Neil Warner

Neil Warner

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Taming the stress monkey!

What is Your Monkey up to today?

Stress has become a household word. I am not sure when that happened. It is written about, talked about in countless books, tapes and DVDs available, promising quick and lasting relief. Most of those gather dust on people’s bookshelves while their stressful life continues.

What Causes Stress?

Let us have a closer look. Where does stress originate? Where does it actually start? I can hear you say: it is caused by my boss, my spouse, my teenage children, living in the city, technology……STOP!

Stress is created in one place and one place only – and that is your mind. Your big toe can’t make you tense nor can your little finger make you tense. In your mind you create all your fears, worries, stressful ideas and thoughts. Even if you wanted to, you could not go to a shop and buy a jar full of fear.

Take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings. It is much easier to blame somebody else outside of you. This is not where the problem originates! You are creating your thoughts and feelings.

All of these feelings cannot be measured or weighed, they are intangible. Yet, they create very real, negative results in your body. They can cause high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, insomnia, tension headaches and migraines, just to name a few.

How to Manage Stress?

To free yourself from physical and mental problems you have to tame your mind. You have to take responsibility for your mind’s actions. This might be difficult at first. You are the only one who can control your mind! You are the boss.

In a lot of the yoga literature the mind has been compared to a monkey, hopping around on a tree or from tree to tree, constantly moving and playing tricks on us. The mind is very restless, unable to concentrate and focus on one thing for any length of time. It creates ideas of fear, anxiety and guilt which turn into feelings.

Our body responds to those feelings by tensing certain parts, cutting blood flow to one area and sending more to another one, pouring out stress hormones which then cause blood pressure to rise and lots of other nasty things. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

How to Tame Your Monkey

• First of all, be gentle with yourself. It takes tame to re-learn the art of relaxation. Don’t feel bad if your mind wanders off, gently bring it back.
• Choose a method of relaxation that suits your personality and lifestyle. It is not going to work for you to buy a lovely 1 hour relaxation CD if you can only spare 10 minutes a day.
• Some simple methods to use:
o Buy a guided relaxation CD that you really like and feel comfortable with. Play it as it is or download it onto your computer or ipod.
o Create a quiet environment without disruptions. Take the phone off the hood and turn off your mobile.
o Make sure you are comfortable, sit or lie down. Don’t fall asleep.
o Keep bringing your mind back to the relaxation, no matter how often it wanders off. Keep persevering. In the beginning that might be very difficult.
o Join a stress management or yoga class; it might be easier for you to be in a group environment.
o Get private coaching or sessions with someone you trust till you feel comfortable working on your own.
o Get your partner involved. Have a relaxation session together. You then will be able to support each other during the day if you notice that the other person is starting to get tense or stressed out.
o Teach your children how to relax – you will have a much more peaceful household. They will be able to use the techniques they learnt before their exams.
o As time goes on, you will feel calmer and more relaxed overall. It will take longer to “stress you out”. You will be more aware of your body and where you hold your tension. Celebrate those achievements.
o Take action! No results without doing something. Do yourself and your family a favor and start “Taming your Monkey” today.

You will find a lot more helpful information, resources, support and encouragement on the website:

Remember that even the longest journey starts with that single, very first step! I wish you good luck on your journey!

Connie from