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25 Things You Can Do To Deal With Stress
Believe it or not, some stress can be good for you! There are two kinds of stress: good stress and bad stress. Good stress is any stress which is positive and motivating, but not a threat to your existence. Think about the birth of your first child, buying your first home, a new car or even winning the lottery! Bad stress, or distress, is negative and anger or fear motivated. Sometimes too much ‘good stress’ can quickly turn into distress if it goes beyond our threshold of tolerance. For example, a job promotion can be considered good stress, but if the work-related responsibilities associated with it are too taxing, then it can become distress. The following strategies can help deal with stress, and are easy to implement.
(1) The importance of private time.
Something as simple as soaking in the tub can renew your mind and body. For added relaxation, turn down the lights and play some soft music. Some individuals prefer to spend time with friends, while others prefer some time alone as a form of stress release.
(2) Learn relaxation techniques.
Read a book on relaxation techniques, or take a meditation or yoga class. Here’s a simple technique you can try at home. Find 15 minutes without distractions to meditate, visualize, etc. Sit in a comfortable chair, feet on the floor, arms at your sides. Breathe in deeply, through your nose. Then slowly release the air through your mouth and repeat an affirmation like “Relax… Relax… Relax”. Continue breathing in and out, focusing on your word or phrase for the 15 minutes.
(3) Schedule “worry sessions”.
Set aside a specific 15 minutes each day when you’ll concentrate on everything that’s bothering you. When worries enter your mind during the day, set them aside for your “worry session”. Then picture yourself conquering a particular challenge. It’s not easy, but it’s simple and it works.
(4) Keep a journal.
New studies suggest that people who are able to write about their innermost feelings may enjoy better mental and physical health. Writing is also a powerful tool that helps you organize your thoughts and make life a little bit easier.
(5) Scents and sensibility.
When you need an energy boost, take a whiff of peppermint oil or even your favorite perfume. Studies suggest certain scents can promote alertness.
(6) Power naps.
15-20 minutes during the afternoon, if you can find the time, can be very energizing and rejuvenating. However, more than 20 minutes and you might wake up feeling more tired than you were to begin with.
(7) Reduce your workload and delegate as much as possible.
On your weekly calendar, eliminate the least important tasks and activities. Delegate household chores. Have your family members help you with the grocery shopping. Even if things are not done the way you would prefer, it’s important for everyone to pitch in so you don’t have to bear all the burdens.
(8) Reward yourself.
Engage in a just-for-you activity every single day, provided you accomplished something you set out to do for that day. For example, if you finish paying your bills, then rent a movie, read, do some gardening, etc. You’ll not only boost your self-esteem, you’ll also enjoy the well-deserved feelings of relaxation.
(9) Smiling – the easiest and best way to relieve stress!
Some smiling pointers: Do something that makes you smile. We are constantly doing things to get something. It’s easy to get caught up in doing something for somebody/thing else. Take the time, even if for a few minutes, to do something you genuinely enjoy. Project what you want to get. Smile at others, you get a smile back. Everyone loves giving and receiving smiles!
Laughter really is good medicine. Laughing raises your heart rate, stimulates circulation, exercises your diaphragm, abs, and other muscles, and increases production of certain ‘feel good’ hormones. You can watch funny tv shows, join a laughter club or spend more time with friends who have a good sense of humor. You can also subscribe to some funny online newsletters.
(11) The power of tears.
Studies show that the tears you produce when you’re anxious, upset, sad, or angry contain stress-relieving hormones.
(12) Forgive and forget.
Do you carry a grudge? This can be very emotionally depleting. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for another individual or circumstance. Forgiving actually takes you out of the role of victim, protecting you and helping you to overcome any anger or frustration.
(13) Get a massage.
Various massage techniques reduce stress, loosen tight muscles, and increase energy. Massage also helps release endorphins (“feel good” chemicals released by the brain), triggering relaxation.
(14) Stress and food choices.
Stress and boredom generally lead to unhealthy eating, and consequently weight gain. To make it worse, escalating fatigue is accompanied by lower energy levels and higher stress levels.
