Thoughts and Feelings Affect Behaviour

is getting even busier as we head along that well known path – the one leading up to ! This time of year can be fun but also quite stressful.

I see many who are seeking help to overcome the symptoms of stress and anxiety. In addition to their therapy with me, I offer them ideas for conscious techniques they might use to help themselves and I’d like to share a couple of these with you now.

Be aware of your breathing ; Focus for a minute on how you breathe.  Are you a shallow/chest breather? Are you taking short, rapid breaths? Breathing in such ways has possibly become a habit. Neither way is good for you and can have a negative impact upon your response to stress.

Get into the habit of breathing a little more deeply (not too deeply) and evenly. As a reminder, put small coloured stickers on things you see every day, such as your bathroom mirror, your phone, purse or wallet, etc. Each time you see one of the stickers it is your reminder to note how you are breathing and to regulate it until it becomes natural for you to breathe in the new way. Once it becomes a habit you can get rid of the stickers.

Calming exercise ; Take some time each day to give yourself some ‘Me time’ and do the following exercise which is aimed at calming and relaxing you.

Sit or lie down somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t rush through the exercise. Taking some time will help with its effectiveness.

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Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, then think of the word ‘Calm’.

If calm had a colour, choose which colour it would be for you.

If calm had a shape, choose what shape it would be for you.

Now, imagine those coloured, calming shapes gently drifting before you or around you as you relax.

Alternatively, you might just imagine the calming colour as a soothing light gently drifting around you whilst you relax. Continue for as long as you wish or until you drop off to sleep!

There are some lovely places in and around Beverley, so try to make some time to get out in the fresh air if you can and reduce your stress levels that way too.

Remember, I’m always interested to know how you get on with the techniques.

Pamela Crane

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