Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stress Reduction Tips

Everyone experiences stress at some level in their lives. In many ways, stress is a red flag to tell us that something is effecting us. These things are not always bad. That butterfly feeling you have before you run in a track meet, or speak in front of a crowd, is alerting every part of your body that something big is going to happen, and to be ready. The stress/anxiety you feel before meeting with your boss, tells your body it needs to be ready to think fast, impress, or maybe protect itself emotionally. For me lately, the stress has been related to my children, and it simply reminds me I need to keep my defenses up, and be ready to respond quickly to the issues they are bringing up. While stress isn't necessarily bad by itself, it can have a negative affect on us and those around us. Let me list a few:
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle tension and pain.
  • Sleep Problems.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Chest pain.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Weight problems, up or down.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Eating more or less.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Neglecting your responsibilities.
  • Increasing alcohol and drug use.
  • Nervous habits (nail biting, pacing).
  • Teeth grinding or jaw clenching.
  • Overdoing activities such as exercising or shopping.
  • Losing your temper.
  • Overreacting.
  • Moody and hypersensitive.
  • Restlessness and anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Anger and resentment.
  • Easily irritated .
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Apathy.

    So what can you do when you start to see some of these things surface in your life? Here is what I did this last week (I experienced almost every one of the above symptoms):

    • Took a long walk with my dog.
    • Listened to some great music - the actually make some cd's just to help reduce stress.
    • Did yard work.
    • Went to an Art Show.
    • Listened to the Wind in the Trees.
    • Went to the movies
    • Spent time talking with friends
    • Started a book
    • Exercised

    If a few of these sound like I was running away from the issues I was facing, you are right. But a short time focused on something else can free your mind up long enough to come back and deal with it from a fresh perspective. The goal is not to run away or avoid, but to give your self a short break before coming back and dealing with it. As you come up with your own list of stress relievers leave a comment of things you do. It could help me and others.

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