Stress Stoppers

November 3, 2009

Stress Stoppers

(The first in a series of stress minimizing techniques.)

1.Lose the Red Cape!

Admit it, you’re not “Wonder Woman.”  The sooner you can accept this fact, the better off you’ll be.  As badly as you might want , you can’t do it “all” by yourself. Humble yourself and ask for help!  You may be surprised to learn how much assistance is available to you.

Tip: Start at home. Believe it or not, your husband may not realize the growing pile of dirty socks in the bedroom floor is adding to your stress.  Tell him, then ask  if he’d mind picking them up regularly.  (You’ll never know until you try!)  Likewise, your school age children are perfectly capable of performing small, yet time consuming chores such as feeding and watering the pets.  Make those things their “job”.  It will boost their self esteem, and you’ll have fewer things to tend to in the morning.

If all else fails, pay someone else to come in and clean your house.  If you can’t afford to pay someone, try  bartering for services with a friend or neighbor.

2. Keep a Journal.

Make a practice of writing your thoughts down.  This can be beneficial in a several ways.  Writing about your situation can help get problems off your chest without hurting anyone in the process. In other words, it’s a safe, effective way to vent!

Having your thoughts on paper can also help put them in perspective.  Things may not be as bad as they seem once you see them in black and white.

Writing your feelings out also allows you to spend a short time actually focusing on your problems and gives you the opportunity to close them up and “put them away” for a while.

Tip:  An expensive, decorative Journal is nice but not necessary.  An inexpensive notebook purchased at the dollar store works just as well.  Keep one in your purse, or desk for easy access just in case you feel a “vent” coming on in the middle of the day!

3. An Apple A Day… Is Not Enough!

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Have you noticed when you start the day off with a do-nut, you feel hungry again just a short time later?  Making poor food choices in the morning also makes it more difficult to make good choices throughout the rest of the day.

When you’re under stress, your body produces cortisol which actually causes you to crave foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. This only adds to the problem. Resist the urge to gobble down sugary foods and caffeinated beverages on your way out the door.

Tip: If you tend to be in a rush in the mornings, it will help to keep some hard boiled eggs and orange juice in the fridge.  Reach for those for a healthy quick breakfast instead of sugary snacks and caffeine.  Eggs are rich in protein, and orange juice will give your blood sugar the lasting boost it needs to get through the first part of the day .

4. Laugh It Off!

Anyone can laugh. It doesn’t cost a dime and has absolutely no negative side effects! Studies have shown that laughing decreases the hormones that cause changes in the blood vessels responsible for elevation in blood pressure. The stress hormone,cortisol is also responsible for lowering levels of immunity. Laughing decreases your stress hormone levels and therefore increases your resistance to disease!

You may be surprised to learn that laughing works even when there’s nothing particularly amusing going on.  Throwing your head back and “faking” a good belly laugh will have the same physical effect as laughter that’s been induced by something humorous.

Tip: Do an internet search for some funny videos or jokes and keep them handy for quick reference whenever you realize you could us a good laugh. If nothing else, fake it for the same effect!

5.  Good Night, Sleep Tight!

Sleeping is not negotiable. You must have it!

When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of the stress hormone,cortisol. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes.

You get the picture, don’t you? Sleep is imperative to your overall emotional and physical health.  Stress may cause you not to sleep, and not sleeping increases your stress level!  Break the cycle by making it a point to get the rest you need.

Tip: Create a relaxing bedtime routine.  Take a warm bath. Listen to soothing music. Write in your journal.  Pray. Meditate. Do whatever makes you relax so you can fall asleep.

Avoid heavy meals,caffeinated beverages and exercise during the hours just before bedtime.  All these things can interfere with sleep.

Until next time!

Becky J. Taylor

Bold New Day! Life/Success Coaching for Women



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