Self care and stress management go hand in hand to provide a strong foundation for not only our health but our peace of mind, and emotional well-being. Healthy self care begins with self awareness and continues with effective practices for stress management. We all know that stress is a part of life, but what we may not know is what to do about it that really counts. Effective approaches to managing stress can help to keep us sane and health.
I have often heard “It’s just stress” as if it is some nebulous thing with no real ramifications. Decades of research have proven that stress is in fact a major factor in practically all disease and even accidents so it is. Stress has very definite effects on mind, body and spirit. Fortunately there is a lot we can do to practice healthy self care and lessen the effects of stress on our health and our lives.
Self Care and Stress Management Begin with Self Awareness
I have found that to effectively manage stress we must have a clear picture of how it is affecting us as well as having well thought out methods to respond to our particular reactions.
Key questions to ask are “What are my typical reactions to stress? Are my responses physical, mental or emotional or some combination? What beliefs are being triggered within me?” We are all different and have our own patterns of responding to life events. The same situation can trigger different reactions in different people due to each individual’s unique nature, personal history and perception (worldview). This question also serves the purpose of popping us back into ourselves where the power truly lies to create change.
Next we can take a step back and look at our habitual responses and see where we need to develop better self care approaches for dealing with life’s stressful events and times that match our specific needs.
Self Care and Stress Management: Discovery of the Roots of “Mismanagement”|
Our capacity and ability for healthy self care is built on a foundation of many things….one of the most important and unconscious facets is our early childhood experience. Bringing light to the “messages” (overt or covert) we received can help give us greater power to take charge of ourselves and lives and create less stress and greater heath and well being.
In looking at how you care for yourself you might ask:
How was I cared for as a young child?
How were my needs treated?
Was I invalidated, told (overtly or covertly) that my needs were unimportant?
Am I selfish to care for me?
Is it alright to receive—care, attention, support, nurture?
To further define the areas where we need to develop better self care and eliminate or reduce stress the chakra system provides us with a map that aids us in examining our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.
Root Chakra: safety and security, your foundation for creating physical vitality
Sacral Chakra: creating healthy boundaries
Solar Plexus Chakra: power center, transform negatives into positives, release anger, resentment
Heart Chakra: release grief, co-dependency, open heart and embrace unconditional love
Throat Chakra: develop mental strength, comfortable with inner silence, reclaim authentic voice
Brow Chakra: develop ways to still mind, improve concentration, open to greater vision
Crown Chakra: open to your spiritual essence, access and feel joy more consistently