With Xmas Day just over a week away, how’s your stress level? Did you know that according to the UK’s Stress Management Society, one in 20 people consider Xmas more stressful than a burglary!

Xmas is supposed to be a time of joy but many people dread it because of the additional demands it brings (e.g. gift buying, the expectation to socialise more, festive meal planning, Xmas holiday planning, putting up the Xmas decorations, getting the spare room ready for visitors etc). Once these demands accumulate to the point where they exceed our available resources (such as time, energy, motivation, willpower, budget etc) we experience stress.

To help ensure that your Xmas is more joyful than stressful here is a Xmas sack full of useful advice, tools and techniques …. M.E.R.R.Y.X.M.A.S – enjoy …..

M MINDFULNESS Stress and anxiety has the ability to hijack our mind, dominate our conscious awareness, and disrupt our lives. Our natural response to stress and anxiety is to try to escape it or control it. Mindfulness offers us an effective alternative. In essence, mindfulness means understanding that all we ever really have is the present moment, and practicing a new way to inhabit and observe that moment: with a focus on allowing, accepting, and being fully aware of whatever we’re experiencing as our life unfolds.

Through mindfulness practice, you relax your body and train your mind to take on a non-judging attitude, an openness to what’s happening that puts you in the role of peaceful, detached observer, rather than someone who’s struggling with anxiety and its physical symptoms.

If Santa doesn’t bring you a ‘How To’ book on mindfulness, but you’d like to give mindfulness a go, here’s a simple mindfulness exercise for you to try.

You might also like to try out these mindfulness apps: Calm, Headspace , and the Muse.

E EXERCISE I highly recommend exercise as a strategy for reducing stress and anxiety because, quite simply, it works.

Exercise has surprisingly powerful effects on the brain, surpassing many anti-anxiety medications in its effectiveness. Plus brief periods of aerobic exercise can be very effective in reducing muscle tension. Common forms of aerobic exercise include running, walking, cycling, swimming, and even dancing.

When you engage in exercise when you feel anxious, you’ll make use of muscles that have been prepared for action. This will lower levels of adrenaline and use up glucose released into the bloodstream by the stress response. And after you exercise, you’ll experience substantial, long-lasting muscle relaxation which helps ease anxiety.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, please do consider potential risks, and consult your doctor before you begin. And remember to increase your activity level gradually, not all at once.

R RELAXATION Most approaches to relaxation focus on two physical processes: breathing and muscle relaxation. Virtually everyone benefits from practicing relaxation techniques. Click here for a link to the 7/11 diaphragmatic breathing technique. This type of breathing helps turn on the relaxation response in the body.
R REWIRE YOUR BRAIN Our thoughts or imagination initiate anxiety so changing those thoughts or images can ease or prevent anxiety. There are lots of techniques we can use to reduce the number of anxiety igniting thoughts we habitually create. One of the quickest and most effective ways to rewire our brain is hypnotic trance, because it allows us to communicate with our subconscious mind. It’s estimated that 90% of our thoughts are generated subconsciously. I spend much of my working day using hypnosis, guided visualization and imagery to help people to change the way they think, feel and respond to things in their life. If you’d like to explore how these techniques can help you rewire your brain, let’s have a chat early in the new year. You can contact me here .
Y YOUR IMAGINATION Using imagery, or visualization, is a proven way to create relaxation and release tension. Click here for a wonderful visualisation exercise.
X LOVE Xmas is a time when family and friends come to come together and reconnect. When we engage in social situations, oxytocin a neurotransmitter is released. Oxytocin helps to promote pro-social behaviours such as trust and empathy between groups of people. Anxiety research suggests that oxytocin can also help in reducing our level of anxiety and stress. So don’t forget to claim a kiss or two under the mistletoe!
M MUSIC In 2011 UK band Marconi Union created an eight-minute track, titled “Weightless”, in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy. In tests conducted by scientists at the Mindlab institution the track induced a 65% reduction in overall anxiety and brought subjects’ resting pulse rates to 35% of their usual resting rates. I often play this track in the background when coaching people to overcome stress and anxiety. To listen to the track on You Tube click here.
A ACTION Make 2018 the year you take action to regain control of your stress and anxiety once and for all.

If you only set one New Year’s resolution I recommend that it’s to develop the life skills necessary to control your anxiety and stress, because once you begin to develop these valuable skills you’ll immediately begin to experience the benefits. And best of all, you’ll continue to reap the rewards long into the future.

So are you ready to take action? Then let’s do it! Contact me here and let’s make 2018 the year you stress less!

S SLEEP Many people treat sleep as a luxury that can be disregarded when necessary, but a lack of quality sleep leads to heightened stress and anxiety. So to help reduce stress and anxiety, resist influences that interfere with good, restful sleep. For some proven practices that can really assist you in achieving a good night’s sleep click here.

And there’s one more bonus tip – multiple studies indicate that pets, such as cute cats (see the picture), are powerful forms of stress relief, lowering harmful stress hormones like cortisol and elevating beneficial ones like oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation. I share my home with two cats, so can vouch for their stress reducing effects (well most of the time!).

Wishing You and Your Loved Ones A Merry Xmas

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you, and your loved ones, a very happy, peaceful and safe holiday season, and good health and success in 2018.

Go well
Tony

shadow-ornament

What Next?

Helping people to reduce and gain control over their stress and anxiety is a passion of mine. If you'd like to explore how I can help you to achieve freedom from stress, then contact me today on 021 056 8389 or email tony@tycoaching.nz.

To go ahead and book your no obligation 1 hour Freedom From Stress Consultation today, simply click on the Book Now box below.

shadow-ornament

Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).