Waiting out the storm: Hints for keeping stress under control

We have no control over Hurricane Irma and the hurricanes that may follow in life. We can sit here and worry, but what good is that going to do?

Hurricane Irma. Geostationary view as storm develops over the Atlantic. (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory image. Government image, public domain, via Wikipedia entry on this storm.

WASHINGTON, September 11, 2011 – An earthquake in Mexico. Twin hurricanes in the Atlantic. Ongoing uncertainty about North Korea. Oiy!

I have always tried my best to walk my talk. Having family and friends in Florida, I found that here and now is a great time to practice the usefulness of positive self-talk and resiliency.

Whether you are dealing with a hurricane, a work deadline, or worrying about a loved one’s health, it is easy to get caught up in a parade of “what ifs,” which create insidious stress.

Remember: You can decide how to fill your time. You can worry, which creates anxiety, or you can take control of things when and where you can. In other words, don’t believe, particularly during stress-inducing times and incidents, that your thoughts control you.

You control your thoughts. Do you want to choose worry and anxiety? Or do you want to focus on what things you can control and act in that direction?

Be aware that our brain naturally travels back to the past or forward the future. We have to consciously bring our thoughts back to the present. So be aware of your thoughts. If you hear yourself saying or thinking I should have, could have or would have, know that you are dwelling in the past, and usually with regret, worrying or regretting that you didn’t act on something when you believe you should have. This path leads you in a negative, nonproductive direction.

If you hear yourself thinking or saying those “what ifs,” this is a signal that you are stuck in the mode of what if this happens, what if that happens. This creates anxiety, and your thoughts can rapidly cascade into a downward spiral.

As I sit here writing this article, I have consciously decided to focus on what is working. For example, I have no control over Hurricane Irma and the hurricanes that may follow. I can sit here and worry, but what good is that going to do?

Instead, I am writing about this topic as various emotions surface. I feel better “voicing” how I feel on the keyboard, no differently than when I ask a client to start a journal. Writing is a great way to get things out of our heads that otherwise would have remained inside, ultimately causing negative self-talk and chaos.

I have also performed some breathing techniques that can physiologically calm down your system. One example you can try: Breathe in and hold that breath for five to eight seconds. Release and repeat a few more times. This is a great grounding exercise and it’s easy to do.

To recap, here are some helpful tips:

  • Think in the present.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Journal your feelings. It can be therapeutic.
  • Try a simple breathing exercise like the one above.
  • Calm your inner chatter. Choose positive, productive thoughts.

Sending positive blessings to all.

For more Information Contact:

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC Certified Business, Life & Career Coach Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies and Transition

Certified Mediator

301-706-7226 & 703-574-0039
[email protected]

Twitter: @SelfTalkCoach

Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.


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