One Easy Way To De-Stress
The word stress can bring on a multitude of unpleasant feelings. Just the sound of the word can cause a wave of apprehension to wash over us. It can seem that no matter what we do, stress finds a way to insert itself into everyday life. Do you ever find yourself saying or thinking, “I’m so stressed out!” or “I’m overwhelmed - I need a break!” Have you noticed the effects these emotions have on your sex life?
A healthy sex (life-no matter what that looks like for you) can have wonderful effects on your well being. Research shows that sexual intimacy can support our immune systems, help us sleep, improve our self-esteem (and the way we feel about our partners), and get this…..reduce stress!
I hear what you’re thinking: I’m too stressed to get in the mood to have stress-relieving sex! I get it. I’ve been there. Stick with me for a minute.
It is way too easy (and probably really annoying) for me to suggest that you find a way to relax. It’d be like trying to convince you that eating healthy and getting a good night’s sleep is imperative for your health. You already know this. Duh. You also know it’s not always as simple as spending a day at the spa or committing to your weekly yoga class. Peacefulness starts within and although pampering ourselves does help, many times the effects are temporary. They’ll last only as long as the massage or the pedicure. Once that’s over, we find ourselves just as wound-up as we did in the first place.
So what can we do about this? Let’s start by understanding what is actually going on in the first place. You’ve probably heard of our “fight or flight” response. Stress is simply a biological response. It’s like a superpower we have that helps us to survive challenging circumstances. During the stress response cycle (I am way simplifying here), hormone levels are altered, brain wave patterns change, and your mind and body are on full alert. Stress is not just an abstract feeling, your mind and body exhibit measurable changes in how you think and function. Bottom line, your stress response is your friend. It decides whether the stressor is dangerous enough for us to run from (flight) or confront (fight). In other words, it keeps us alive.
Over the next few weeks we will look at ways that we currently let stress in as an ally and ways we can show stress out. Take the next few days to get familiar with what your stress response looks like. How? I’m glad you asked! Find a journal or use the notes app on your phone. When you catch yourself stressed out, make a note of these four things:
- How would you label this emotion?
- What triggered it?
- Where in your body do you feel it?
- If you had to rate it from 0-10 in level of intensity, what number would you give it?
Here is the most important factor: be nice to yourself. If identifying the trigger is difficult, let yourself be general. Specificity will come with practice. Be OK with what you’re feeling. There is no need to “fix” anything just yet. All you are doing at this point is taking accounts of what is really going on. Do this for a week and you’ll have some surprising insight into what is affecting your daily life.
I know, I know. This is supposed to be a blog about sex. I promise, we will get there. Reducing the level and frequency of stress in our lives is one of the greatest ways to improve our sex lives. Stress has been shown to reduce sexual desire in 80 - 90% of people. Stress also reduces sexual pleasure in all of us. So let’s get started. Start taking notes and we will move into step two next Tuesday.
Want to overcome stress in the company of women just like you? Join us at our next workshop or contact us today, for a free consultation.