Stress easily accumulates when we have a long-do list, multiple deadlines and competing priorities. It’s very easy to end up living a life that is inconsistent with your personal values, spending lots of time and energy on things that perhaps aren’t what you really value as important. To help you to clarify your values, Dr. Catherine will guide you through a personal values exercise. This will enable you to clarify what is really important to you, to help you to start living more fully by your values and have a more fulfilling life.
2. Positive Self Talk
Stress can often make you focus on your perceived weaknesses and flaws. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s common to end up criticising and blaming yourself. A way of building up our resilience to stress is to learn to recognise your negative thought patterns and actively work to refocus your mind. In this exercise, we will use the technique of positive self-talk. I will help you to identify some of your key personal qualities and strengths. All you need for this exercise is a pen and paper.
3. Release Tension in the Body
One of the physical signs of stress is muscular tension throughout the body or in specific areas like the neck, shoulders, back and head. In this session Dr. Catherine will guide you through a Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique which will enable you to release tension in the body so that you can begin to feel more calm and relaxed.This exercise can be done sitting in a comfortable chair, at any point during the day, but it’s even better to do lying down, especially in bed at night.
4. Peaceful Mind Visualization
Visualization is an effective technique for managing both stress and anxiety. With practice, this technique can enable you to achieve a sense of relaxation in just a few minutes - perfect for when you’ve had a busy stressful day. In this session, Dr. Catherine will guide you through a visualization where you can imagine yourself in a peaceful and safe environment, somewhere that makes you feel calm, happy and relaxed. The more you practice this exercise, the more naturally you will be able to imagine yourself in your peaceful place, and the greater the relaxation effect will be.
5. Mindful Body Relaxation
When we are feeling very stressed, it’s easy to feel ‘stuck in our head’ and disconnected from our physical selves. In this session Dr. Catherine will guide you through a mindful body scan. This is a practice that aims to increase your awareness of the whole of your body to help you to feel calmer, more centred and grounded. You can do this any time of day, but you might like to try it when you’re lying in bed at night, or upon waking in the morning. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing.
6. Deep Breathing For Relaxation
To effectively combat stress, we need to elicit the relaxation response. This is a physical state of deep rest which involves a number of physical changes in the body - your blood pressure decreases, your breathing slows down, your metabolism decreases, your heart rate slows down and your muscles relax. In this session Dr. Catherine will guide you through a simple deep breathing technique.
7. Stress Relief Through Gratitude
Cultivating gratitude is one of the simpler routes to a greater sense of emotional well-being, higher overall life satisfaction, and a greater sense of happiness in life. In today’s exercise you will learn to shift your mind out of stress mode through a regular practice of gratitude. You can do this exercise at any point during the day, but the best time to do it may be before you go to bed. All you need for this exercise is a pen and a notebook or journal.
8. Learn to Let Go Of Stress
When we are feeling stressed, it is important that we have a way to let go of unhelpful thoughts. In this session, Dr. Catherine will lead you through a mindfulness exercise which will enable you to step back and observe your thoughts, rather than being so caught up in them.
9. Silence The Inner Critic
Our ‘inner critic’ is the voice in our head that tells us we are always doing something wrong. This constant self-judgement is a huge source of stress for many people. In this exercise you will learn how to challenge this ‘inner critic’ through harnessing your capacity for compassion, and start the move to a calmer state of self-love and acceptance. This exercise requires some self-reflection on past and present experiences, so try to do it when you have the space to take 10 minutes to think without feeling rushed.
10. Change A Negative Mindset
When you’re feeling stressed, low or anxious, it’s common to experience negative thoughts. Once you start dwelling on one of these negative thoughts, it often leads to another, and before you know it, you’re stuck in a cycle of negative thinking that ends up making you feel even more stressed out and worried. In this session, Dr. Catherine shares a mindfulness technique that can enable you to respond to negative thoughts in a different way. Practicing this technique can help you to feel calmer, less overwhelmed by negative thoughts, and more able to cope with stressful situations.