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Coping with Anxiety and Stress_Final

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>> Anxiety, it's something we all experience from time to time in various forms and situations. A small amount of anxiety in new and challenging situations can be good. This provides us the tension to propel us forward with awareness and determination. On the other end of the spectrum, you have anxiety disorders which can be completely devastating to a person's life and wellbeing. If someone has severe anxiety, such as a diagnosis from a psychologist or a psychiatrist, that's outside your scope of practice. You can't diagnose your clients nor should you try. So it's up to you, as a coach, to ask questions and use your best judgment to decide whether a client's anxiety is beyond your ability to help, and if so, refer them to a mental health professional. But a lot of anxiety is situational and is based on stress tolerance. That's what coaches can work with, helping their clients find ways to reduce stress. So in this lecture, I'll share with you six ways you can do this. Let's get started by talking about how stress manifests in the body. It can look different from person to person, but there are many common features. Clients with stress-induced anxiety may experience things like muscle tension, irritability, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, difficult sleeping, fatigue, shallow breathing, restlessness, and edginess. These symptoms of stress are likely compounding the problem and wearing them down further. You know how in HCTP we teach the concept of crowding out unhealthy foods by adding in nutritious ones. You can take this same type of approach with your client's stress by trying to crowd out anxious moments with relaxing and nourishing ones. An overall increase in wellbeing will result in improvements in how they receive and manage stress, making life feel lighter and easier. To help with this, here are six ways to help manage your client's stress. One, keep a daily journal. If your client is stressed out and feeling anxious and they're not sure why, have them keep a journal for a week or two. In this daily journal, they should write down everything they did that day and how they felt when doing each thing. This might reveal stressors they aren't considering that add up and make them feel on edge. Things like hitting snooze on a blaring alarm clock for half an hour every morning, drinking too much coffee, not leaving enough time to get to work or regularly engaging with a toxic friend or family member. What stresses them out? What are they doing everyday that brings them joy? Are they doing things to manage their feelings, such as breathing exercises, meditation or some kind of spiritual practice? Too many people do absolutely nothing in a day to make them smile or feel good. If your client isn't factoring in regular things that make them feel light and happy, what can they add in to crowd out what's weighing them down? Leaving it to recall isn't always sufficient to assess how many stressful things versus how many joyful things a client is doing in a day. Encourage them to rise to the challenge of this assignment and track what they do and how they feel, so you can see what they're actually doing, not just hear their interpretation of it. Number two, mental rehearsal. Your anxious client may be stressing either consciously or totally subconsciously about some stressful event, situation or task in their life that is throwing them way outside of their comfort zone. Your job is to find out what this is. Maybe they're freaking out about planning a wedding and getting married, even though they're totally smiling and excited on the outside. Or maybe they're super nervous about a speaking engagement they agreed to. Whatever it is, you can help them prepare and calm down with the mental rehearsal. Mental rehearsal is simple. It's having your client map out whatever it is they have to do, all of the details and a play-by-play of how it would go successfully. And then you lead them through a guided visualization of the experience, so they can play it out in their head. They might freak out just imagining the situation, and that's okay because you're going to prep them for this possibility and remind them that they're in a safe space where none of this imagined content can actually hurt them. Explain to your client that you can actually decrease their stress around the situation because the more they rehearse it, the more normalized and less threatening it becomes. What you can do during this process that's especially helpful is to pair the rehearsal with a relaxation technique, such as a breathing exercise, humor or aroma therapy to create a counter effect. What you're doing here is presenting something relaxing along with something anxiety provoking, which is incompatible. Then when the time comes to enact the situation in real life, they can bring this relaxation tool with them and it will have an even stronger effect than if they just introduced for the first time. Number three, embrace sensuality. When you're feeling stressed out and anxious, it's easy to neglect your sensual side and your sexuality, but this is an important component of wellbeing. Whether partnered or solo, anyone can find ways to tend to these aspects of themselves in a way that self honoring and enjoyable. This can mean sex but it's not limited to that. Little acts of sensuality can make a difference too. These can be things like wearing lingerie under your typical day clothes, reading a trashy romance novel, dancing to sexy music when no one's looking or taking a sensual bubble bath. The