Mary McLean Hypnotherapy

Mary McLean Hypnotherapy

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5 Top Tips to Reduce Stress and Increase Confidence

5 Top Tips to Reduce Stress

The Importance of Self Confidence and Stress Management

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines stress as “the reaction people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.”

Most people reading that definition of stress will immediately understand why so many of us are stressed since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Here are five easy things you can do every day to help reduce stress and increase confidence, to help you to deal more effectively with whatever life throws at you.

  • Decide to Start Small
  • Begin Each with Gratitude
  • Stop the Negative Self-Talk and Create a Positive Affirmation
  • Take Time Out for YOU
  • Finish the Day with Gratitude

I’ve learned so much by reading and studying personal development books for over thirty years. I also follow a lot of the top motivational speakers, like Tony Robbins, Vanessa Van Edwards (who is not strictly a motivational speaker but she shares some amazing tips that can change your life) and Mel Robbins, who is fast becoming one of my favourites.

As a result I have learned what works for me and I have no doubt they will work for you too.

In this post I share what’s involved and more importantly, how to implement them so you can make positive changes quickly and easily:

So much of what is happening right now is out of our control. We have never been in this situation before, and most of us don’t know how to deal with the ever-changing situation. We don’t know when, or if, there’ll be more restrictions imposed on our already restricted lives. That means we can’t plan  our lives effectively. The result is stress.

Maybe you’re stressed because you lost your job or you were out of work for weeks or months and had to live on a much lower income.

Or maybe you continued to go to work, but in very different, scary and unpredictable circumstances. You have no control over those circumstances. Lack of control leads to more stress.

Maybe you’re worried about getting Covid or bringing it home to someone who is vulnerable, despite doing everything in your power to do the right thing.

Or maybe you’re working from home now, trying to juggle a full time job. For many people that includes new tasks you feel you’re not fully trained for and therefore you lack the confidence to do a good job.

And you still have your family responsibilities. It seems like there’s even less time for you. This all adds up to an enormous amount of stress.

However you can reduce stress and increase self-confidence and resilience. It’s easy to start by changing a few simple daily habits.

Tip 1 – Decide to Start Small

Everyone knows it’s rarely a good idea to try to make big changes all at once, especially when you’re feeling stressed. You’ll probably find that, instead of reducing your stress, big changes will increase your stress levels.

Decide to Start Small
Decide to Start Small

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear details how a few tiny changes will revolutionise your life. Sounds unbelievable? Let me explain.

Imagine an aeroplane is flying from Los Angeles to New York. If the plane veers off course even a tiny fraction, the flight will end up many miles off course and will never reach its intended destination.

In the same way, if you want to make changes in your life, all you need to do is start small.

Imagine for a moment how developing small daily habits towards your desired outcome can create massive change over time.

How would your life be if you could stick to those daily habits for the next year? Don’t think you can do it?

Yes you can. And it’s  not as difficult as it sounds.

If you miss an odd day here and there you will still be way ahead of where you’d be without making those tiny changes.

Tip 2 – Begin Each Day with Gratitude

Most people know that gratitude is the best medicine, it heals your mind, your body and your spirit. And it attracts even more things to be grateful for.

Developing gratitude is so important to our mental health and our happiness. It helps us to reduce stress and increase confidence, putting us in a much more positive mood. It is therefore an excellent way to start to the day.

Gratitude means being grateful  for those things in our lives that many of us take for granted.

When you begin your day by focusing on what you have to be grateful for, it puts you in a positive frame of mind and helps you to feel happier than when you take things for granted.

So think for just a moment of five things you have to be grateful for today.

If, for some reason you can’t think of something big, then it’s perfectly ok to start small. As you continue with this exercise regularly you will find more and more to add to your list every single day.

Are you blessed with good health, a loving partner, close friends or family?

Are you grateful for a job or business that pays for your home and the food on your table?

Maybe you’d like more money or a different job but being grateful for what you have right now is the first step to reducing stress and being happy.

Making a mental gratitude list every morning has the power to transform your life. It only takes a few minutes. It’s so simple and yet so  powerful. Never underestimate its power.

Tip 3 – Stop the Negative Self-Talk and Create a Positive Affirmation

Many people think saying affirmations is a load of codswallop. But think for a moment about all the things you say to yourself every day, the negative stuff. We all do it. It’s how are brains are wired.

Most of what we say to ourselves we wouldn’t dare say to someone we love. So why do we say it to ourselves? It’s demotivating us and causing us untold stress. We need to break the bad habit for our own good.

If your child was constantly being told by a so-called “friend” that they were stupid or not good enough or any of the other negative things we say to ourselves, how would it make you feel? You’d be outraged and rightly so. Nobody wants that kind of negativity to damage their child.

So what would you do?

I expect you’d do your utmost to discourage the “friendship”, knowing that it was damaging your child’s self-esteem and confidence, and no doubt causing them stress.

Isn’t it time to stop the negative self-talk and replace it with something more positive?

You don’t have to tell yourself you are superman or superwoman or something else equally unbelievable. You are human and you make mistakes like everyone else.

But if you’re doing your best, don’t beat yourself up because you’re not perfect. Affirm that you are doing your best.

Instead, tell yourself one of the following every chance you get:

  • I am doing my best
  • I can do this
  • I got this
  • I am lovable exactly as I am
  • I deserve to be loved
  • I am becoming more confident every day

Or you can come up with your own words. Be sure you say your affirmation in the presence tense, not the future. Instead of “I will” use “I am” or “I can”.

In her book The High 5 Habit, motivational speaker Mel Robbins describes how she gives herself a high five in the mirror every morning while brushing her teeth. She started the habit accidently but found it so effective that she has kept it up and has written a book about it.

