Winning the Battle of Stress for Entrepreneurs: Day 3

Day Three

 

When living a stressful lifestyle or experiencing an unwelcome amount of stress, getting the full quota of sleep is important.  If short-term sleep is deprived or if generally suffering from insomnia, it can make life a whole lot more difficult as irritability, a lack of tolerance and even depression can weigh heavily making even the easiest of tasks appear difficult.

Setting up a sleep schedule will help to make falling asleep a little easier. This means going to bed about the same time every night where possible as this builds up a positive sleep pattern and subconsciously aids deep sleep. Setting up a regular routine immediately allows the individual to become use to this pattern of behaviour, so there are less concerns about how to get off to sleep.

It’s easy to over-think about work, life, and any particular problem or even fret about the next day’s events and these thoughts can be reason enough why sleep is evasive. Mix this with raised levels of cortisol which is linked to chronic stress and the reason for a lack of sleep becomes obvious.

If a difficulty in falling asleep is experienced initially, ensure that no stimulants such as coffee or alcohol have been consumed. There is nothing wrong with having a drink but they have been proven to interrupt a sleep pattern. To start off with, the individual should avoid any stimulations and ensure that the bedroom is warm and inviting, with low lights, no drafts to disturb and no external noises.

A few drops of pure essential Lavender Oil can be added to the pillows or to the quilt as this is conducive to relaxation.

Progressive Relaxation

When the mind and body feel too tense for sleep to come, try a progressive relaxation as this can help ease out the tension that may be unknowingly held within the muscles and once this is released, sleep should come naturally.

Lying flat, with eyes closed, take the attention to the feet and ankles and deliberately tense them, holding the tension for a few seconds. Release the tension suddenly and the difference will be noticeable. Then systematically work through the whole body, tensing the calf muscles and the knees, then releasing. Next, focus on tensing the thigh muscles and buttocks, and then release. Working up the body, abdomen, chest, the arms, neck and shoulders (where many people hold tension) even the face and scalp should be tensed and then relaxed. Ensure that the whole body is subjected to this progressive relaxation technique and afterwards, much of the muscle tension will have been dissipated.

This can be done every night or at any time to suit.

 

Visualizations

Visualizations are powerful ways of releasing stress and to conjure up happier and perhaps more peaceful times for the individual. The techniques (first stage towards meditation) can take a little while to perfect and this varies from person to person but they can be used to suit the individual’s needs.  They can be done at any time of the day or night for any length of time, but initially, five or ten minutes may be all that can be sustained without conscious thought interrupting the visualization.

When the individual is about to commence a visualization, it’s important to ensure that the phone is unplugged and that they are unlikely to be disturbed.

Visualization – A Beautiful Scene

With eyes closed, it’s important to focus intently on any moment in time where happiness was experienced. This can often be the birth of a child, marriage or simply a moment where pure contentment was reached.  To be able to picture the scene completely, it’s important to become part of the scene using memories so that it feels real. In a way, the moment becomes freeze framed for the individual to step into and experience at will.

 

The Box Visualization

When problems get too much and sleep is interrupted as a result, the best way for any individual to cope with them is to use the ‘Box Visualization’ as this affords a great deal of control over any areas of concern.

When lying down and with eyes closed, imagine the actual problem and make the visualization as clear as possible before mentally shrinking it down to tiny proportions. Mentally place the problem in a box and put the lid on it. Practice makes perfect with this technique and if the problem still plagues during the visualization, it’s important to stay focussed and to keep placing the problem back into the box.

This repetitive action gives you power over the situation. Wrap the box, tape it so that it is secure and then mentally drop the box containing the problem over a bridge and into a fast flowing river. It can be very therapeutic to watch the problem being swept away and will certainly aid sleep as a result.

This can be repeated as many times as is necessary but it’s an excellent tool to help avoid any problems from disturbing sleep. With a full night’s sleep, any problems will look much less concerning anyway.

 

Breathing Exercises

Many people do not breathe fully in their daily lives. Smoking, tension and incorrect posture will all restrict the lungs being utilized correctly. This in turn can lead to health problems. Therefore, learning to breathe correctly and to be able to practice it a few times each day is really useful.

The complete breath –a yogic technique is powerful and easy to use and it can be done at anytime throughout the day and essentially, anywhere. It’s an important technique because it involves the complete respiratory system and expands the lungs fully.

 

  1. 1.  With an empty stomach and sitting upright, inhale slowly through the nostrils, pushing out the stomach as the inhalation continues. Feel the air filling the lower, middle and upper lungs and the rib cage expanding.
  2. 2.  Raise the shoulders slightly to allow full lung capacity and retain the breath for a couple of seconds.
  3. 3.  Exhale through the mouth, pulling the stomach inwards slightly as the air expels and lowering the shoulders. Hold the position and the breath once fully exhaled for a few seconds only and then repeat the process a couple of times.

Note that the complete breath is not to be used continuously but only during the practice sessions. The breathing should be a fluidic motion and the following breath/count should be aimed for:

Breathe in for a count of four. Hold the breath for two. Exhale for a count of four. Then hold the breath out for two. It’s important to adjust the timing of this to ensure that it matches full inhalation and exhalation. The timings can be increased or decreased depending on lung capacity.  Repetitions – maximum of four as the complete breath can lead to short term feelings of dizziness or nausea if overdone.

Practiced regularly, it improves lung capacity and is a wonderful technique to help still the mind and to halt the stress triggers.

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