Managing Stress

Submitted by Miss Danielle on Mon, 05/21/2007 - 7:14pm.

Stress has been linked to everything from arthritis, to sinusitis, to digestive illness. Most of us know by now that there are two "brains" in our body: one in our head, and one in our gut. Both of these need to be soothed in order to get well and prevent further harm to our body.

Here are some techniques to relieve or prevent stress.

1) Learn to plan ahead:

Organize your life. Be sure to plan out what you need to do and allow yourself time to get it done. Don't overschedule your days, and try to do what you can in advance to prepare for an event or deadline.

2) Listen to music:

It has been proven in studies that music can change one's mood and lower stress levels. Whether it's instrumental music, a favourite jazz album, or even nature-based recordings, sit down, close your eyes and focus on the music.

3) Remind yourself of accomplishments:

Positive thinking is a powerful tool in fighting stress. Sit down and make a list of everything you've accomplished in your life.

4) Learn to play:

Take some time out for some fun. Goof around with your kids. Use body paint in the shower (or the bedroom :) ). Start a snowball the house. Leave notes all over the house for someone you love. Camp out in the livingroom with friends or loved ones, watching movies, sharing stories and just being silly. Whatever tickles your fancy. Just PLAY.

5) Don't take on too much:

Say no. No I can't do that for you. No I don't have the time to be involved. No I want to stay in tonight.

6) Read a novel:

Don't just read it, get lost in it. Put down the darn book about another diet, and pick up something totally unrelated.

7) Be a positive person:

Try not to be so critical of other people. This causes you more stress.

8) Be a positive thinker:

Sometimes if we can't alter our environment, the best thing to do is to change our perception of it. Look for the positive in the situation.

9) Exercise:

Walk. Run. Skip. Frolic. I don't care what it is, just get moving.

10) Avoid unnecessary competition:

Whether it's at work or home, forget what the other guy is doing. Focus on yourself.

11) Write it down:

Keep a journal. Write about your life, your illness, and any thoughts you have. Get it out onto paper.

12) Get a network of friends:

If you've lost touch with people, give them a call. If that isn't an option, join a club of some sort. There are many free organizations you can become a part of where you will meet new people.

13) Sleep:

The average person needs between 7-9 hours of sleep. And remember, every hour you get before midnight is worth 4 more than the hours after midnight.

14) Ask for help:

Reach out to people around you. If you have too much to do, ask others to pitch in. Ask them to listen, if that's what you need.

15) Breathe:

Sit down and take slow breaths in and out, focussing only on your breathing. A dear friend of mine gave me a simple mantra (that I often change from time to time to suit my needs). Close your eyes. Take in a long slow breathe and think/say "Breathing in I clear my mind" and as you do a slow exhale, think/say "Breathing out I cleanse my soul". It sounds corny, but try it at least 10 times in a row (or as long as you need to). You might be surprised how well this works to focus you and help you relax.

16) Do Yoga or practice Tai Chi:

These all focus on the body, helping you to relax and balance energy. Yoga and Tai Chi are great for stretching as well.

17) Meditate or Pray:

Block out your surroundings. Try positive mantras. Pray. Focus on your spirit.

18) Let yourself be angry:

Sometimes we are stressed because we deny that we are even upset. Address the anger and release it. It will stay with you until you do.

19) Scream:

If you live in a house or out in the country, scream your face off. Scream until you can't anymore. If you are afraid your neighbours will hear, hold a pillow over your face and let loose.

20) Identify triggers:

Sometimes we don't even know why we are stressed. Whenever you feel panicked or on edge, take note of what happened that day or what you were thinking about. Write it down. For each one you discover, try to come up with another list of possible solutions or ways to avoid it.

21) Aromatherapy:

Studies have proven that aromatherapy has calming affects on people even in the most stressful situations. This was proven in a study printed in the 1998 edition of "Palliative Medicine" where patients, most of whom were women with breast cancer undergoing radical cancer treatments, had lower levels of stress after aromatherapy compared to those who were without aromatherapy. The two most common stress relief scents are lavendar and citrus.

22) Massage Therapy:

Get the kinks worked out.

23) Check your Vitamin B levels:

If they are low, you are more prone to stress. A blood test will answer this question. You can take a supplement to up the level. My B 12 was dangerously low. My system couldn't absorb the vitamins in food or from the pills so I had to start getting injections.

24) Drink Chamomile Tea:

It's said to soothe your nerves (though some people have allergic reactions to it).

25)Throw eggs:

This is my favourite on the list. I plan on trying it on a really bad day. Line your bathtub with garbage bags. Buy a dozen cheap eggs (2 dozen is said to work better) and just send them sailing. If you have a compost, use that instead. This is a good technique over hitting something, because you could hurt yourself.