Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Managing Stress

By Julie Rahm

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Would you rather feel overjoyed? The solution is to manage your stress. Stress depletes your energy and keeps you stuck.

Let’s open the Mindset Mechanic tool kit and explore tools and techniques to tune up your energy and tune out stress! The metaphorical tools you need are the screwdriver and the hammer. Use the screwdriver to connect your intention to de-stress with actions, and your actions with results. Then use the hammer to hammer in the mindset framework for being focused on the moment. Being focused enables you to use techniques that immediately reduce stress and add energy.

The first technique is "holding your tongue" - a favorite of Dr. Jerry Teplitz. Instead of letting grumpy co-workers get to you, place the tip of your tongue gently against the roof of your mouth, about a quarter-inch behind your teeth. "Holding your tongue" keeps the energy flowing in your body, reducing stress and providing the boost you need to stay calm.

The second technique is breathing. Take five deep breaths before you speak. Find a private place and take five minutes to breathe. Count to four as you inhale, allowing the air to push your bellybutton out. Count to four as you exhale. Imagine exhaling whatever is causing stress. Breathing changes the physical response of your body, allowing negative energy to dissipate.

Another technique best done privately takes only two minutes. Close your eyes. Place your hand over your heart. As you inhale, imagine breathing in love and support. Imagine breathing through the heart instead of the lungs and connecting with the Divine.

Finally, learn from my 14-pound seven-month-old Yorkie Tank the Wonder Dog. Shake it off. Like Tank after he gets wet, shake your body from head to toe. Shaking it off releases whatever negative energy is left in your body.

I use these techniques regularly for serious matters, and not-so-serious matters. For instance, as I was writing this article, Tank put his front paws on my lap, cocked his head, and gave me those "Don’t make me tinkle on the carpet" eyes. So we went outside. Actually, Tank just wanted to run and run. He eluded me in the neighbors’ thick bushes three doors down. I called his name, but the brisk wind carried my voice away so he did not come. After trespassing through several neighbors’ backyards, I gave up. Anxiety crept in with thoughts of speeding cars and trashed yards. I "held my tongue" and began four-count breathing. Wiping the mud off of my shoes, I entered the back door only to hear my husband laughing as he spoke with our neighbor around the corner. Apparently, Tank ran to greet her as she arrived home with groceries. I slipped off my jacket, "shook it off" and laughed. My husband, leash in hand, retrieved Tank.

Ultimately, some stress is minor like the episode with Tank. Other stress is incapacitating. Either way, use these techniques to tune up your energy and tune out stress.

Find the Mindset Mechanic online at and on the radio at FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and

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