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Try a short meditation to understand how stress presents itself

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Having stress in our life can quickly result in letting go of many of the positive routines that contribute to positive balance and well-being. Even a little stress for a short period of time leads us to turn to quick fixes, breaks in exercise regimes, sleeping badly, cancelling social plans and negative thought patterns. We also tend to drive ourselves harder because we don’t feel we’re performing at our best, which adds to the original stress. And so the cycle begins....

Stress is triggered by a range of factors - often work-related (size of workload, lack of support, tension in work relationships, impending deadlines) but can also be aspects outside of work (unhappy relationships, pressure of family life, money worries, illness, ill health of family members, demands from friends, lack of focus well-being, pressures we put on ourselves, social pressures and expectations). Facing what is actually causing us stress can be harder than it seems as it might mean facing an uncomfortable issue. Often other people notice stress in us before we notice it in ourselves, but being able to deal with stress firstly means recognising it in yourself. Unfortunately, no one can do that for you, it does need to come from you so being self- aware, of what is going on for you in your body and how stress can manifest is vitally important.

  • Physical signs you may notice include: headaches, tension in your body, stiff neck, aches and pains, weight gain or loss, flu and fever, rash, stomach pains or changes in your menstrual cycle.

  • Behavioural signs may include: mood changes, irritability, being forgetful, lack of focus, jumping from one thing to the next, making mistakes, working long hours, unable to relax, nervousness or becoming accident-prone.

  • Psychological signs could include: forgetfulness, anxiety, negative thought patterns and becoming vague.

These are just a few. For more information on the signs of stress, the NHS or International Stress Management Association websites are great resources.

Take a moment to tune in to your body. A really successful way of doing this is to simply be still and breathe. Simple meditations, breathing exercises or body scans are so valuable when trying to ‘check in’ with yourself and I can’t recommend them highly enough. If you’re new to meditation there are so many wonderful apps to help guide you through this process and they don’t have to take long. A few minutes is all it takes.

I often start a coaching session with a short meditation to help focus the client on the present moment and to notice what is going on for them in the here and now. It is a great way of connecting with ourselves, bringing around a sense of calm and noticing warning signs within the body. Because stress presents itself in a range of ways, this is a great way of getting information from your mind and your body. Can you give it a go now?

You may also be interested in my blog on 'Let's talk about stress'.


Gemma Brown is a certified coach who works with successful women, 1-2-1 and in groups, to identify their strengths and build confidence which enables them to have the self-belief to fearlessly bring their whole being into all areas of life. Gemma is based in Cambridgeshire and carries out face to face coaching in the area as well as 1-2-1 coaching via Skype and Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.

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