you having more energy than had you not exercised.
6. Practice meditation and gratitude
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is a proven way to reduce stress. Take part in meditation classes or find yourself a meditation instructor.
If you lead a busy lifestyle you can use online guided meditation sessions, which can be tailored specifically for you.
Try this exercise in the meantime: when you wake up every morning, practice remembering things you are grateful for in your life. Do this activity every time you feel stress building up. You cannot feel stress or anger whilst you are feeling grateful. Harvard Medical School reports that happy people are 31% more productive, have 37% higher sales, and are three times more creative than their counterparts.
Always remember your ‘why’. Why did you choose dentistry? What was your end goal? What did you love about the profession? Try and get back to that. You cannot serve others if you are not the best version of yourself so remember to take care of you first.
Lyubomirsky S (2005) The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Bulletin 131(6): 803-855.