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Are You A Busy Female Entrepreneur? 3 Ways To Relieve Stress In This Moment

Written by: Frida Aguinaldo Soerensen, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Being an entrepreneur brings a sense of achievement as well as inevitable stress, and as a female entrepreneur, often juggling other roles, we need to find ways to release it as soon as we notice it. Stress starts in the mind, but it often manifests itself as mild to intense sensations of tension, discomfort, and excess energy in the body as a result of our fight, flight, and freeze response is activated. Luckily, by learning some simple mindfulness practices, you can relieve stress in the moment and channel a renewed sense of energy.



Is our mind overactive?

We tend to interact and see the world through our intellect, our ability to think logically and to problem solve. Often, it can feel like we are simply a floating head on top of a transport device, AKA, our body. We often forget that our body and its five senses make up a very large part of how we engage and interact in the world.


How can we calm the body and mind when we are caught up in the throes of stress, with the heart-pumping, mind-racing, hands-sweating kinds of stress? In these moments, we can feel completely overwhelmed and paralyzed. We generally have limited control over our emotional responses, so we can often fly off the handle or unwantedly act on an impulse. This is because of a phenomenon called the Amygdala Hijack. The amygdala is a part of our brain connected to survival and is responsible for triggering our fight, flight, and freeze response when we are faced with a perceived threat. Such threats can be an actual threat of physical harm or something so mundane as going live with your Facebook audience for the first time.


Are we simply coping?

Fortunately, if our body is capable of amassing loads of tension in challenging situations, it also has the mechanism to release stress and bring about relaxation. This is called the relaxation response or rest and digest. By bringing in some simple mindfulness techniques, such as being present to sensations in your body and paying attention to your breath, you can start to flex your rest and digest muscle. This knowledge is powerful and a means of taking back control from the hijacker or our mind.


3 practices that will help you


Sighing

According to meditation teacher and author Eric Harrison 2003, sighing can be seen as a natural mechanism that can help you relieve excess tension. Why not tap into something that you already do naturally? Remember those times you have walked around your office sighing because you’ve had a hard day? That is your body trying to help you relieve tension naturally.


Harrison says,


  • Inhale fully through your nose.

  • Exhale out through your open mouth, creating a “haaaa…” sound. Follow your breath all the way out until you feel your abdominal muscles contract.

  • Pause at the end of your exhalation for 1-2 sec, finding stillness in the pause when you feel the urge to inhale, breath in once more. Repeat steps 1-3 for a few more rounds of sighing.


The key is to relax and soften into the long exhale out. For a more discreet sigh, the kind you might do in public, try “gentle sighing.” Using the same 3 steps, but breathing out through pursed lips instead.


Shake it off!

Another underutilized stress-release tool is “Shaking,” also known as “therapeutic tremoring.” Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky 2004, writes in his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers that animals such as zebras can rapidly release stress by physically shaking off their stressful experiences. Did you know that we have the same skill, so why not tap into it?


  • Stand in a comfortable and relaxed position, feeling your feet flat on the floor. Take a few deep breaths before you begin.

  • Gently shake out your right arm, from your shoulder into your fingertips. Shaking more vigorously as you breathe. Start to shake out your left arm, simultaneously shaking both arms as vigorously as feels comfortable. Keeping your arms relaxed as you shake.

  • Continue to shake your arms and start to shake out your left leg and then the right leg.

  • Lastly, shake out your whole body, from head to toe. Feeling the sensations as you move and breathe. Listen to your body, being careful not to overdo it, but feeling your energy build up!

  • Visualize that you are shaking out physical, mental, and emotional tension in your body and mind. You are shaking out any disappointments, worries, negative thoughts, emotions, and energy that does not serve you. Shaking it ALL out.

  • For the final few moments, shake as vigorously as you can whilst breathing out through your mouth in long audible sighs. I encourage you to be as loud as possible if your environment allows it!

  • To finish, bring your body to stillness, coming back to where you started, arms resting along your side. Take a few deep breaths in and out and feel the energy flowing through your body and notice how your mind feels.


Hand on your heart

Being stressed out often comes with overly critical and negative thoughts about ourselves. In these moments, it helps to be able to recognize these as destructive thoughts and connect with more nurturing and loving energy. This quick stress-reliever is also great for boosting self-compassion. If you like, you can add this mindfulness practice to the end of a good “shake out” to the ground and calm yourself back down.


  • Start by placing your hands on your heart and your belly and taking deep breaths. As you exhale, see if you can relax and soften the muscles around the heart and any other areas of your body that feel tight.

  • Press your hand into your heart space, feeling the warmth and care for yourself through your hand. Pressing and feeling into where the worry or the tension sits.

  • If you like, you can add a mantra here to create an even more soothing space for yourself.

  • E.g., “relax,” let go, “surrender,” “I am here for you.” Stay here for 2-3 minutes.


I hope these practices bring you relief as well as confidence that your body innately knows how to release tension and restore balance. Have patience with yourself and trust that by listening to your body and by trying new ways to release the stress, you will find your own creative ways to navigate challenging moments.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and visit my website for more info!

 

Frida Aguinaldo Soerensen, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Frida Soerensen is a Mindfulness Coach for female entrepreneurs, founders, and business owners. After suffering chronic stress, anxiety & near burn-out working in the Australian social work industry, Frida brought together practices in modern psychology, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation to develop a holistic approach to creating mental and emotional resilience.


She is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs to transform their hectic lifestyle into one where they are empowered to grow their businesses whilst thriving in all other areas of life.


Frida now lives in the Philippines in her childhood home. She is the founder of the Transcend Beyond Stress & Thrive Program, an online mindfulness coaching program. She also runs a small wellness business where she supports her local community of women, businesses, and nonprofits.


Frida holds a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Human Services through La Trobe University, Australia, and gained her meditation teacher certification through the Australian Centre for Meditation & Mindfulness. Frida also holds over 10 years of personal yoga and meditation practice.

 

References and further reading on relieving stress in the moment:

Harrison E (2005) The 5- Minute Meditator- How to relax your body and mind rapidly whenever you want to, Perth Meditation Centre Sapolsky R. M. (2004) Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: A guide to stress, stress-related diseases, and coping, W.H. Freeman

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