TIPS FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT
In today’s society more and more people are stressed because we often pile too much on our plates. Some of us can’t say no, some take on too many projects, and others may work multiple jobs. As a result our stress levels are up and often we don’t feel like we have enough time in the day. We have trouble sleeping, our mental & physical performance is reduced, and the body’s natural hormone production is negatively affected. However, the good news is we can take some steps in order to reduce some of our stressors. Below I will give you 5 tips that you can start using today to reduce stress in your life.
Meditation dates back to over 3,000 years ago, and today is used all around the world. Its primary purpose is to reduce our over active thoughts to a silence or a view positive affirmations. It allows us escape from the world wind of our thoughts, and focus on the present moment.
To get started, sit in a quiet place free of any distractions. Next, focus on inhaling to a count of 4, and exhaling to a count of 8. After a few breaths, allow your gaze to soften or completely shut your eyes. While still focusing on your breathing think of a few positive affirmations, such as Calm, Peace, Relax, etc. Do this for 10-15 minutes at a time for 1-3 times per day.
Join a gym (http://www.crossfitdga.com/) and get moving. You would be surprised at how much better you would feel. Or go outside and enjoy the sunshine; go for a walk, play with the kids or pets, or have a picnic. If you can’t go outside, clean and organize your house. Studies have shown a clean and organized house makes you more efficient and less stressed. In addition, you could go visit a family member you haven’t seen in a while, or volunteer with an organization that is doing something to help people that are less fortunate than yourself. Often either one of these experiences is very humbling.
LEARN TO SAY NO
We often are stressed because we say yes to things that take away our time. Usually, it is things we really don’t want to do in the first place. Once that time is spent, it is something that you can’t get back. Therefore, to reduce your stress say “no” more than you say “yes”. And if you choose to say “yes” to something you want to do, say “heck yes” because you really want to do it!
Getting muscles to relax improves blood flow and reduces tension caused by stress. One way to achieve this is through progressive muscle relaxation, in which you identify areas of muscle tightness and relax them. This is done by going through each muscle group of the body, contracting it as hard as possible, and then releasing the tension on it. Another muscle relaxation method could be as simple as taking a warm bath. The heat from the bath will relax the muscles over time. Finally, you could get a massage to reduce muscle tension. Although this could be more expensive than the first 2 options, it could possibly be the most effective if you are unable to get relief otherwise.
Here is a progressive muscle relaxation technique used by Eric every Wednesday: http://media.dartmouth.edu/~healthed/p_muscle_relax.mp3
This one is similar to meditation, but a little simpler. Take a few mins and just focus on your breathe. Often times whenever we get stressed we breathe in through our chest, and not our diaphragm. This causes us to use accessory muscles in our neck which creates tension. To do this, use the same 4 second inhalation and 8 second exhalation as above for 1 full minute. This is a very effective exercise that you can use any time you are feeling stressed, and it doesn’t require a lot of your time.