point here is to tap into whatever makes you feel good by honoring your needs and desires. Paying attention to what feels sensually good, even if it's as simple as the way the fabric of your shirt feels on your skin and embracing this aspect of your humanity to relieve tension and relax. Number four, feel-good exercise. Did you know there have been studies that have shown that exercise is a more effective at combating anxiety than medication? Getting the body moving is incredibly powerful and creates a chemical effect in your brain by releasing endorphins that naturally make you feel good. And you don't need to lift heavy weights or run for miles on the treadmill to get the effect, unless, of course, that's what you want. The key here is to get your client doing something fun and easy that they want to return to. So you'll need to help them get creative to discover what they can fit into their schedule, and commit to that will make them feel good. It can be as simple as walking outside and enjoying nature, maybe it's a belly dancing class or hip-hop dance class. Prompt your clients to identify what they'd be interested in and then take it a step further and have them follow up and see when and where this activity is offered or when they will commit to their pleasurable movement. Number five, sensory engagement. This is an emotion regulation technique borrowed from dialectical behavior therapy. The goal behind self-soothing techniques is calming, nurturing, and being gentle with yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed and distressed. One way that they propose to do this is by engaging all five senses in order to immerse yourself with calming and pleasurable stimuli. This involves making the commitment to step out of whatever is going on and whatever you're feeling to mindfully and pleasurably engage your sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Ways to pleasurably engage your sense of sight include looking at art, going for a walk somewhere beautiful, putting flowers on your desk or somewhere you see them throughout the day. Pleasurably engaging your sense of sound can be done by putting on headphones or blasting your favorite music or downloading an app with soothing sounds like the tide rolling in or rainfall on a roof. There are several apps with soothing sounds that can be downloaded for free. Engaging your sense of smell with pleasure and awareness can mean lighting a scented candle or smelling an essential oil with the scent you love. You can simmer spices on the stove top, savor the smell of delicious food cooking in a slow cooker or go to a restaurant and take in the smells. Ways to engage your sense of taste include sipping a flavorful tea, eating a favorite food or mindfully enjoying a juicy piece of fruit. Lastly, you can engage your sense of touch by wearing a soft sweater, petting an animal, feeling the breeze on your bare skin, laying out in the sun or getting a massage. Obviously, none of these little acts will zap your client out of their anxiety and make everything better but that's not the point, the point is for your client to learn how to manage their anxiety and overwhelm when things seem unmanageable. By creating healthy distractions when feelings of anxiety creep in, self-soothing is a way for them to realize they do have power over the way they feel and that they can work to shift how they feel by shifting their attention to what's pleasurable in their surroundings. Number six, to-don't list. Is your client stressed out because they're trying to take on the world? Coaching attracts a lot of type A personalities, people who strive to be their best, tackle goals and chase perfectionism. If you have a client who's trying to plow through a big to-do list every day, get them in the practice or writing a to-don't list every morning that lists all of the things they won't do, and all of the things they feel like they should do but don't really need to. Another method for challenging the to-do list superhero is to have them replace their list with a simple declaration of their intent for the day. This list consists of three items which are, the one thing they absolutely need to do, the one thing they really want to do, and one thing they will say no to and cross off their list. Practices like these will help your clients to feel more free. When you live your life dictated by a long list of tasks and shoulds, it can make you feel trapped and dull, which can spur contextual anxiety. So by shifting the context and creating even the illusion of freedom, it can start to lift your client up and remind them that life can be what they make it. So now let's recap. The six ways that you can teach your clients to cope with the stress we talked about in today's lecture are daily journaling, mental rehearsal, embracing sensuality, feel good exercise, sensory engagement, and to-don't list. These methods aren't meant to treat people with clinically significant anxiety. These are coping tools for your clients who fall within your scope of practice and are experiencing the common woes of stress related anxiety. How does stress affect you and how do you deal with it? We're curious to know what works for you and what doesn't. So head on over to the Facebook group page and let us know. Thanks for joining me, bye for now.

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Duration: 11 minutes and 18 seconds
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Language: English
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Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Jul 10, 2018

Coping with Anxiety and Stress_Final

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