Stress Management Classes

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Arriving home from work, you find the kids conducting a black mass in the living room, your husband dancing naked with the neighbour in the back garden and the dog eating your Heinz All-Day Breakfast. It is natural that you will feel stressed in this situation. However, you don’t have to be faced with such a life-crisis to feel the pressure.

Little things can get on top of us and make us feel like going on a murderous rampage through Stoneybatter. Being stuck in Parnell Square while the 16 bus takes over half an hour to change drivers would make Gandhi renounce his policy of peaceful protest. But there are ways of dealing with stress. You can try home remedies. Buying a stress squeezer or the Little Book of Calm and hurling it at the object of your distress can be hugely satisfying. However, it may be more effective and legal to check out a course in stress management.

As REM famously sang, everybody stresses. Stress is a natural part of our daily lives and we would have to live in a calming pink box not to encounter it all the time. However, it is the level of stress that is the key. If your level is off the scale and it is seriously making you crazy, then a part-time course can ease the pressure and you will be able to lead a more peaceful life.

Part-time courses in stress management concentrate on different things, such as mediation or relaxation techniques. However, they will all have the same goal – to alleviate stress and make your world a better place.

Learning to meditate doesn’t require you to become a master Yogi. Simple techniques such as concentrating on your breathing can put you in a more relaxed frame of mind. The first thing that you do when you start meditation is to sit in the correct posture, which is alert and aware, in a lotus-like position or even sitting on a chair. You then begin to focus on your breathing.

However, meditation practice isn’t a breathing exercise. You allow the breath to flow naturally and simply make yourself aware of it. The theory is that if we keep taking our awareness back to the breath – over and over again – then our mind gradually quiets down and we feel more at ease.

Other part-time courses can teach you practical stress-busting techniques. These include identifying the external and internal factors that are causing you problems. External factors comprise the things that cause you to feel stressed, while internal factors are the way you deal with stress. Once you recognise what is causing you to tear your boss’s hair out, then you can look at ways to deal with the situation.

If your stress stems from short-term problems, such as having to give a big presentation, then a positive thinking or imagery-based technique may be effective. However, if your stress is more long-term, then lifestyle and organisational changes may be appropriate. For example, things like poor sleep and nutrition can affect your ability to deal with situations.

If you live life in the Garden of Gethsemane rather that the Garden of Eden, then an evening course in stress management isn’t going to change things overnight. However, it will teach you coping techniques. So if you are currently strangling your cat while cutting off your hair, book yourself into the Rancho Relaxo of the mind pronto. . .

Frank Bolger

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