Monday, March 5, 2018

Happy Place

There is a fine line between stress and relaxing. How each one of us handle it is up to us. What works for me, may not work for you and vice versa. For me, I start my day with a positive mantra that fits what I may be facing in my day to day life. It could be something specific such as getting a new car or going in for a check up with the doctor or dentist. Maybe it is giving a workshop to a room full of people who really resent just having to be there. 

The list of what can make me feel stressed out can go on and on. I can imagine that your list does the same for you. My way of dealing with it works great for me. Finding my 'Happy Place,' which is always the beach, is easy to do when I remain calm and focus on the positive. Using positive quotes and mantras and posting them works. Also, meditation with a focus on breathing is a technique that helps me.

Then it dawned on me that this is not a cure-all for everything and everyone. I stumbled on an article by Laura Schocker titled "Balance." The British saying of "Keep Calm and Carry On," does not work for everyone. In fact, for some people it can make it more stressful. People telling you to take a chill pill, or to just breathe in and out can make you tense up even more. There is a reason for this which is based on the theory that you can't force relaxation. 

It is a technique that can be learned with practice. It won't be learned overnight, so meanwhile, everyone has to decide how they will work on it for now. Which trick works for your emotional intelligence?  If having others tell you to just relax makes you want to throw them out the window, then you may want to try relabeling your stress and state it out loud. 

Example: If you were going to a big job interview, instead of saying how nervous and anxious you were feeling and then hearing others tell you to just relax; tell yourself that you are feeling this way because you are so eager to ace this job interview. This puts other words in your mind such as how excited you are to do well. This immediately gives you the control. The worse-case scenario is played out in your mind and you probably will discover that it was not as bad as you had imagined. 

Once you have found your own personal Happy Place, make it a habit to visit often. This way, it is much less stressful to pull out of the hat to use when needed. It becomes second nature.

After all the goal is to get out of the stress mode and in to the relaxation mode. How you do it is up to you.

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