When we experience stress in a day to day context, we experience a physical reaction.
I'm not a big fan of just managing symptoms. Rather I'd get the route cause sorted. However, sometimes a quick solution is needed and besides, there are some things I can't really fit into a blog.
So what do we do when we are feeling nervous, stressed or uncomfortable and aren't in a position to sort out the root issue?
Basically, what we need to do is to take control of our bodies.
Let me run you through a quick experiment to demonstrate what you need to do.
Make your hand into a fist and grab a pen. Hold it like you would an iron bar.
Put your arm out in front of you with the back of your hand facing upwards.
Squeeze your fist really tightly. Tighter. Even tighter until it really hurts.
Focus on your hand. Really notice which bits hurt.
Now, keeping those painful bits in mind, deliberately and intentionally relax your hand, open the fingers and let the pen drop.
Now, do a similar thing with your stomach muscles. (No pen needed here).
Tighten your stomach muscles. Tighter. Even tighter until it really hurts.
Focus on your stomach muscles. Really notice which bits hurt.
Now, keeping those painful bits in mind deliberately and intentionally relax them.
In those two exercises, you have consciously tightened your muscles and consciously relaxed them.
When you get stressed, the pain you feel is your muscles tightening up unconsciously. However, you can still consciously relax them, using the same method.
Ultimately, all you need to do when feeling stressed is to take a moment, focus on where the pain is and which muscles are tightening. And relax them.
It will take a bit of practice to get there, so work up to it by tightening all the muscles around that area whilst breathing in gently and, with a nice relaxing exhale of breath, relax them.
Overtime, you can short cut straight to the relaxing phase.
Note that this works with ANY sort of pain, including back ache, head ache and so on. It won't remove it fully, but the vast majority of our pain is our anticipatory reaction, rather than the thing itself.
Give it a go, see what happens – and report back. Let me know how you get on.