A Dozen Proven Stress Busters
By Harriet Meyerson
ARE YOU STRESSED?
Is your stomach all tied up in knots? Do you have trouble concentrating or
remembering things? Do you have trouble falling asleep, or do you sleep
too much? We can all handle a certain amount of stress, but when we get
overloaded with stress, it lowers our ability to function.
Stress actually takes the joy out of life. It saps our energy. In its
extreme, stress can immobilize us. Stress also aggravates physical
illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, back pain,
and many others.
If you are stressed at home, it also affects your work. If you are
stressed at work, it affects your relationships with your family. You
aren't much fun to be with when you're all stressed out. Instead, you can
be grumpy, irritable, angry, impatient, distracted, jumpy, and impulsive.
This in turn makes other people tense and uncomfortable.
STRESS IS CAUSED BY FEAR
Stress is caused by the anxiety that comes from fear, and many of these
fears are caused by your unrealistic expectations. To alleviate the stress
you need to determine whether your expectations are creating peace of mind
or causing anxiety.
For example, if you expect life to be without problems, expect that
relatives will get along just because they're related, or expect that you
will be perfect in your own performance, you're being unrealistic, and
you're creating your own stress. Try having only one expectation - be
yourself, do the best you know how, and accept your limitations.
If you are still experiencing stress after you have evaluated and
changed your expectations, try these stress busters.
A DOZEN STRESS BUSTERS
1. Look for humor in the situation. Here's how to find the funny side
of your situation. You can pretend you are making a TV sitcom. You can
imagine difficult people as very small, wearing diapers, or clothing from
a different era. You can make them very skinny or very fat.
2. Create a safe haven in your mind by thinking of a place in your life
where you were happiest. Take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself in
that happy place. When you are ready to return to reality you will have
calmed down, and you will be able to think more rationally.
3. Choose a cassette tape of music that has a calming effect on you.
Keep it with you so you can use it at a moment's notice.
4. Start your day on a positive. Listen to motivational audio tapes
every morning. Read inspirational books, poems, and quotes.
5. Call a friend. Sometimes just getting things off your chest can
relieve your anxiety. It is also helpful to join a support group for
people with similar problems.
6. Focus on your major goal and do something to move it forward. You
will feel a sense of accomplishment, and your stressful situation will
occupy a smaller place in your life.
7. Do something that is fun. Having fun is how we recharge our battery.
If stress has drained our energy, it is important to schedule activities
that are fun for you so that you can recharge.
8. Spend time with nature. Take a walk in the park. Look at the trees
swaying in the breeze. Watch the squirrels chase each other from tree to
tree. Nature has its own way of putting things into perspective. Just by
realizing that there is an innate intelligence in all living things can
help you to let go and let nature do its part. If you are a religious
person, turning to God can help you be at peace with any situation.
9. Change what you can control in the situation and accept the rest.
For example, your stress may involve other people. You may have tried to
talk about the situation with the other people involved, but nothing has
changed. One thing you can control is how you respond to what others are
doing. Study your situation and change one aspect of your own response to
a more peaceful response.
10. Susan Jeffers, in her book, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, says
that you should ask yourself. "What is the worst thing that can
happen, and could you handle it?" Just knowing that you can handle
the worst possibility will lower your stress.
11. Take a class in meditation.
12. Do something physical. Either do some exercise, play a sport, or
clean out your closets, weed your garden, rake the leaves, wash the
windows, etc. When you do anything physical it reduces stress.
If none of the above works, get help from a professional who can give
you expert guidance.
YOU CAN CREATE PEACE OF MIND
In short, stress is created in your mind by your own fears. A more
peaceful mind will lead to a more peaceful perception of your situation
and result in less stress. By changing the way you think you can lower
your stress even if nothing else changes.
If you look at every stressful situation and ask yourself, "What
can I do that will create peace of mind instead of stress?" you will
start replacing the stress in your life with serenity and happiness.
About the author: Harriet Meyerson, president of The
Confidence Center, works with companies that want confident, loyal, and
happy employees, and with individuals who want the confidence they need
for success. Harriet is a member of the National Speakers Association and
the author of Fire Up Your Staff on a Shoestring Budget.
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