37 Stress Management Tips

Stress is a fact of life, but being stressed out is not. We don't

always have control over what happens to us, says Allen Elkin, Ph.D.,

director of the Stress Management Counseling Center in New York City, and

yet, that doesn't mean we have to react to a difficult, challenging

situation by becoming frazzled or feeling overwhelmed or distraught. Being

overly anxious is not just a mental hazard; it's a physical one too. The

more stressed out we are the more vulnerable we are to colds, flu, and

a host of chronic or life-threatening illnesses. And the less open we

are to the beauty and pleasure of life. For your emotional and bodily

benefit, we've consulted experts and come up with 37 easy, natural

alternatives to anxiety. Enjoy!

1. Breathe Easily

"Breathing from your diaphragm oxygenates your blood, which helps you

relax almost instantly," says Robert Cooper, Ph.D., the San Francisco

coauthor of The Power of 5 (Rodale Press, 1996), a book of five-second

and five-minute health tips. Shallow chest breathing, by contrast, can

cause your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up,

exacerbating feelings of stress. To breathe deeply, begin by putting your hand on

your abdomen just below the navel. Inhale slowly through your nose and

watch your hand move out as your belly expands. Hold the breath for a

few seconds, then exhale slowly. Repeat several times.

2. Visualize Calm

It sounds New Age-y, but at least one study, done at the Cleveland

Clinic Foundation, has found that it's highly effective in reducing stress.

Dr. Cooper recommends imagining you're in a hot shower and a wave of

relaxation is washing your stress down the drain. Gerald Epstein, M.D.,

the New York City author of Healing Visualizations (Bantam Doubleday

Dell Press, 1989), suggests the following routine: Close your eyes, take

three long, slow breaths, and spend a few seconds picturing a relaxing

scene, such as walking in a meadow, kneeling by a brook, or lying on the

beach. Focus on the details -- the sights, the sounds, the smells.

3. Make Time for a Mini Self-Massage

Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., of the Touch Research Institute at the

University of Miami School of Medicine, recommends simply massaging the

palm of one hand by making a circular motion with the thumb of the other.

Or use a massage gadget. The SelfCare catalog offers several, such as

the S-shaped Tamm unit, that allow you to massage hard-to-reach spots on

your back. For a free catalog, call 800-345-3371 or go to

www.selfcare.com.

4. Try a Tonic

A study at Duke University in Durham, NC, found homeopathy effective in

quelling anxiety disorders. Look for stress formulas such as Nerve

Tonic (from Hyland) or Sedalia (from Boiron) in your health food store, or

consult a licensed homeopath. To find one near you, contact the

National Center for Homeopathy, 801 North Fairfax St., Suite 306, Alexandria,

VA 22314; 703-548-7790 or go to www.healthy.net/nch/.

5. Say Cheese

Smiling is a two-way mechanism. We do it when we're relaxed and happy,

but doing it can also make us feel relaxed and happy. "Smiling

transmits nerve impulses from the facial muscles to the limbic system, a key

emotional center in the brain, tilting the neurochemical balance toward

calm," Dr. Cooper explains. Go ahead and grin. Don't you feel better

already?

6. Do Some Math

Using a scale of one to 10, with one being the equivalent of a minor

hassle and 10 being a true catastrophe, assign a number to whatever it is

that's making you feel anxious. "You'll find that most problems we

encounter rate somewhere in the two to five range -- in other words,

they're really not such a big deal," says Dr. Elkin.

7. Stop Gritting Your Teeth

Stress tends to settle in certain parts of our bodies, the jaw being

one of them. When things get hectic, try this tip from Dr. Cooper: Place

your index fingertips on your jaw joints, just in front of your ears;

clench your teeth and inhale deeply. Hold the breath for a moment, and

as you exhale say, "Ah-h-h-h," then unclench your teeth. Repeat a few

times.

8. Compose a Mantra

Devise an affirmation -- a short, clear, positive statement that

focuses on your coping abilities. "Affirmations are a good way to silence the

self-critical voice we all carry with us that only adds to our stress,"

Dr. Elkin says. The next time you feel as if your life is one disaster

after another, repeat 10 times, "I feel calm. I can handle this."

9. Check Your Chi

Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) is a 5,000-year-old Chinese practice

designed to promote the flow of chi, the vital life force that flows

throughout the body, regulating its functions. Qigong master Ching-Tse Lee,

Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Brooklyn College in New York,

recommends this calming exercise: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart

and parallel. Bend your knees to a quarter-squat position (about 45

degrees) while keeping your upper body straight. Observe your breathing for

a couple of breaths. Inhale and bring your arms slowly up in front of

you to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent. Exhale,

stretching your arms straight out. Inhale again, bend your elbows slightly and

drop your arms down slowly until your thumbs touch the sides of your

legs. Exhale one more time, then stand up straight.

