Use Your Heart to De-Stress
Are you doing all the “right” things, but still getting drained by stress overload?
Diet, exercise, meditation and caring friends can all help to reduce stress. But if we don’t have a way to manage and release stress as we experience it, then stress still accumulates in our body, affecting our communications, our decision-making and our health.
Many years ago as a longtime meditator and a psychologist, I pondered this problem. I would often start my day in peace and joy and end my day stressed from work challenges and nerve-wracking people interactions. I couldn’t wait to get back home to my meditation corner to let the stress go and nourish my heart. Somehow sandwiching stress overload between meditating twice a day made it seem “legal” to endure the daily stress hamster wheel – until I just plain got tired of it.
Often, when we find ourselves in chronic or extremely stressful situations, we “go to the heart” to try to see what to do. We try to connect with a deeper intelligence to guide us. I would hear the promptings of my heart to do something different, but it wasn’t until I started using some of the HeartMath tools that I learned how to release a stress reaction in the moment, regain balance, and perceive a more appropriate response to the situation that prevented stress accumulation. What was different about HeartMath tools from other self-help techniques I had used is they rely on connecting with your heart to shift attitude and feeling state. The first step in this transformative process is stress awareness.
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” –Hans Selye, considered the “Father of Stress Research,” who first applied to the term stress to human attitudes and emotional states.
Next: Learn New Ways to De-Stress
April is National Stress Awareness Month. A lot of us don’t want to look at the stress in our lives – even though we maybe know we should – because we think we can’t do much about it. Or, we are afraid if we have less stress, we’ll be less motivated, be less successful, become couch potatoes – the excuses go on.
Once I had proven to myself the tools worked, then it was up to me to use them. Thus began a deeper and much more fulfilling journey of nourishing my heart. Of course I wanted to share these tools with others so I joined stress researcher and HeartMath founder Doc Childre in starting the Institute of HeartMath, a stress and performance research organization, and in co-authoring the book, Transforming Stress. HeartMath has gone on to become three companies and a leader in heart-based programs and technologies for reducing stress while improving performance and health.
The majority of people believe that emotions just “happen” to them. HeartMath research has found that people have much more power over their emotional well-being than they give themselves credit for. They just need to know how.
Transforming stress is not only healthy, but can be fun. Next week, we will talk about how to de-stress your pet. In the meantime, you can participate in HeartMath’s Facebook “Paws on Stress” Photo Contest.