Exercises to reduce stress | a sneak peek into my new book

I wanted to let you know that I am in the final stages of completing my third book. The book is all about stress and kicking its butt.

In the field of physical therapy, back pain is one of the most common problems that people have. In the field of counseling, it’s stress. Everyone in some form or fashion struggles with managing day to day stress and that sneaky stress that hits us out of nowhere.

My book is broken down into 20 days that provide unique platforms, strategies and insight on overcoming stress. To be honest with you, I am beyond excited!

I do want some help though:

I am contemplating between the following book titles. Let me know your thoughts or suggestions:

  • 20 days to overcoming stress
  • Living without stress
  • Life without stress

Below is an inside look into my book:

Imagine if you had a super cool cheat sheet to overcome stress. Basically any time that you experienced stress you could look at your cheat sheet, apply the strategies, and eliminate your stress.

More often then not, you are going to experience stress and forget how to manage it. The reason is simple. You are caught up in the moment.

The moment may be a break up with your long time significant other or a losing a job. During these moments that life, oh sweat life, will continue to present us. We need a source that can always provide support. A cheat sheet that can help give you empowerment over your daily stress, worry and anxiety.

Before I dive into the cheat sheet, I want to encourage you to consider it as a cheat sheet. A cheat sheet is something that you use during difficult times when you have exercised all other resources. The recommendations and platforms discussed provide you with a sound foundation on managing and controlling your anxiety, stress and worry.

The cheat sheet consist of the following strategies:

  • Deep breathing

Most people would probably say that they are “good” at breathing when under difficult situations. Consider a sudden shock in the form of news, maybe an accident took place right in front of you. I’m assuming that you would feel comfortable in this situation to practice controlled and healthy breathing.

I eagerly encourage you to learn how to truly breathe in a fashion that tames your stress, anxiety and worry for just about any given situation. Breathing is great, but if you have the chance to learn how to breathe for reducing stress. Take advantage of it.

The style of deep breathing I am going to teach you helps with:

  • Lowering stress.
  • Reducing anxiety driven thoughts
  • Supports in helping you manage physical symptoms such as hand tremors when worried.
  • Can eliminate symptoms of stress such as irrational thoughts, avoidance, and excessive worry.

Breathing has two important parts.

1. Focusing on the actual breathing.

2. Feeling how the breathing has changed your mental and physical state.

Right here and now, I want you to give yourself a personal investment. Take 4 minutes to practice a new and more effective breathing platform.

Step 1: Inhale through your nose for a duration that last 4 seconds. Be sure to count the four seconds to yourself.

Step 2: Hold in the respiration for a duration that last 4 seconds. Be sure to count the four seconds to yourself.

Step 3: Exhale through your mouth for a duration that last 4 seconds. Be sure to count the four seconds to yourself.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 for 4 cycles. After repeating the steps, reflect on the questions below:

  • How did you feel prior to beginning the exercise?
  • How did you feel during the exercise?
  • Did you notice yourself transition your focus away from that thing causing stress and to the breathing and counting?
  • How do you feel now, after completing the exercise?
  • Has your stressed decreased?
  • Have your symptoms gone away?

Now let’s take this exercise one step forward.

Reflect on any previous stressful or anxiety related experience that has taken place. It can be any of your choosing. Examples include: a break up, losing your job, hearing bad news, or witnessing a car accident.

Consider the questions regarding the experience:

  • What was the experience?
  • How did you feel prior to the experience?
  • How did you feel emotionally and physically during the experience?
  • List some of the symptoms that you experienced?
  • What was it like physically and emotionally after the experience?

Please take time to truly answer the questions as if you were reliving it. Try to consider the symptoms that you experienced at the time. Physical symptoms such as hand tremors or muscle pain. Emotional symptoms such as irrational racing thoughts, avoidance, or wanting to cry.

At this point you should have an understanding of how to utilize the breathing exercise as well as how to walk yourself through past experiences.

I understand that reflecting and reliving past experiences is difficult, yet I want to encourage you to consider how vital it is to create self-awareness and grow from your experiences. Remember the goal is to lower and eliminate stress.

The steps below are very similar to those mentioned above. The addition, is that you are going to add the stressful experience you mentioned above. By doing so, you will be able to practice walking through the exercise and identify the benefits to lowering stress.

Again, I am going to ask you to invest another four minutes to yourself. Please read each of the steps before acting on them.

Step 1: Close your eyes and picture yourself in the stressful situation you mentioned earlier. Picture yourself right when the situation took place. Consider about your physical and emotional symptoms.

Step 2: At this point you should have your eyes closed and really be feeling your symptoms. The stress, worry, heavy breathing or whatever reactions you may have.

Step 3: Inhale through your nose for a duration that last 4 seconds. Be sure to count the four seconds to yourself.

Step 4: Hold in the respiration for a duration that last 4 seconds. Be sure to count the four seconds to yourself.

Step 5: Exhale through your mouth for a duration that last 4 seconds. Be sure to count the four seconds to yourself.

Step 6: Repeat steps 1 through 5 for 4 cycles.

Step 7: Open your eyes and reflect on the questions below.

  • After completing the exercise above, can you say that it helped you deal with the situation better?
  • Did did exercise help you manage your stress and experience control over the situation?

Understand that you have walked through a hypothetical scenario. Although you have not tried it yet in your personal life, it is effective. This same exercise, I continue to utilize in my practice as a supportive tool to empower people who experience stress.

So that was a snip of my book. One page taken out for you, awesome readers, to see what I have been working on. As mentioned, the book is at its final stages. I’ll have to send it to my editor for corrections and supportive recommendations that we all need from time to time.

cover images by: matt evan, rob bye

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