examine and use, and the first step in understanding that data is becoming mindful of our stress and its impact upon us, says Kathryn Hall, founder of The Stress Institute in Atlanta.
While the subtleties may vary in stress management sources’ tips on how to
manage stress, there are a number of constants. The following covers some of the
universal ground, and a few wild cards.
1. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it.
Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and
operate in your daily life. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up.
Be willing to compromise but be more assertive. Manage your time better. (Helpguide.org)
2. If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself.
Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a
more positive perspective. Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the
stressful situation. Focus on the positive; this simple strategy can help you
keep things in perspective. (Helpguide.org)
3. Take a break from a stressor.
It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby, or a growing
credit card bill, but when you give yourself permission to step away from it you
can gain a new perspective and feel less overwhelmed. It’s important to not
avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), but even 20 minutes of
self-care is helpful. (American Psychological
4. Breathing is the foundation to de-stress and heal.
Our normal shallow breathing starves the body and
brain of oxygen, which affects the immune and cardiopulmonary systems. Develop
the practice of taking several deep diaphragmatic breaths in a tense moment; it
clears the mind, body, and soul. (The Stress
5. Scientific research supports the practice that
quieting the mind, body, and soul offers great health benefits.
Find a quiet place, get comfortable, focus on a one- to five-word phrase you fancy and
repeat it over and over. Take deep diaphragmatic breaths, in and out, in and
out. You may want to set a timer in the beginning for 10 minutes so you won’t
worry about time. The practice sends healing hormones into your body for
relaxation and health. (The Stress
6. Be aware of your unhealthy coping methods to dealing with stress.
Turning to food, alcohol or drugs often just turns
one set of problems into another that can balloon out of control. It’s better to
avoid those unhealthy coping mechanisms from the start, and find good ways to
keep your stress under control. (Psych Central)
7. The practice of journaling has health benefits.
Journaling reduces stress by removing the worry and thoughts racing
over and over in your mind. You move these worries, concerns, hopes or dreams
out of your body onto the paper. (The Stress Institute)
8. Affirmations can affect our health. Research indicates
every thought and emotion creates a chemical release into our bodies, which
affect our mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being. Negative
self-talk can be damaging; giving positive messages wards this damage off. (The Stress Institute)
9. Friendships are strong indicators of mental, physical and
spiritual health. Friendship is not a luxury, but is essential to
work-life balance and your health. Studies show that isolation decreases immune
functioning and increases mortality risk. (The Stress
10. Exercise regularly, sleep, and eat a healthy diet.
Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the
effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times
per week. Aerobic exercise does wonders for releasing pent-up stress and
tension. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start
your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with
balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Reduce caffeine and sugar. Get
enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling
tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
11. Heighten your awareness of the moment by
focusing intently on an object. Notice a pencil’s shape, color, weight
and feel. Or slowly savor a raisin or a piece of chocolate. Mindfulness leads to
relaxation. Realize that managing stress is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Everyone is different, and reacts to stress differently. (Multiple Sources)
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