De-Stress Your Life Challenge – Uncomfortable Feelings
Welcome to Week 2 of our De-Stress Your Life Challenge. Last week we covered how to reduce the physical symptoms of stress with deep breathing. We then delved into Mindfulness and how it can assist with building awareness of your stress, as well as how it can assist to reduce the symptoms of stress. We covered 3 strategies:
✅ Belly breathing
✅ Breath awareness exercise
✅ Mindfulness of a daily activity
This week I am introducing more strategies that will assist with reducing your stress levels. In the video below I discuss a new Mindfulness exercise: the Body Scan. This exercise will help you to build awareness of sensations of stress in your body. It will also help you get some much needed space from them by teaching you to observe the sensations that arise in your body for what they are – just body sensations that come and go. While some are more intense than others, and some hang around longer than others, they are just body sensations. Nothing more, nothing less. Learning to change your relationship and how you respond to these sensations will assist you in better managing your stress.
Here’s what you need to do:
➡️ Watch the video below
➡️ Head over to our Facebook page and private message us with ‘homework 2’ to get access to the homework document for week 2 of the challenge
➡️ While you’re on our Facebook page also message us with ‘body’ to get a copy of the body scan recording
Danielle McCarthy: Hey guys, welcome to Week 2 of the De-stress Your Life Challenge. Congratulations on getting through Week 1 – hopefully you’ve been busy doing all the homework tasks.
Today we’re going to be predominantly focusing on building awareness of body sensations that are associated with stress. I’m going to go into a rationale about why we’re going to do that in just a moment. Before that, let’s do a quick recap on last week. Last week I discussed:
✅ the stress response in your brain and body. What’s actually happening inside of you in terms of the fight-or-flight response.
✅ Strategy #1: Belly breathing to help calm the physical symptoms of stress down
✅ Strategy #2: I introduced Mindfulness and set you the task of completing the breath awareness exercise each day
✅ Strategy #3: I introduced engaging in a daily activity mindfully. This also became one of your homework tasks
Before I get into the new strategy, I want to talk a bit about uncomfortable feelings.
First of all, it’s important that you guys know that all feelings are normal. This means both the comfortable ones as well as the uncomfortable ones.
So feelings such as anger, sadness, and fear – they’re just as normal as happiness. They are feelings that all of us will experience throughout our lives at one time or another. However, because of the uncomfortable nature of these feelings we don’t tend to like them. We often try to avoid these feelings and reach for the happy ones because they’re more pleasant. However, escaping uncomfortable feelings is impossible and by trying to do it you will likely increase the intensity of those feelings and prolong how long they hang around for.
Now let’s link this back to stress. Stressors are going to arise in your life, that’s inevitable.
While we want to reduce the sensations of stress (e.g. through belly breathing), there’s likely still going to be some sensations inside of us during stressful times. This is where Mindfulness can assist.
We want to learn to observe these sensations in a non-judgmental way. When we do this it will help us reduce the intensity of them and assist them with passing faster.
This is where our next exercise come can assist. It is a Mindfulness exercise called the ‘Body Scan’. We feel feelings through our body. If we can become aware of the sensations in our body, this can give us insight into when we’re becoming stressed and the capacity to choose how we want to respond. A lot of times in our busy lives, when we’re running around on autopilot, we can become somewhat disconnected from our body and the important signals that our body is sending to our brain.
The Body Scan can help connect you back to your body and assist with building awareness of stress sensations inside of you.
Once you have this awareness, you can choose how you want to respond. For example, when you notice you are becoming stressed you might decide to go for a relaxing walk, have a nice bath, or a cup of tea.
It also allows us to notice these sensations in a non-judgmental way, so we can start to observe them for what they are – sensations inside of our body that come and go. You can change your reaction to the sensations and say ‘Okay, there’s some tightness in my chest or butterflies in my tummy’. You can observe them without getting so caught up in them. When you can just observe versus getting caught up in them and see the sensations for what they are, it will help them pass faster and your suffering will decrease.
So the Body Scan meditation is forming your first strategy for Week 2 of the De-stress Your Life Challenge. I’ve pre-recorded this exercise for you. I want you to listen to it each day over the coming week. To get this exercise just private message us on Facebook with the word ‘Body’.
To get your homework worksheet private message us on our Facebook page with ‘Homework 2’.