Five Simple Tips to Reduce Stress

The adrenalin rush that results from stress is a great gift if you need to escape physical danger, like a hungry lion.  It’s not so great if you are dealing with a long-term problem like being a solo caretaker, working through a bad relationship or facing a difficult job situation. Long-term biological stress response can take a negative toll on your body.  According to eHealthMd.com, here are some of the biological responses you experience from stress:

  • Your heart speeds up
  • Blood flow to your brain and muscles increases up to 400 percent
  • Your digestion stops (so it doesn’t use up energy that’s needed elsewhere)
  • Your muscle tension increases
  • You breathe faster, to bring more oxygen to your muscles

So, what can you do to help reduce stress?  Here are five simple tips to help ease your mind and body:

  • Move it. Any kind of physical activity helps reduce stress.  Walk, stretch, garden.  Move your body in whatever way appeals to you. If you can find 15 minutes anywhere in your day, give it a try.  Many studies show that even 15 minutes of daily exercise can extend your lifespan and can improve health overall.
  • Breathe. Remember your breath.  Breath has a heart connection that enables relaxation.  Try focusing on deep breathing when you feel stressed out, even if it is only for 30 seconds at a time. Try this “heart coherence” breathing exercise from stress expert Wendy Duncan  as reported in an Entrepreneur article by Lisa Girard:

Place your hand over your heart, and then imagine your breath flowing through your heart. Take four counts to breathe in, and another four counts to breathe out. As you do so, imagine feelings of love, joy or compassion radiating out of you like beams of light.  Repeat several times.

  • Connect with others: Reach out and spend time with people you enjoy. Join a group, adopt a pet, do volunteer work, talk on the phone, meet for coffee. Have a laugh and enjoy some companionship – it’s good for the soul.
  • Confront stressful situations head-on. Figure out exactly what is troubling you, then brainstorm solutions with a smart and trusted friend, a behavioral therapist, a coach, or find a great book to help you work through it.  My experience is that even taking a TINY step toward resolving an underlying cause of stress will help you to feel more in control.  Whatever action you take, whether it’s learning time management, or updating your resume, taking any action, however small, can help you feel better.
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy a little self-care. Do something that relaxes you even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes a day. Take a recharge break: Listen to music you enjoy, read a magazine, practice your golf swing, strum a guitar, call a good friend, savor a cup of tea, take a walk, or dance around your house. You don’t have to be good at what you do; it just has to feel good.

Whatever you do, take time to de-stress, you not only deserve it, you need it!

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Date: Saturday, 20. August 2011 2:55
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