Depending how you spent the last weeks, you’re either relieved or sad that the holiday season is almost over. In only two days are new year will start and with it, for most of us also the promise of change: more creativity, more sports, more time together, less stress and less worrying.

Regarding the reduction of stress, fellow blogger Sandra from Always Well Within can help. She writes about finding greater happiness and freedom and has created an amazing e-course: Living with Ease: 21 Days to Less Stress. The course starts on the 6th of January and to introduce Sandra to you, I’ve interviewed her:

What is your preferred and go-to tool/way to reduce stress?

There are so many wonderful tools to reduce stress and bring about the relaxation response that it’s hard to pick one!  In fact, I recommend creating your own tool kit of pre-selected techniques – the ones most suited to you – so you can choose one that is most appropriate for the situation at hand. Also, every tool does not work equally well for every individual.  So it’s important to try a few and not to give up if the first one doesn’t work for you.

You also don’t want to have too many techniques in your toolkit.  You might end up feeling overwhelmed and not be able to choose in the moment.  But, since our moods and circumstances vary considerable, it’s beneficial to have more than one.  Then, you’ll feel confident about your ability to dial down the stress response in almost any situation.

I thoroughly enjoy and often use the “body scan” technique, which brings you back into your body and often imparts a deep feeling of relaxation.  I especially enjoy doing a body scan first thing in the morning or when I go to sleep at night.  In that way, it serves as a preventative measure, already building in a certain degree of relaxation into my body.

Learning to be mindful in the present moment underlies the main stress techniques I use and share with others.  Some of our stress is triggered by external events, but we’re still in charge of how we respond to it.  At the same time, a good amount of our stress is self-generated through anxious thoughts about the future or ruminating about past events.

Learning to simply be present here and now is a powerful way to cut through stress.  In fact, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and to also have a positive effect on a whole range of illnesses.  Mindfulness is inexpensive and always there, so why not give it a try?

What was the starting point for your voyage to living with ease? Or did you always had this “mindset”?

I didn’t have this mindset at all for most of my life!  I was fearful as a child, which already started to embed a heightened stress response in my brain.  As an adult, I was subject to trauma, which is another factor that can contribute to chronic stress activation.  I also overworked a ridiculous amount.  Stress became my way of life.

Even after my body broke down, I was intent on finding medical solutions.  I never realized the powerful imprint constant stress makes on our being.  Once I learned about the simple biochemistry of the stress response, I understood how harmful stress can truly be.  That inspired me to learn and use the stress reduction techniques that I now share with others.

Chronic stress can kill your joy, your health, and your relationships. It’s just not worth it when you can find ease through simple and relaxing stress reduction techniques.

To be continued tomorrow …

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post and want to receive updates, please sign up to my blog by e-mail (top of sidebar) as I will switch to a self hosted blog early 2014.