Portsmouth A Love Story

Monday, December 2, 2013

4 Holiday Stress Busters

You have a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection. -Kelly McGonigal, Psychologist, The Willpower Instinct

How much stress have you experienced in the last year?

How much time have you spend connecting and helping others?

Watch the video at the end of this article and learn how to use stress to strengthen your health rather than becoming less healthy. In the meantime, read the stress reduction methods below.

4 Stress Busters for Relief During the Holidays or Anytime


A few minutes of deep abdominal breathing can provide stress relief and begin to calm us.Place your right hand on your abdomen and push it out as you breathe in. Then imagine all your tension leaving your body as you breathe out through your feet and your abdomen contracts inward towards your spine.

You can also focus on specific individual tension areas as you breathe in and relax these as you breathe out.

A few minutes of conscious breathing can calm us. The advantage is that we can do it anywhere such as seating at a desk, driving in a car, or walking.


We tend to live in the past or the future.We worry about what we have already done or what might happen next. The best way to deal with stress of this type involves becoming aware of when we dwell in the past or future and then come back to the present. We can focus all our attention on the present task at hand whether it be walking or eating etc.. Examine the sensations of your immediate task and begin to enjoy the present moment.


The next time you feel stress, think about some of the things you can be grateful. When we focus all our attention on a specific problem we lose perspective. We all have things to be grateful for such as the ability to see, to walk, family and friends. Feeling gratitude or expressing it to others activates endorphins in our brains and we feel good.


You may want to merge onto a highway of fast moving traffic and you patiently wait your turn for the car in front of you only to see a second car move out at the same time. Anger and stress flood your body as you want to swear at the second car. Then you take a closer look and see the second car being towed by the first car. Your mind shifts, the stress dissolves. You automatically reframed the situation. In other words, you changed your mental perspective and saw the situation in a different light.

  • When anger or frustration arises we can decide to breathe and relax. We can focus on the moment and fully feel what’s going on in our body. 
  • We can focus on events and people we feel grateful for. 
  • For more long term ways dealing with stress we can also do regular exercise, meditation, or yoga. 
  • Most of all reach out, connect and help others, as you will learn about in the video below. 

Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk): How to Make Stress a Friend

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges s to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to a mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Stress has been made into a public health enemy. Research suggests that stress may only be bad for us if we believe that to be the case. When we change our mind about stress, we can change our response to it like in the reframing tip above.

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Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret from Drama, Trauma, and Pain  His book provides ways for improving emotional health, easing pain and stress, healing physical and emotional abuse, and spiritual awakening.

Michael as a Residential and Self-Esteem Coach and Mentor has over 13 years experience teaching teens self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. See eBook Self Esteem- A Teen's Guide for Girls 

Michael offers Bowen Therapy in person in Sedona, Arizona for easing physical and emotional pain. See http://emotionalhealthtips.com/bowen-therapy

Other Blog Posts By Michael D. Lawrience: 
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