Reducing Stress

Are you stressed? Of course you are. Shedding the constant pressure and stress that play such a large part in our lives is a critical skill in today’s world. If you want to be successful, you must learn how to handle stress.

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Check yourself to see if you are using any of these stress control methods.

Use breathing techniques. The next time you feel stressed, take a moment and breathe deeply. Stress and emotional discomfort normally produce shallow breathing, which inhibits your ability to think clearly. Scan your body to determine how and where you may be holding in tension; then concentrate on letting it go.

Choose to rest, relax and rejuvenate your body every day. You only get one body and you can wear it out pretty quickly. I know–you already know this. But you must make time in your day for just a little exercise. Get to a gym, take a walk or get on a bicycle. Without the stress reliever of exercise, your body will soon break down.

Think of it all as small stuff. When you look back on an incident that happened several years ago, is it now in proportion? It really wasn’t that bad, was it? Was it worth getting as upset as you did about it? No, of course not. So why can’t you force yourself to look at difficult situations that way all the time? Try it. If a situation is really important, spend the energy necessary to deal with it, but otherwise, let it go.

Get enough sleep. I know this is critical to my stress management. I am one of those people who needs about eight and a half hours of sleep to feel good. When I don’t, I find myself becoming stressed more easily. Just as you need to make time to exercise, make time for sleep. Otherwise your body will be slowly breaking down until it forces you to take a break by becoming ill.

Use your mental powers. As soon as you realize that you are in a potentially stressful situation and feel yourself starting to go into your automatic stress reaction, stop. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Just how critical is the fact that I am caught in this traffic jam?” Consciously turn your thoughts to something less stressful.

Another time to use your mental powers is when you are at work, feeling pressured because you have so much to do. That will just cause you more stress. Stop multitasking for a few minutes and instead concentrate and focus only on the task at hand.

This is where I find a “to do” list helpful. I know that when I finish the current task, my list will lead me onto the next and not let me forget anything.

Take a break. Often. Research shows that after each break, you’ll have a sharp retention and productivity spike. Sit in a different chair. Do some stretches. Take a mental vacation to that picture of a beach you have on the wall or screensaver. Try not to interrupt co-workers during your break, however.

How about you? Are you using any of these stress reduction techniques? Try one or two of these techniques and see if they will work for you.
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