10. Be a Fighter

"At the first sign of stress, you often hear people complain, 'What did

I do to deserve this?'" says Dr. Cooper. The trouble is, feeling like a

victim only increases feelings of stress and helplessness. Instead,

focus on being proactive. If your flight gets canceled, don't wallow in

self-pity. Find another one. If your office is too hot or too cold, don't

suffer in silence. Call the building manager and ask what can be done

to make things more comfortable.

11. Put It on Paper

Writing provides perspective, says Paul J. Rosch, M.D., president of

the American Institute of Stress in Yonkers, NY. Divide a piece of paper

into two parts. On the left side, list the stressors you may be able to

change, and on the right, list the ones you can't. "Change what you

can," Dr. Rosch suggests, "and stop fretting over what you can't."

12. Count to 10

Before you say or do something you'll regret, step away from the

stressor and collect yourself, advises Dr. Cooper. You can also look away for

a moment or put the caller on hold. Use your time-out to take a few

deep breaths, stretch, or recite an affirmation.

13. Switch to Decaf

Wean yourself slowly, or you might get a caffeine-withdrawal headache

that could last for several days, cautions James Duke, Ph.D., the

Fulton, MD, author of The Green Pharmacy (Rodale Press, 1997). Subtract a

little regular coffee and add some decaf to your morning cup. Over the

next couple of weeks, gradually increase the proportion of decaf to

regular until you're drinking all decaf. You should also consider switching

from regular soft drinks to caffeine-free ones or sparkling mineral

water.

14. Just Say No

Trying to do everything is a one-way ticket to serious stress. Be clear

about your limits, and stop trying to please everyone all the time.

15. Take a Whiff

Oils of anise, basil, bay, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint,

rose, and thyme are all soothing, say Kathy Keville and Mindy Green,

coauthors of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art (Crossing

Press, 1995). Place a few pieces of rock salt in a small vial, then add

a couple of drops of the oil of your choice (the rock salt absorbs the

oil and is much less risky to carry around in your purse than a bottle

of oil). Open the vial and breathe in the scent whenever you need a

quick stress release. Look for the oils in your local health food store,

or try one of the following mail-order companies: Aroma-Vera, 5901 Rodeo

Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90016, 800-669-9514; or Leydet Aromatics, P.O. Box

2354, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, 916-965-7546.

16. Warm Up

Try this tip from David Sobel, M.D., in San Jose, CA, author of The

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook (I S H K Book Service, 1997) : Rub

your hands together vigorously until they feel warm. Then cup them over

your closed eyes for five seconds while you breathe deeply. The warmth

and darkness are comforting.

17. Say Yes to Pressure

Acupressure stimulates the same points as acupuncture, but with fingers

instead of needles. Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., director of the

Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, CA, recommends pressing on the following

three points:

The Third Eye, located between the eyebrows, in the indentation

where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead.

The Heavenly Pillar, on the back of the neck slightly below the base

of the skull, about half an inch to the left or right of the spine.

The Heavenly Rejuvenation, half an inch below the top of each

shoulder, midway between the base of the neck and the outside of the shoulder

blade.

Breathe deeply and apply firm, steady pressure on each point for two to

three minutes. The pressure should cause a mild aching sensation, but

not pain.

18. Schedule Worry Time

Some stressors demand immediate attention -- a smoke alarm siren or a

police car's whirling red light. But many low-grade stressors can be

dealt with at a later time, when it's more convenient. "File them away in

a little mental compartment, or make a note," Dr. Elkin says, "then

deal with them when the time is right. Don't let them control you."

19. Shake It Up

This quick exercise helps loosen the muscles in your neck and upper

back, says Dr. Sobel: Stand or sit, stretch your arms out from your sides

and shake your hands vigorously for about 10 seconds. Combine this with

a little deep breathing, Dr. Sobel says, and you'll do yourself twice

as much good.

20. Munch Some Snacks

Foods that are high in carbohydrates stimulate the release of

serotonin, feel-good brain chemicals that help induce calm, says Dr. Cooper.

Crackers, pretzels, or a bagel should do the trick.

