Stressing down has become a little hobby of mine and as many a meditation guru will testify, mastering relaxation takes practice. The Women’s Health Book, published in 2014 states that, “relaxation is a useful technique for stress management.”
Delving into research on the primitive brain will give you a fair idea about how stress operates, I liken it to understanding the mechanics of a car. Once you learn how it works, you can manage it more effectively. When I first started learning to drive, guns a blazing, my sights set on one thing, FREEDOM! Before I could even jump in the front seat, my Dad put the brakes on. Hold on a minute, you’re not going anywhere, (was written all over his face), as he proceeded to open the bonnet of Mum’s 1983 Toyota Corolla. The promise of freedom had slipped down a notch, instead of cruising the suburbs with me behind the wheel, my dutiful Dad was going to give me a lesson on how the little beast worked. Lucky for me, I can pay a mechanic to maintain my car because on that memorable day, Dad’s lesson kind of went in one ear, and out of the other! (Much to my mechanically minded Husband’s disgust. Haha!)
Stress is a little different though, it’s more like… getting your bus driver’s licence. In times of heavy stress, I’ve often been asked, “who is driving the bus Janelle?” (as my metaphorical bus tears down the road, narrowly missing cars and very nearly forgetting to stop at red lights). These days my stress bus is a little more under control, thanks to taking a lesson on what’s under the bonnet a bit more seriously and lots of practice, practice, practice.
Another thing I can recommend for managing stress is understanding your energy preference, this has given me major insight, and I hope it will help you too. Ever seen the movies Beauty and the Beast or Back to the Future? Both feature an inventor who creates multitasking machines that make the toast, cook the eggs, roast the coffee and put it all together on a plate faster than the inventor can get out of bed in the morning. I kind of see myself as one of those machines, not nearly as efficient, but mostly self reliant. My energy stores are like a well, they are deep inside and like the law of physics, any time spent in the outside world, requires a little or equal time in my inside world. If this sounds like hell to you, your energy preferences are most likely focused outward, in that you gain energy from interaction with the outside world and lose energy in times of solitude. Some would name these polar opposites, ‘introversion’ and ‘extroversion’. There are so many variables and many different personalities in the world that I’d rather not use these labels too heavily, but they can be a good guide.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator can also shed a little light on this subject. There are loads of versions of the test online, it may take a couple of attempts to come up with your true combination. Even so, it still helps to be mindful of the variables, as research indicates that nurture as well as nature can play a large role in shaping our personalities. The tests are lots of fun to do though, and are a comfort in many ways.
If you find yourself weighing heavily on the introversion scales, Susan Cain’s research in the book, Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking will take you deeper into the subject. If living in an extravert world causes you stress, there are certain rescue factors that will allow you to keep your head above water, and these can be discovered through introspection, and an understanding of this energy preference. If you’re not a big reader, or conversely can’t wait any longer to get your hands on the book, see below for Susan Cain’s TED talk.
Hello lovely readers leading towards extroversion, I hope you haven’t run away just yet. It may still be of interest to you to watch Susan Cain’s TED talk in order to help you understand any suspected ‘introverts’ in your life, (thus reducing stress for you and possibly your relationships). I don’t have any magical books for you, I quite admire the way you can socialise abundantly and still have energy leftover. I can only suggest that relaxation techniques may help if you find yourself storing up nervous energy. The most important advice I can give to anyone is to be true to you.
“By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before” – Edwin Elliot
Over to you now, what’s your best stress down tip?
“One of the first steps for Australians suffering from the strain of stress is to recognise the signs. Stress Down Day is designed to be a fun way to highlight the serious problem of stress, while serving as a catalyst for people to proactively reduce their stress levels.” – Lifeline
Drop by Lifeline’s Stress Down Day website to learn more about Stress and support this worthy cause.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Somewhere in Australia there is a new call to Lifeline every minute. People call Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis line 13 11 14 about:
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Personal crisis
- Abuse and trauma
- Stresses from work, family or society
- Self-help information for friends and family
Lifeline is a national charity and relies on community support.
Donate online now or call 1800 800 768.
Each dollar you give helps us save lives.
Have a wonderful day everyone!