This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of massage careers. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.
Our world is a busy one to say the least. This is why we must find ways to manage our stress and time in order to be more effective and productive individuals. It can seem like a daunting task to make changes that will impact our lives in a profound way that will ultimately make things better, but rest assured that it is not as difficult as it sounds. What follows is a brief list of ways to help manage stress on a daily level and become a more productive individual in the process.
Find a Balance Between Work and Personal Life
This may sound difficult, because many of us see ourselves as full-time representatives of our professions. Though this may be partly true, it is important not to let work bleed into personal time, or vice-versa. Allowing work to take over all of your time will only serve to alienate others from you, which will only hurt more later on down the road. Balance your life so that you know you are doing your best on all fronts.
Practice Deep Breathing
When things feel like they are getting out of control, practice deep breathing. Inhale slowly and deliberately through your nose, then try and exhale for twice as long through your mouth. Doing this ten times when you feel overwhelmed will help bring you back to the present moment and will bring about feelings of relief and relaxation in the process.
Live in the Moment
Living in the moment is something that many people have trouble with. When you are at work, you may be thinking about problems at home, car trouble, or any number of things from your past or upcoming events in your future. This is simply wasted time; you cannot be in two places at once. Why not re-focus to get back to the task at hand while you can. If not, you may be sitting at home later, thinking about all the work you could have finished when you were there. Live in the moment and you will feel better sooner rather than later.
Know When to Take a Step Back
This can be just as important as living in the moment, if not more so. If you are unable to regain focus or if something is really bothering you, you may need to take some time to gather your thoughts. Take a break, go for a walk, or call and talk with a close friend. Many times whatever is bothering us will melt away if we can just remove ourselves from a situation temporarily. Get back to things as soon as you have found your center once again.
Make Time for Yourself
No one can go on forever only fulfilling the needs of those around them. You need to make sure and have some "you time," where you meet your own needs and can take time to recharge, rest, and relax. Spending time doing the things you enjoy will help make sure that feelings of resentment don’t grow to an alarming scale and will help you maintain your identity.
Doc Childre, founder of HeartMath, a leading stress research institute, has written a free booklet De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times
that provides a few simple practices to help people intercept and manage stress during this period of challenge and uncertainty.
Many cultures value dance as a form of non-verbal communication. What can we learn through
dance? Is it possible to use dance for self-improvement to gain deeper knowledge of ourselves as we dance or others as we watch their performance?
"Drawing from movements in everyday life, dance stylizes movement with a degree of conventionality or distinctiveness. A multichanneled system, dance is embodied cognition that can convey declarative, procedural, and emotional knowledge, apart from co-occurring with speech or being an element of a sign language."
Judith Lynne Hanna describes six symbolic devices to encode meaning through dance:
"Concretization is movement that produces the outward aspect of something, such as a warrior dance displaying advance and retreat battle tactics. An icon represents most characteristics of something and is responded to as if it actually were what it represents. For example, a Haitian dancer manifesting through a specific dance the presence of Ghede, the god of love and death, is treated by fellow Haitians with genuine awe and gender-appropriate behavior—as if the dancer were actually the god himself. A stylization encompasses arbitrary and conventional gestures or movements, such as a ballet dancer pointing to his heart as a sign of love for his lady. A metonym is a motional conceptualization of one thing representing another of which it is a part, such as a romantic duet representing an affair. The most common way of encoding meaning in dance is through metaphor, the expression of one thought, experience, or phenomenon in place of another that it resembles. Illustrative of joining different domains are contrastive movement patterns for men and women referring to their distinct biological and social roles. Actualization is a portrayal of one or several of a dancer's usual roles, such as a woman who performs in a dance for mothers, to convey her maternal role."
If we were to use the above devices to encode, for example, the meaning of an interpersonal conflict through dance, what would it look like? Perhaps, we could explore the conflict as follows: Concretization: Use movement to express the development of the conflict and its effects on the lives of the conflicting parties.
An icon: Represent the other side, or dance in the opposing party's shoes.
A stylization: Express the feelings about the conflict through gestures and movement.
A metonym: Convey the most important thing about the conflict though movement.
A metaphor: Use a kinesthetic metaphor to represent the conflict.
Actualization: Embody your typical role or your desired role in the conflict.
What could we learn from this "conflicted dance" activity? Among other things, we could learn to:
Express ourselves non-verbally;
Process our own assumptions, ideas, judgments about the conflict kinesthetically;
Develop empathy to the movement and body language;
Explore metaphoric associations;
Read non-verbal clues;
Use our body as a guide in making decisions;
Heighten sensory perception;
Release emotions through dance;
Induce emotions through dance;
Evoke the memory of an emotion through dance.
And it can be a fun workout and stress-relief activity too.
Is there anything on your mind that makes you feel stuck? Perhaps, you can explore your challenge through dance.
"Four people roleplay having a meeting. They enter the room one at a time with a different emotional attitude. Each time a new person enters, everyone takes on this person's emotional attitude. When the individuals leave, in reverse order, the remaining group reverts to the previous emotion."
Some suggested emotions and attitudes to play with include joy, anger, fear, and ambition.
This activity can reveal a lot about the effect of our emotions on other people and on team performance.
In your everyday interactions, do you notice when you take on other people's emotions? How does it affect your actions and reactions?
We are launching a community-based free half-hour program, hosted by Sue Stebbins, Master Coach
and clinical hypnotherapist, starting the second of December at 12:30 Eastern Time to GIVE People struggling with Stress and Weight and Isolation a BREAK -- want to join the fun and-- Drop the Holiday Baloney...?? Click here.