Friday, November 23, 2007

Stress, Anxiety, and Tension Control

Hello Everyone,

All is well I hope, if not let us further discuss how to take back control of over our stress, anxiety, and tension…and again please remember what I put forward comes from my own experience. Each individual is an individual and may find that things that worked well for me do not work for them. I will try to remember to discuss calming and relaxation techniques I have tried but resulted in only minimal success. If you feel I am focusing too much on one thing, or would care to suggest some ideas / experiences of your own send in your comments I would love this to become “group therapy” where people with sleep problems can come for a wide prospective from their peers. Continuation from last week…

The first step in my journey, came with the recognition that self-awareness is key to having any degree of control over my life, and therefore sleep. Regular check-ins are of great benefit to me and really don’t take a great deal of time. Once I found a cause for stress, anxiety, or tension I had to find a solution.

Dealing with tension was quite easy and straightforward for me. Once I realized where in the body my tension was building up I mobilized the area. For me tension builds because I am keeping a muscle or muscle group contracted for an extended period of time so simply moving and stretching helps eliminate the tension. A few slow deep breathes and a yawn then relaxes the rest of my body.

Stress and anxiety are not so easy for me to address. This called more for external rather than internal change and this is where the resources found on the Sound Sleeping site really started to be of benefit. I had already begun to use the mp3 downloads at night to help me wind down. When I realized that the severity of my nightly stress and anxiety clearly reflected my day’s stress and anxiety I started to use the mp3 materials on my breaks a work. This tended to help momentarily but the job usually took over again after a break as did the stress. I decided I needed to bring this tool into my work environment but for practical reasons I could not use audio materials at my workstation. So I got this idea: Ya know how every once in a while a song gets caught in your head and drives you crazy until it decides to leave? Well I decided to try and reverse that process. I would listen to my mp3s and then try to recreate them in my head. My recreations were not exact, but the sounds I found calming and relaxing, have over time, become very vivid in my imagination. In this way, I can carry this helpful tool with me into any situation or environment. A few minutes at routine check-ins recalling these sound has helped me to continuously relieve stress throughout my day. Listen to the examples, identify sounds that enhance calm and just try to hear them in your head, once they’re in your head, you can take them anywhere. It takes a little time and practice, but I really think it’s worth a try.

That’s all for now,
Sound Sleeping!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Sleep and Relaxation

 Hi,

Hope all is well with everyone!

I wrote last week about: calm vs. anxiety and stress

relaxation vs. tension

mind vs. body

For the next few weeks I’d like to put these concepts into a more practical perspective. I hope everyone tried to take some time to examine how, when, where, and why their own bodies and minds are affected by anxiety, stress, and tension. Once you identify how, when, where, and why these symptoms build up, you can then begin to develop strategies to alleviate their presents. I was very surprised when I figured out that it wasn’t so much the workload, deadlines, obligations, etc… that caused stress and tension throughout my day and this is good because I don’t have much control over those things. Sure, they do affect me, but only to a point, it is how I respond to these stressors that inevitably gets me into trouble. For me, most of what builds up my anxiety, stress, and tension are habitual and/or environmental, things that in fact I can control. With regular check ins I began to notice that when a deadline loomed close, I would find myself clenching my teeth, curling my toes, and holding my breath. The deadline may have caused me some stress, but what I was doing in response to that stress was causing the build up of body tension, which of course in turn increased my feelings of anxiety and stress…and the cycle begins.

I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to discover nightly routines that would help me to sleep and those discoveries have been of great benefit. The turning point in my journey came with the realization that routine itself was my greatest alley. (I will talk a lot about routine in later blogs) I have found it very helpful to do my regular check-ins, identify how my body reacts to stress, and try to lessen or eliminate body tension throughout the day. After my check-in I spend a moment slowing my breathing and yawning, concentrating on relaxing areas of body tension. If I can catch it early and throughout the day I find it much easier to achieve a relaxed state before going to bed.

Well I think that’s enough for now.
I wish all of you Sound Sleeping.
Karen
lake sunset

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Click here for SoundSleeping's Relaxing MP3 Downloads!!!