Internally, we all respond to stress the same: blood pressure rises, the heart pumps faster, and muscles constrict. When stressed, our bodies work hard and drain our immune system. Externally, however, people tend to respond to stress in three different ways: some become angry and agitated, others space out or withdraw, and still others freeze up.
I tend to have an overexcited stress response – I tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress. The two reactions I have that I hate are;
Becoming loud and acting the comedian.
Getting really snappy and irritable with others
I respond best to stress relief activities that quiet me down. Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body. It's good - but it takes time.
I like using my senses. Focusing on taste. I often joke about chocolate stopping me from serving a prison sentence because I let it melt the bitterness away. I do find that it helps. Sipping a good cup of tea. Dipping a biscuit, the smell and taste - not so great for the figure!
I'm learning that walking the dog can help if I'm only mildly stressed.
Then there's music. When the children were little I use to sing or hum a favourite hymn or listen to uplifting music.
But what I really like is being wrapped up in my favourite warm blanket. Being warm and cocooned. I find that once I'm calm and I'm listening to my heart beat I get my best writing ideas. That magical dreaming time when a little seed of a idea is allowed to grow. Your character comes to life, your mind drifts and the plot develops. So why feel guilty about a bit of down time?