Monday, November 16, 2015

Put Stress in it's Place

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), the most common sources of stress during the last 2 months of the year are money concerns & chaotic sched-ules. Women, you might relate more than men—not implying that we all can’t benefit from a little stress relief.

In addition to reporting higher levels of stress, another study found that women are more likely to take on a greater workload: cooking for family, buying last minute gifts, organizing a get-together and cleaning (sigh, my judgmental mother is coming for a week…).

What is stress? 

Stress is your body’s way of responding to a demand. This isn’t always bad; we feel stress when we travel to a new place, fall in love, make a big change or start something new. But in all of these the payoff to the stressful situation is often a wonderful experience. High risk = high reward. 

Sometimes stress gets the best of us - deadlines at work, a spouse or a child who is sick, arguments with friends - and the feeling can be overwhelming. 

Picture found on yogawithamey.com
Put stress in it’s place 
First your heart starts racing, and then before you know it your sweaty palms are making it impossi-ble to get the lid off of the antacid you need to calm your upset stomach. Stress is making it’s grand entrance, and you need to get it under control. 

The stress of the holidays is not about the holidays - it’s about YOU. David Levingston, LMFT has been quoted as saying "Stress and distress are often related to worrying about the future or fret-ting about the past." Live in the here and now; enjoy the moment and stress will melt away. 

Give gifts that matter.
Will it stress you out more if I tell you that approximately 49 million people get gifts they don’t enjoy? It shouldn’t. By approaching gift giving with the intended in mind you are pleasing 2 people - giver & receiver. Would a cup of coffee together mean more to them than a $20 tumbler? If the answer is yes, offer up an IOU coupon - or better yet, schedule the date in advance. 

Skeptical about this approach? When was the last time you dismissed a gift you enjoyed be-cause it didn’t cost enough? Compare that with how many times you’ve opened a gift from a chronic bad-gift-giver and stressed over masking your knee-jerk response.

Laugh out loud, and often 
Laughing just makes you feel good! It also relaxes your entire body - relieving physical tension and stress for up to 45 minutes. It’s also releases endorphins...the body’s natural "feel good" chemical. 


Get active 
Walking, jogging, biking...anything that gets you active will dis-tract you from whatever is on your mind, or allow you to relieve any tension and release any pent up energy. When you find yourself stressing out about an impromptu party, take a deep breath and walk around a little bit. 

Try yoga. 
Yoga has been used as a mind-body balance technique for thousands of years. Yoga uses physical and mental focus to help you relax and manage stress. It can be done on your own or in group setting. Even as little as 5 minutes can help you get centered and re-focused. Just be sure to visit a studio or talk with a certified Yoga instructor if you have not done yoga before.

Meditate
If you aren’t a yogi-at-heart try meditation. Focusing on certain breathing patterns can help you take your mind off the freight train of thoughts running through your head or keep you from losing your cool in the grocery store line. There are techniques for full relaxation (in as little as 5 minutes) and techniques to keep you calm in the moment. 


Try this if you need a quick reliever: 
Inhale for 4 counts, hold 7 counts, exhale 8 counts. 
All breathing should be done through the nose. 

Other effective techniques can be found here

Rest up 
Your body and your brain both need sleep to recharge. "You need your beauty sleep" isn’t a wives tale. Averaging 7-8 hours a night can improve your mood and boost your energy level.

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