How to S.T.O.P. Stress Right Now

The next time stress clouds your thinking, heightens your anxiety and has you feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, relief can be an instant away. All that is needed is a bit of space between you and the cause of your stress. These exercises, called nano-therapy, can be done in the middle of your stressful situation, in a meeting, in a crowded space or while you are alone. These action steps will help create a buffer. If you can remember the acronym S.T.O.P., you can ease the moment and and help break the grip of stress.

Smile - Research shows that smiling, even a forced or fake smile, relieves stress. The relationship between body and brain provides evidence when you smile first the brain will follow. Take it one step beyond a smile and laugh at the stressful situation. Laughter increases your heart rate, releases endorphins (natural pain relievers), and has been proven to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.  Laughter Therapy

Touch - The magic of being grounded. When feeling stressed, focus for a moment of your feet touching the ground, your body secure, engaged and alive. Being a part of the earth, deepening your roots and feeling a part of the universe has the power to reduce your stress levels. Focus first on your feet touching the ground, your legs connected to your feet and your body stable, sound and rooted. Grounding Yourself

One Breath - No matter where you are, you always have your breath. Take a deep breath and focus on where you feel your breath. Is it in your nose, your mouth, your throat or your chest? As you breath in, think only of they air moving into and out of your body. In addition to reducing stress, scientific studies show taking a deep breath has positive affects on the heart, brain, digestion and immune system.  Breathing

Present - Keep your thoughts in the present moment. Do not dwell on the mistakes you feel you have made in the past; there is nothing you can do to change the past. Stop worrying about the future, you can only live in the present moment; you cannot live in the future. Stress is often caused when you worry about events, past and future, while taking no time to live life fully now. When you live in the present moment, you are provided the opportunity to savor the joys and pleasures life has to offer, right now. The added layer of worrying about the past or future creates another dimension to stress, giving it additional power over you. Stop the cycle and stay in the present moment. The Art of Now

I was reminded of this powerful set of techniques and tools by the creators of the meditation app Buddhify.  Whenever I am faced with a particularly stressful or challenging situation in my life, I have found a tremendous amount of power and relief from a few minutes of meditation. For me, meditation is an incredible way to start and end my day. I would be happy to share any comments you have about reducing stress in your life and would love to share your approach to stress relief with our Nice Guy community. Please add your comments below.