Irene

Six Simple Ways to Manage Stress

In job, kids, lifestyle, stress, Uncategorized, wellness on July 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Let’s face it.  Stress is a part of our lives, especially if we live in hectic urban areas or have taxing careers, either with or without the addition of family responsibilities, kids and pets.  

Sometimes it’s a good thing, helping us rise to a challenge, such as taking an exam or getting ready for a big dance—but we’re talking about the harmful stress, the drawn-out kind caused by events like career problems, moving, job change, death of a loved one, etc.  This kind makes us more susceptible to colds and cause us to have migraines, sleepless nights, neck and shoulder pain and more.

Over 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress, but here are some simple strategies to help you manage it

1. Take several very short breaks during the day for some “Me Time.” It might feel a little strange to you at first, but in the long-term you’ll be able to focus much better, and that means getting more done in less time.  The final result?  You’ll get to spend more time with your family and kids!

Last week I read something wonderful from Deepak Chopra.  He suggested setting your alarm a few times a day.  When it goes off, concentrate on how you’re feeling at the moment and ask “what do I need?”  Then take some action, however small, to meet that need.  It may be something as simple as getting up from your desk, stretching or taking a few deep breaths.

2.  Speaking of breathing, we tend to take quick, shallow breaths when stressed.  Sometimes a few deep ones will calm you right down.  There are several techniques, but mine is the 4-7-8 technique from Andrew Weil, MD.  Here’s how he says to do it:  Inhale for the count of 4; hold breath for the count of 7; exhale for the count of 8.

3. Take a little time each day for recreation!  Last summer, I experienced what was probably the most intense stress I’d ever feel.  We’re talking heart-racing, soul-crushing, makes-you-feel-like-someone-pulled-your-beating-heart-out-of-your-chest worry. It was constantly on my mind and that was causing even more stress, since it was interfering with my work and I was, frankly, becoming more and more annoyed with this.

I love the water—and New York City’s Hudson River Park is one of my favorite places on the planet.  So, I realized I wasn’t all that productive anyway, turned off my computer and then went over there for a half hour walk along the water. I got an added benefit—I also love animals and stopped by the park’s “puppy pool” and had a good laugh watching a Great Dane try to get into the little pool.

So here’s the point—whatever you love to do, make sure you take a little bit of time out of your day or evening to do it.

4.  De-clutter your home.  First, it will make you feel a lot better just by “feathering your nest” and creating a nicer environment.  But think about it:  How much time do you waste every day looking through that stack of papers?  That could be time you spend on something else—like de-stressing.

5. Practice gratitude.  Last New Year’s Eve, I took a challenge; the assignment was to find 100 things for which I was grateful in 2011.  Now, like many, I didn’t find it to be the greatest year, so I was absolutely shocked when I breezed through the first 75 items. The next 15 were a little more difficult, but I was still able to do it pretty quickly.  Ditto for the last 10.  The lesson?  If you re-frame your thinking, you’ll always find something for which to be grateful.

6. Reduce–or eliminate–sugar.  Study after study has linked sugar and stress and, according to the USDA, we now consume over 156 pounds of sugar per year on a per capita basis. Wow!  That’s 31 5-pound bags of sugar for each of us!  The solution is easy:  Cut down on sugar, eat a colorful array of fruits and vegetables (each color has a different set of phyonutrients), go for complex vs. simple carbohydrates, we’ll be a lot better off.

Want to know more about sugar?  Get a free download of my mini e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story.  All your need to do is opt-in on my “join my list” box on the home page of my website:  http://www.irenefross.com

 

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  1. Hi there, I read your blog like every week. Your writing style is awesome, keep it up!

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