Stress, the evil of the century? One thing is certain, he spares no one. Any change in life is potentially stressful: moving, marriage, divorce, birth, dismissal, but also financial concerns, health, or even day-to-day management. Does the mental load speak to you? And what about stress at work? Many of you mention it among the things that prevent you from being positive. According to the Occupational Stress Observatory published at the end of 2017 by Stimulus, 24% of employees are in a state of hyper-stress. We all deal with it differently and there is more than one solution to managing stress. I have already told you about anti-stress essential oils.
How does stress work?
What is stress?
The endocrinologist Hans Selye was one of the first to take an interest in stress. In his book, The Stress of Life, he defines it as: “the non-specific response that the body gives to any demand placed on it.” He also describes the general adaptation syndrome, a mechanism that has 3 phases: alarm phase, reaction phase, and exhaustion phase. I will come back to this later. First, I would like you to understand how stress works.
As Charly Cungi explains in Knowing how to manage stress in all circumstances, stress is the nonspecific reaction of the individual subjected to external stimuli (stressors). The stressor is a situation that triggers a stress reaction because it requires adaptation on the part of the individual. 4 characteristics cause the onset of stress in the majority of people: loss of control, unpredictability, novelty, and ego threat. Like fear, the mechanism of which I explained to you in The 3-step method to overcome your fears, stress is not normally harmful.
On the contrary, it is supposed to make us more efficient, vigilant, and attentive. Originally, it prepares us for a brief and intense effort, flight or combat, to ensure our survival. Hans Selle even highlighted the existence of positive stress, a source of motivation, stress. Stress becomes problematic when our reaction is too intense or if we are exposed to it repeatedly or for a long time.
The 3 phases of stress reaction
The alarm phase
As we saw above, in this 1st phase, our body prepares for flight or combat. All energy is therefore mobilized to react and adapt to the situation. Our breathing and heart rate quicken. The nervous system causes the release of hormones such as adrenaline. Defense mechanisms are put in place to adapt to the environment: our blood pressure rises, our muscles contract, and our brain is alert: with increased attention, memorization, and vigilance to deal with potential danger…
The resistance phase
If the alarm reaction persists, the resistance phase is entered. Our body needs energy more than ever to defend itself and resist over time since exposure to stress is prolonged. This is when the stress hormone, cortisol, is secreted. The energy reserves drop and the body is under tension. Depending on the individual, this phase is recognized by symptoms such as anxiety, fear, anguish, fatigue, palpitations, digestive disorders, difficulty concentrating, or even memory problems…
The exhaustion phase
It is the last stage. Following prolonged and repeated exposure to situations that generate stress (chronic stress), our body’s resistance decreases. All energy reserves have been consumed and the body ends up being overwhelmed because it no longer has the means to adapt! This is where health problems arise, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, depression, irritability … Functional disorders (migraines, digestive disorders, allergies, skin problems), organic diseases (hypertension, cholesterol, heart attack, gastritis, stomach ulcer, polyarthritis, asthma) may then appear.
How to better manage stress with sophrology?
I will not introduce you to what sophrology is. I already did this in my previous article titled How Sophrology Can Change Your Life. The goal here is to show you how it can help you with stress management. First of all, it can have a preventive role. By listening to your bodily sensations, you learn to recognize the symptoms of stress in you: difficulty breathing, wanting to cry, lump in your stomach or your can no longer think, for example.
So you can do anti-stress exercises right away to regain your calm, your inner peace and avoid getting overwhelmed. Even if it is not limited to this, sophrology is an excellent method of relaxation. Learning to relax thanks to sophrology will allow you both to better manage your emotions, promote letting go, relieve your body of muscle tension, but also to reduce your stress level quickly and effectively, for more serenity in the workplace. daily. Finally, it can act on disorders associated with stress such as insomnia, preventing you from falling into a vicious circle…
3 sophrology exercises to evacuate stress
Exercise 1: sophro-displacement of the negative (or SDN)
While standing or sitting, first become aware of your natural breathing. Inhale through your nose, contracting all the muscles in your face. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale strongly through your mouth to expel the tension outward. Do the same exercise for all parts of your body: throat, chest, stomach, lower body (thighs, buttocks, and feet), then one last time contract your whole body. Repeat 3 times. I prefer to do this exercise seated. I find it perfect for driving away fears, anxieties, all parasitic thoughts, negative ideas, and stress and for-fend a relaxed body. A good way to feel more zen right away.
Exercise 2: Create a zone of calm
In a standing position, arms are along the body. Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose, block the breath and rotate from right to left with your chest, feet firmly planted in the ground, and arms relaxed. Imagine creating a zone of calm all around you. You can color it if you want, then blow through your mouth as you come back to a straight position. Still, with your eyes closed, you resume your natural breathing and take the time to welcome the sensations in your body: in your arms, in your back… You repeat the exercise 3 times. It’s an anti-stress sophrology exercise which I appreciate because it relaxes me. As far as I am concerned, I always spontaneously visualize the color blue, which is very soothing to me.
Exercise 3: pumping the shoulders
In a standing position, arms along the body and feet firmly planted on the ground, close your eyes and focus on your natural breathing. Take the time to observe what is going on in your body. Welcome, all sensations with kindness and without judgment. Inhale through your nose, hold your breath, clench your fists and perform up and down movements with your shoulders. With each movement, imagine that you pump all your stress, your worries, and your anxieties, then drag them into bags (which you carry in your hands). When it’s good for you, you blow hard through your mouth, opening your fists and imagining yourself letting go of the bags. You take a natural breath and you welcome the sensations in your body. Repeat 3 times. This exercise is ideal for relieving stress and for letting go.
I very much appreciated this experience and this 3-month individual support. It’s a great gift she gave me there because when we started the program together, I was exhausted. I still had lots of projects in mind to develop my professional activity, but I was sorely lacking in energy. It did me a lot of good to take this time for myself, and to relearn how to be attentive to my body and my emotions. And then, I confess, I am rather anxious. In 3 months, we were able to address several issues such as self-confidence, fatigue, sleep improvement, stress management, and in particular acute stress (I did my first appearance on the radio!), taking a step back from work, and pride.
I came out re-energized and ready to start creating my online training courses. I thank her for her patience, kindness, and listening. I had gotten used to our weekly meetings, I’m going to miss them… But I now have plenty of tools at my disposal to manage on my own. I feel more confident and more serene and I have the feeling of having gained in well-being.