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Early Warning Signs Of Stress And What You Can Do About It

Early Warning Signs Of Stress And What You Can Do About It

By time you throw a fit due to stress, it’s too late.

You might have offended someone close to you or let your guard down during a stressful rage.

Either way, if only you knew what the early warning signs of stress were, you’d be able to do something about it.

Leo Babauta covers this topic in his latest blog post, which can help you prevent sudden bursts of anger.

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Subtle habits such as clenching your jaw or tightening your shoulders are actually signs that you need to take a breather. No one likes to be told to take it down a notch; therefore, it would be extremely beneficial if you catch your stressful ways as early as possible.

How is stress affecting your life? Do you think Babauta’s tips can help keep your emotions and stressful thoughts in check? Let us know what you think.

Being Mindful of Your Stress | Zen Habits

 

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Yesterday I had to drive somewhere, which I don’t do much anymore, and it was a fascinating experience.

I kept checking in on my body, and finding myself clenched, as if ready for an attack.

My entire torso would be tensed, my neck and shoulders were scrunched up, my face was tight. For no good reason other than I had to react to a lot of cars around me.

And so, noticing this, I was able to relax in that moment. Straighten up, let my muscles stop clenching themselves, breathe, smile. Instant calm, because I knew there was nothing actually attacking me.

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This is a skill I’ve been getting better at, though I’m far from perfect: becoming aware of when my body is tensed up. It’s a cue, something that indicates what’s going on in my mind, and a way for me to look into what I’m stressing out about and decide whether I really need to be in fight-or-flight mode.

Some of the cues I’ve learned about myself: a clenched jaw (happens a lot), face is scrunched up (eyebrows like I’m mad, mouth is frowning, cheeks tensed), neck and shoulders tensed, sometimes entire torso tensed, legs might be stiff like I’m bracing myself, hands might be clenched sometimes.

And so, during the day (when I remember, which isn’t always), I will check in on these cues. And very often I’ll see them tensed up.

This tells me something’s going on, so I check in with my mind: what are you stressing about? And often it’s something like other cars or people getting in my way, or I’m getting competitive in laser tag or go carts (my daughter’s birthday celebration yesterday), or someone is frustrating me, or someone on the Internet is being less than enlightened (I know, that’s pretty rare).

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So when I see that going on, I can see that I have an ideal, an expectation, that other people or life in general aren’t living up to. And I realize that’s a completely made-up ideal that I don’t need to hold on to, and I can just accept this moment. And when I do, nothing is so bad. (Read a short guide to dealing with stress.)

Or sometimes I just relax my body, unscrunch my face, unclench my jaw, breathe and smile, and that’s all I need to get the world in order again.

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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