Stress management is one thing that everyone faces on a daily basis and the techniques used for stress management are highly personal. The key to any successful stress management technique is that it will eradicate stress when is happens and as quickly as possible. It is nice to be able to step to one side and take a personal moment and gently dissolve any stress; however, when stress hits you suddenly and you cannot break away, you need an instant stress buster. This is where a symbolic stress management technique can work wonders; it does take time to create and to become habitual, but when it clicks, you may never fear stress again.
The choice of symbols is completely personal; you may choose old Celtic symbols, ancient Greek or Egyptian or something more modern. The choice does not matter other than it should be simple in design so that it can be recalled quickly and easily and, above all, it must fully and completely resonate within you and become the ultimate expression of relaxation. Stress busting is different for different people, the stress may be replaced with calm, peace or it may be more energetic such as determination and inner strength. We, therefore, first need to determine what the opposite of stress is to you; once you have this we then need to experience this ‘anti-stress’.
As an example, we need to set time aside to experience deep relaxation and inner peace. This may be through meditation, spiritual work or religious practice. It may be an occasional trip to a spar or a quiet bookshop; it does not matter as long as you experience the deep calm that will replace the stress. Ideally, though you will want to choose something you can do every day in a place where you will be undisturbed.
At the height of the feeling of calm and tranquility, you need to focus visually upon your chosen symbol. It may be a pendant, statuette, photograph and so on. Focus with all your desire upon this symbol as you experience your deep inner calm. This will need to be repeated again and again over days or even weeks. It takes twelve weeks to for a new habit, (please see this article) so if you can set time aside each day for twelve weeks to practice in this way then it will become habitual. Obviously, one cannot go to a spar everyday for twelve weeks, but you can set 10 minutes or so aside everyday to experience your peace. Of course, it may take less time but still sticking to twelve weeks of practice will benefit you greatly.
Eventually you will have an image that will represent to you that feeling of calm; in fact, it more than represents it, the feeling is embodied within the image, statue or whatever you have used. The practice would then involve recalling this icon when stress hits you. This can be done in a number of ways and again is highly personal.
For example, if the calm is embodied in a pendant, you can grasp it when you feel stressed and you will instantly recall the sense of calm. If it is an image, just close your eyes and visualize the image. The same can be done with a statue, if the statue cannot be physically present. Another great trick is to use a scent. In the previous practice, when you reach your state of calm, take a deep breath of a particular aroma. It may be lavender, coconut, rose or anything else that you wish to charge. Some people use sound and when the sound is heard they instantly feel better; some experience this feeling when they hear an electric kettle switch on and the water beginning to heat. Some will smell freshly brewed coffee and be transported to a place of calm and relaxation. These are all examples and you can literally let your imagination fly; just remember to keep it simple so that recall is easy.
Stress has no real power over us and can easily be replaced with any energy that we wish and given enough associative practice, you will come to develop a simple stress buster that you can use anywhere and at anytime.