Engaging in Meaningful Behaviors

There are so many aspects of learning to relax and cope with stress in life that I was really struggling with where to start.   I decided that the best place to start was in learning to engage in meaningful behaviors which create positive emotions.   The positive emotions that you create in your mind will help to stimulate the parasympathetic division of your nervous system and have health producing results.

To begin with you should take a moment to assess your current coping mechanisms or stress responses and brainstorm positive actions with which you could replace the negative ones.  You might want to take a moment to fill out this Self Identity Questionnaire.

It helps you to assess where you are in life,  your beliefs,  your goals and how you want to be perceived by others.   Next, fill out this worksheet on Coping with Stress

Incorporate positive  actions which are in keeping with your identity and goals as alternatives to your current coping mechanisms or unhealthy behaviors.  Try to make them specific and realistic.   Here are a few  examples from mine:

Replace morning coffee with nourishing infusion.

Rather than listening to the news, consequently getting angry about the current state of the world,  spend time in the morning reading positive reading material or writing a letter to a friend.

Instead of raising my voice with the children, belt out a silly song to get their attention.   This tends to get their attention and results in giggles;  rather than tears and frustration.

Stop  staying up and playing on the computer at night,  go to bed and cuddle with Steve.

When I find myself laying awake at night with a racing mind, use guiding imagery to help me sleep.

When this was done, I decided to make the following poster for my fridge to remind me of my desired actions and things that I can do which make me happy.

StressRelieversThat is a lot of work for one blog post.   If you have followed me this far, you should be feeling as though you have generated some positive alternatives for current behaviors which are adding to your stress load.  It takes a lot of practice to incorporate these new more meaningful behaviors.  You can work on one at a time until it becomes a habit,  but I think it is helpful to have planned which new strategy you  are going to employ in each situation.     Don’t be too hard on yourself if something doesn’t work the first few times and be open to changing something up if it isn’t feeling good to you.

Published by Stephany Riley Hoffelt

If you want to read more about me, it's on the website www.domestic-medicine.com

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