DOC TALK—Ask the Shrink: How to Deal With Stress
Talia Fillipelli is a psychotherapist, certified holistic health coach and certified personal trainer. She has been featured on CBS News as a mental health expert and was voted one of NJ Family Magazine’s Top Kids Docs. Her practice— Starr Therapy —is located at 306 Washington Street, Suite 202, right here in Hoboken.
Q: How do I find time to deal with stress when I hardly have time to eat?
Time—the only commodity we can’t get more of. This means if you’re going to deal with stress, you need to re-purpose some of the time you already have. But before we do that, we need to redefine what it means to effectively manage stress.
My guess is some of you reading this are thinking, “I would love to manage my stress better. But who has time for weekly massages, yoga retreats, or a month off of work?!” If that sounds familiar to you, you’re looking at it all wrong!
The people who are best at managing their stress find easy ways to implement relaxing techniques into their life on a consistent basis. Keyword: CONSISTENT.
Keep it simple. If you can’t do something consistently, it’s not a good technique.
Now we need to scour your life for time—trust me, it’s there. I’m only asking for 2 minutes each day.
You probably haven’t thought much about the time each morning between when your eyes open and when your feet hit the floor. Maybe you’re wondering how the heck you can manage your stress in that tiny window.
Using a simple deep breathing exercise for 60 seconds twice a day is an easy way to keep your stress levels in check.
Diaphragmatic breathing, or more commonly called “belly breathing,” is a well-researched and effective method for coping with stress. Do this twice each day, before you get out of bed and before you go to sleep:
- Lie down. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
- Inhale through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand like a balloon, rather than your chest.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth (should take twice as long as inhalation).
- Repeat 8-10 times.
If you notice your chest going up and down, you’re not belly breathing. Be patient and keep breathing. You will know you made the shift when you see the hand on your belly going up and down while your chest remains flat.
Keep in mind that no matter what happens during your day, you (pretty much) always have control over how it begins and how it ends.
If you are experiencing overwhelming stress or panic attacks, or feel consistently irritable, your stressors may have gotten the best of you. Call us for a free phone consultation to hear about our goal-activating approach to therapy and say hello to a happier life.
Have a personal question you’d like answered? Email Talia at firstname.lastname@example.org.