Here is a closer look at nutrients that combat anxiety, depression, and stress. Try incorporating these nutrients into your diet-
o Vitamin B1
Oatmeal, peanuts, lean pork, most veggies, bran, milk.
o Vitamin B6
Wheat germ, soybeans, cantaloupe, cabbage, eggs, oats, peanuts, walnuts.
o Pantothenic Acid
Meat, whole grains, wheat germ, green veggies, nuts, chicken.
o Vitamin C
Citrus fruits, berries, green leafy veggies, tomatoes, cauliflower, peppers, potatoes.
o Vitamin B12
Beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese.
Green leafy veggies, wheat germ, egg yolks
o Vitamin E
Wheat germ, soybeans, vegetable oils, nuts, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, eggs, whole grain.
o Folic Acid
Deep green leafy veggies, carrots, egg yolk, cantaloupe, apricots, pumpkin, avocados, beans, whole & dark rye flour.
Meat, seafood, wheat germ, eggs, nonfat dry milk.
Figs, almonds, nuts, seeds, dark green veggies, bananas.
Whole grain, nuts, green leafy veggies, peas, beets.
Lean meat, wheat germ, fish, eggs, peanuts, white meat poultry, avocados.
Milk and milk products, soybeans, sardines, salmon, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried beans, kale, broccoli, collard greens.
It is important not only to eat healthy, but to eat all your meals (no skipping any meal).
Spreading your calories out over 4-6 balanced meals a day gives you the carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals required to keep your energy high by keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
(15) Eat a “good mood” breakfast.
Combine a high-protein food, such as cottage cheese, with a fiber-rich carbohydrate, like strawberries. Protein not only boosts your brain production of dopamine and norepinephrine – chemicals that keep you alert – it also controls levels of relaxation inducing serotonin. The carbohydrates help you feel calm and focused.
(16) Lunch should be low fat
Broiled fish, skinless chicken, tuna, deli turkey or chicken with a teaspoon of low-fat mayo on whole-grain bread can give you energy for the afternoon.
(17) Make dinner your lightest meal.
If you have eaten a balanced, substantial lunch, you’ll feel surprisingly satisfied with a light dinner. Instead of a regular dinner plate, use a smaller plate and fill it up with a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fat
(18) Watch the caffeine.
A little caffeine is okay for a little boost. Too much and you’re making your adrenal glands work overtime. You’ll need more caffeine for the desired effect, and the crash when it wears off gets worse.
(19) Minimize sugars and starches.
The right amount of sugar is important for energy, but too much can lower your energy levels. In response to high sugar levels, the body releases insulin, which acts to quickly lower blood sugar. When it falls, you feel cranky, weak, and unable to concentrate. Stick with balanced snacks and meals to keep your blood sugars level.
(20) Increase aerobic exercise.
Along with cardiovascular health, aerobic exercise boosts production of endorphins. 25-30 minutes can significantly reduce stress and increase energy.
(21) The importance of deep breathing.
Deep breathing is an effective way to boost energy. Try this simple technique – Sit in a quiet place, feet flat on the floor, arms at your sides. Breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your diaphragm (your stomach should protrude if you’re doing it right). Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Do this for just 60 seconds.
(22) Reduce tension in the shoulders and neck.
Whenever you notice you’re tense around your neck area and shoulders, shrug your shoulders gently ten times. Touch your chin to your chest and hold for 2 seconds. Try to touch your left ear to your left shoulder (keep it relaxed – no reaching up!) and hold for 2 seconds. Repeat for the right ear/shoulder for 2 seconds. Repeat entire cycle if necessary.
(23) Take a break to stretch.
Alternating arms, reach upward, stretching toward the ceiling. Five times each side.
(24) The positive effect of exercise.
Exercise is a mood elevator. As you start to burn some fat and tighten some muscle, your energy levels will improve. Exercise increases the level of positive, “feel-good” hormones, known as endorphins. Feeling good improves perceptions and personality, which allows you to make better and more positive choices. Studies show time and again that people who work out are more optimistic, and better able to handle stress.
(25) The importance of sleep.
Often, the cause of stress can be attributed to lack of sleep. It plays a role in our day-to-day productivity at work, our social skills and sense of well being. Despite its importance, good refreshing sleep remains an unsolved mystery for some people. There are times when you can fall asleep without knowing it and others when you can’t sleep no matter how hard you try.
Increasingly, more and more individuals are sleep deprived or get poor sleep. Try and go to bed a little earlier and you will wake up happier, more contented and refreshed each morning.
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