A certain amount of stress is useful and helpful. It can be a motivator. A problem arises, however, when stress becomes excessive distress. When we become ill at ease, physical problems result.
There are two types of stress:
I. Mind stress (worry)
Two things you can do to get rid of worry (be willing to look a bit foolish!):
- Yell STOP! to end the stress-causing chatter inside your head. Then replace the worry with a daydream. Have ready a list of twenty dreams on a 3×5 card. Look at them and think about one in detail.
- Worry it to death. Imagine the worst that could probably happen. Worry it to the end. Then come back to reality. Could you live with the worst possible result; would you be OK? Usually the answer is yes. (Sometimes the answer is NO. Often students experience a great deal of pressure to succeed. If you reach an unmanageable point, get help!)
II. Body stress.
Kinks in your neck, headaches and other signs of tension. To relieve body stress:
- Breathe deeply into your stomach.
- Body scan.
- Sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor, spine straight.
- Let the chair hold you up.
- Close your eyes or focus your attention on something in front of you.
- Draw awareness to your feet, allowing yourself to relax away pain and tension.
- At any point, if your mind drifts, gently bring awareness back to the body part.
- (Repeat the same step for ankles, lower legs, thighs, lower back, shoulders, hands, lower and upper arms, jaws, forehead, and stomach.)
Now, start at the top of your head and mentally scan down through your body to your feet. When you finish, before you open your eyes, recreate in your mind the room and its brightness. Then open your eyes and you will feel relaxed and energized.
From MASTER STUDENT SERIES by Dave Ellis