To find out more about how The High 5 Habit works, check out The Good Glow podcast during which Dublin based Georgie Crawford interviews Mel Robbins about her latest book.

Mel also talks to Georgie about her 5 Second Rule, which transformed her life when she was struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and untreated childhood trauma.

I know The High 5 Habit sounds silly but it works! Not only have I tried it, but Mel Robbins is getting fantastic feedback from so many people all around the world who are getting amazing results with this simple technique that anyone can do.

Why not high five yourself each morning in the mirror while brushing your teeth and saying your positive affirmation. Do it for a week and see the difference.

Tip 4 – Take Time Out for YOU

Taking time out for yourself is so important. It is not selfish. We all have busy lives and sometimes it can be difficult to find the time. But it is vital to your mental health. If you don’t take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, your health will suffer.

Not only does stress feel terrible but, over time stress can really take its toll on your physical health. Prevention is always better than a cure so be good to yourself. Take some time out from the stress of everyday life –  time for you.

As the old saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

It’s important to know the signs of stress so you can take the necessary steps to reduce stress and confidence and resilience.

Doing so will help you, day by day, to develop new habits to help you feel calm, relaxed, confident and at ease in those situations that previously left you feeling worried and anxious.

Stress can be the cause of many physical problems:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Stomach and digestive problems
  • Over or under eating
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of libido
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Social isolation
  • Excessive worry
  • Poor sleep

The above list is not exhaustive and some of the symptoms mentioned can also be signs you need to see your doctor. Be sure to contact your doctor to get a full check-up if you suspect you may have a health condition that needs medical attention.

So what can you do?

First, think about what you enjoy doing.

Going for a walk with a friend is always a great. Not only are you getting fresh air and exercise, which is hugely beneficial for your mental and physical well-being, you’re enjoying catching up with a friend.

Or maybe you love to go for a long walk on your own to clear your head after a particularly busy day.

Maybe you enjoy listening to music, or dancing, or going to an exercise class with friends.

You could read a great book and immerse yourself in someone else’s life for a while. A little escapism can be a great way to relax.

All of these activities help you to feel less stressed and they help you to build self-confidence and resilience.

But what about the tiny little things we mentioned earlier, the things that take so little time that we’re inclined to dismiss them?

Take 60 seconds to close your eyes and breathe deeply, while holding one hand on your stomach and the other on your heart. It’s simple but very effective.

Who doesn’t have 60 seconds to do that?

I know we are all rushing about all the time, but what about doing this exercise as soon as you get into your car before you start the engine?

Or you can do it as soon as you turn off the engine and before you get out of the car. Always make sure you are in a safe place to do this.

Or do it in the bathroom while you’re there anyway! It doesn’t take any extra time.

You could listen to a hypnotic relaxation audio while you fall asleep each night. This doesn’t take any extra time either and, over time, the positive suggestions will reprogramme your subconscious mind, allowing you to reduce stress and increase self-confidence and resilience.

And in the meantime you’ll find you sleep more easily and more deeply, waking way more refreshed each morning.

Tip 5 -Finish the Day with Gratitude

And finally, before you go to sleep each night, think again about the five things you were grateful for as you started your day. Write them down. When you have written them down, read each one slowly, thinking about what you have written and getting into the feeling of gratitude.

Finish the Day With Gratitude
Finish the Day With Gratitude

I first came across this exercise many years ago in a book called Creating A Bug Free Mind, by Andy Shaw. Not too many people were talking about the importance of gratitude at that time, at least not that I was aware.

Back then I was really stressed out at work. It was so bad that when I went to bed at night the problems at work were going round and round in my head, preventing me from getting a good night’s sleep.

I knew I needed to reduce stress but didn’t know how. Seeing how stressed I was, my eldest son recommended the above mentioned book. I didn’t think a simple exercise like writing down what I was grateful for could be so life-changing. I was wrong.

I did that simple gratitude exercise every day and within one week, things had improved dramatically. I faced the same stresses in my job, but they didn’t have the same effect on me. They didn’t stress me out!

I was completely blown away. Not only was I not stressed, I felt really  good and I felt confident once again in my ability to do a good job. I was beginning to  enjoy my work and my life again. There were things at work I could not control, but they did not stress me out as they had done previously. Naturally, I continued doing my gratitude exercise for another while.

But, as with all good habits that we start and then stop because we get lazy, I soon forgot about my stress and stopped doing the daily exercise.

And you guessed it! My stress came back as bad as ever. But thankfully I knew what to do. I went right back to doing my daily gratitude exercise. And I reaped the benefits once again.

Making a mental gratitude list every morning, and a written gratitude list every night before you go to sleep, has the power to transform your life. It only takes a few minutes. It’s so simple and yet so  powerful. Never underestimate its power.

Be sure to keep a pen and paper beside your bed for writing your bedtime list or write it into the notes on your phone.

It doesn’t matter what method you use. The most important thing is that you make it easy for yourself so you will do it regularly. The easier you make it for yourself the more you are likely to do it. The more often you do it the more effective it becomes.

As Oprah Winfrey famously said: Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.

These five tips to reduce stress and increase confidence will only help if you do them regularly. Of course there are  many more ways you can reduce stress and build self-confidence.

But we all need to start somewhere and I believe if you follow these tips, you will notice a big difference in your life.

Be sure to check out Georgie Crawford’s podcast The Good Glow with Mel Robbins.

If you’ve never been hypnotised before and would love to discover how quickly and easily you can go into a deep state of hypnotic relaxation in the comfort of your own home, then download my FREE Hypnotic Relaxation Audio today.

The Importance of Self Confidence and Stress Management
The Importance of Self Confidence and Stress Management

Please feel free to leave a comment or follow me on social media and comment there. I’d love to hear how these tips work for you.

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