We must be seriously stressed out to have a whole month dedicated to this problem in our society. I have to laugh because it made me very stressed thinking what I wanted to write. I am a stressful person and have been described as dramatic, dealing with stress is something that I battle with all the time. I wish I had the magic bullet for stress relief, but the bottom line is that some stress is good for our bodies, keeps us sharp and motivated. However, sustained stress over a period of time and lead to a multitude of problems that you would be better suited without; depression,headaches, anxiety, fatigue and other metabolic problems. We need to be pro-active with our mental and physical stress and get in balance.
So short of leaving your job, trading in your spouse for an improved version and giving away your kids, here are some tips that I have read about.
1.Deep Breathing- this breathing technique is from Dr. Raymond Weil, he demonstrated it on Dr. Oz and I thought it beneficial to pass along. It is supposed to completely calm the nervous system.
This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
2. Meditation- I have been trying to do this for a long time and the most successful way personally is to use guided meditations. I downloaded one from Depak Chopra from iTunes and have it on my music list. Put some headphones on and you are on your way to blissful relaxation.
3. Exercise- I know I wish it wasn’t on the list, but it does help a lot. Even squeeze in 10 minutes in your lunch break, or a couple loops around the neighborhood before dinner might just do the trick. Yoga is an excellent way to calm the body, if you can’t attend a class, get a DVD from the library or they have free sessions on demand with most cable providers. You know the rest, swim, bike, dance, walk, run, jog, Pilates, tennis, whatever makes you want to move.
4. Listen to music- putting on some really great music can be all it takes to put you in a better space. Update your music library and get some artists that inspire you.
5. Go on a media fast. Turn off all electronics and read a book that you have been meaning to get to.
6. Take up a hobby. Learning something new channels our brain to work in a different way. Maybe you want to learn to plant a garden, crochet, hip hop dance or sew. Find a class and get to it, putting energy into a new venture is always inspiring.
7. Play with your kids. Get on their level, and just be silly. I know that at times there are always a million things to do, but put all that aside and you may be surprised how much fun a tickle match can be.
8. Go out with some friends. Hanging out and having a good laugh is sometimes all it takes. Our lives get so busy that we never see our friends in person. Make a date and stick to it.
9. Prioritize your schedule and learn to say no. Do you really need to take your kids to three birthday parties this weekend? Try to select the things you want to do and make time for those.
10. My favorite advice that is from Bob Wiley from What about Bob?, is to take a vacation from your problems and use baby steps. He’s a genius and that movie cracks me up every time I see it, but he is absolutely right. Give yourself a break and do something that you love, or want to try. That might be all the stress relief you need.
One final thought is that my grandfather lived to 92 years old and drank and smoked like a fiend, but he was NEVER stressed. I asked him why, and his answer was that he just didn’t worry about anything- EVER. I think I missed that gene. So maybe if nothing on the above list works for you, try his approach. He might have been on to something.