Recent Studies indicate that 54% of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their lives. No one is completely free of stress. Stress in a small dose can actually benefit us by keeping us motivated, focused, and alert when we need to be. However, when life’s demands exceed you ability to cope, stress becomes a threat to both your emotional and physical well-being. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge stressors early on and find way to control them, bringing the world back into balance.
10 tips for soothing stress
- Laugh it off
If it’s not death, serious illness, or injury, you can and will recover from it. Enjoy the challenge of the situation by keeping a sense of humor. Humor is life affirming. Laughter releases chemicals that keep us in balance and helps repair our bodies.
- Learn how to switch it off
Watch a funny movie or television program, go for a 20 minute walk, pet a dog, spend 10 minutes listening to relaxing or uplifting music, meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or get a spa treatment. Take at least 30 minutes to relax at the end of each day and avoid stimulants like caffeine.
- Eat well and exercise regularly
Proper nutrition and a balanced diet high in lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fresh fruits, and vegetables can help reduce stress by stabilizing blood sugar levels. While regular exercise is best, even a small burst of intense physical activity can help reduce anxiety by triggering the release of endorphin’s, the “feel good” chemical.
- Snooze stress-free
Inadequate sleep can make even daily challenges harder to cope with. Be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Learn how to say “no”
Learn how to effectively manage your time and under-schedule rather than over-schedule yourself. Protect you “you” time. Set your priorities and don’t feel guilty saying “no” when it’s appropriate.
- Cultivate relationships
Build a support network of friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors whom you can turn to when you’ve had a bad day or need someone to pick up the kids from school when you’re stuck in a meeting.
- Journal your thoughts
Write down the problem in your own words. Write down your fears and examine each one to see if it’s real or imagined. List all possible actions you can take. Decide on a course of action and commit to a rough timeline. For added accountability, confide in someone close to you and make a commitment to deal with the problem.
- Find your inner zen
Practice yoga, take a walk in nature, or learn breathing techniques to help calm your nervous system. Some relaxation techniques to explore are meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization, or simple get a stress relieving massage like the Spa’s MD Signature massage, which is specifically designed to help alleviate stress.
- Help others
Volunteer at your favorite non-profit organization and make a difference in someone else’s life. Focusing on someone else’s problems can help take your mind off your own, and in the process you might just find that your concerns are not as momentous as you’d thought.
- Live in the moment
Give up on perfection. Remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Some things will always be out of your control. Accept that, and just focus on making the choices that will lead you toward your goals.
There are many tools you can use to deal with stress. Recognize that change is a normal part of life and try to view that change as an opportunity. Then head over to the club for a good workout or a Spa treatment to help reduce the stress and put things back into perspective. If you need additional help addressing stress in your life, talk to your doctor. As you learn how to control stress, you’ll be happier about your health, your life, and yourself.
Originally from PRO Pulse November-December 2009