Thursday, 29 November 2012

Have a happy stress free Christmas!

We live in a fast paced world and for many that creates stress – especially at Christmas. Extra shopping, extra expense, cards to write, presents to wrap and the expectation that everything should be perfect. It’s very easy for things to build up and turn what should be a happy, joyous occasion into a time of stress, tension and frayed tempers.

However, learning to manage stress is not just for Christmas – it’s a valuable life skill at any time of year! Try it – it only takes a couple of minutes here and there and it could help make your Christmas a very happy one.

How can you manage stress?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a modern form of therapy that has been around since the 1990s and has proved to be very helpful for a variety of problems – from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to anxiety, panic attacks to phobias, lack of confidence to stopping smoking, and many more. It has been featured on BBC News, Richard and Judy and is beginning to be used in some areas of the NHS.

Here is a very simple EFT exercise to help you anytime you are feeling stressed:

As part of the exercise we are going to tap, with our index finger, on certain parts of the body (similar to the meridian points used in acupuncture) and at the same time, breathe deeply and make affirmations or statements.

Firstly take note of how you feel right now, rate yourself on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 is feeling very stressed, 10 is feeling really good. Now cross your hands across the centre of your chest and breathe deeply 3 times. Gently tap on the very top of your head, gently with your index finger, either one will work. Take another deep breath, and while still tapping say out loud “I’m letting go of any stress”. Tap lightly and rhythmically, as if you were tapping along to Jingle Bells. Now repeat the same procedure, tap, deep breath and repeat the affirmation on the following points in order.

Centre of the forehead.
The end of the eyebrow just above the nose – either side.
The outside of the eye, in line with the centre of the pupil.
Underneath the eye.
Underneath the nose.
Underneath the bottom lip, half way between the lip and the chin.
Around the collar bone – or in that general area if you cannot locate it.

Then, hold out your hand as if you were about to shake somebody’s hand and tap on the thumb and each finger in turn at the base of the nail – the part that is facing the ceiling.

Finish with your hands crossed once again over the centre of your chest and 3 deep breaths. Take note again of how you feel and give yourself a score. For many people this simple exercise at times of stress will help them to feel better and their score will have gone up.

The actual words you use are not important – “Letting go of stress”, “Releasing stress”, “Feeling better” or simply "Relax" – you can say whatever comes to mind, these are just some to get you started, and you can change it at each tapping point if you want to. Once you begin to feel better, why not change it to something positive. You could say “Feeling happy” or “Feeling great”, “feeling energized”, again the words can be your own as you become inspired.

If you do not have time to do the whole thing, simply crossing your hands over your chest, 3 deep breaths and say out loud “Letting go of stress” a few times can help.

Managing stress is a bit like brushing your teeth, it is most effective if you do it often, and it’s a fantastic way to begin the day – leaving you feeling great and ready for anything – then as soon as you begin to feel a little stressed, go somewhere quite and re-charge.

Try it you may be surprised how something so simple can make you feel more energized and happier. Tap away that stress and have a very happy Christmas.

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