21. Boost Your Vitamin Intake

Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Food and Mood (Owl Books, 1999), in

Salem, OR, recommends that women take a daily multivitamin and mineral

formula that contains between 100% and 300% of the recommended dietary

allowances of vitamin B, as well as the minerals calcium, magnesium,

chromium, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. Avoid

stress formulas, which often contain large amounts of randomly formulated

nutrients, such as the B vitamins, but little or nothing else, Somer

says.

22. Get Horizontal

If sex has been on the bottom of your to-do list for too long, move it

to the top. Sex increases levels of endorphins, those mood-boosting

chemicals in the brain, and it's one of the best total-body relaxers

around, says Louanne Cole Weston, Ph.D., a sex therapist in Sacramento, CA.

Make a date with your mate, and don't let anything get in the way.

23. Admit It

Each of us has uniquely individual stress signals -- neck or shoulder

pain, shallow breathing, stammering, teeth gritting, queasiness, loss of

temper. Learn to identify yours, then say out loud, "I'm feeling

stressed," when they crop up, recommends Dr. Rosch. Recognizing your personal

stress signals helps slow the buildup of negativity and anxiety.

24. Space Out

Look out the window and find something natural that captures your

imagination, advises Dr. Sobel. Notice the clouds rolling by or the wind in

the trees.

25. Try Tea

By now most of us know about the calming properties of chamomile tea.

But a steaming cup of catnip, passionflower, skullcap or kava kava also

work, according to Dr. Duke. Whether you use tea bags or loose tea (one

teaspoon of tea per cup of boiling water), steep for about 10 minutes

to get the full benefits of the herbs.

26. Take a Walk

It forces you to breathe more deeply and improves circulation, says Dr.

Cooper. Step outside if you can; if that's not possible, you can gain

many of the same benefits simply by walking to the bathroom or water

cooler, or by pacing back and forth. "The key is to get up and move," Dr.

Cooper says.

27. Soak it Up

"When I have the time, nothing is more stress relieving for me than a

hot bath," Dr. Weston says. "But when I don't have time, I do the

next-best thing: I wash my face or even just my hands and arms with hot

water. The key is to imagine that I'm taking a hot bath. It's basically a

visualization exercise, but the hot water makes it feel real."

28. Play a Few Bars

A number of recent studies have shown that music can do everything from

slow heart rate to increase endorphins. Good bets: Bach's "Air on the

G-String," Beethoven's Pastorale symphony, Chopin's Nocturne in G,

Handel's Water Music, or pianist George Winston's CDs Autumn or December..

29. Fall for Puppy Love

In a study of 100 women conducted last year at the State University of

New York at Buffalo, researchers found that those who owned a dog had

lower blood pressure than those who didn't. If you don't have a pooch,

visit a friend's: Petting an animal for just a couple of minutes helps

relieve stress, researchers have found.

30. Practice Mindfulness

Heighten your awareness of the moment by focusing intently on an

object. Notice a pencil's shape, color, weight and feel. Or slowly savor a

raisin or a piece of chocolate. Mindfulness leads to relaxation.

31. Dial a Friend

Sharing your troubles can give you perspective, help you feel cared for

and relieve your burden.

32. Stretch

Muscles tighten during the course of the day, and when we feel stressed

out, the process accelerates. Stretching loosens muscles and encourages

deep breathing. Molly Fox, creative fitness director at the Equinox

Fitness Center in New York City, says one of the greatest stress-relieving

stretches is a yoga position called the child pose, which stretches the

back muscles. On a rug or mat, kneel, sit back on your heels, then lean

forward and put your forehead on the floor and your arms alongside your

legs, palms up. Hold for one to three minutes.

33. Say a Little Prayer

Studies show that compared with those who profess no faith, religious

and spiritual people are calmer and healthier.

34. Make Plans

"Looking forward to something provides calming perspective," Dr. Elkin

says. Buy concert tickets, schedule a weekend getaway, or make an

appointment for a massage.

35. Goof Off



It temporarily removes you from a potentially stressful situations.

Esther Orioli, president of Essi Systems, a San Francisco consultant

company that organizes stress-management programs, keeps a harmonica in the

drawer for when she's feeling stressed out. Bonus: Playing it promotes

deep breathing.

36. Straighten Up

When people are under stress, they slump over as if they have the

weight of the world on their shoulders. "Slumping restricts breathing and

reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, adding to muscle tension and

magnifying feelings of panic and helplessness," Dr. Cooper explains.

Straightening your spine has just the opposite effect. It promotes

circulation, increases oxygen levels in your blood and helps lessen muscle

tension, all of which promote relaxation.

37. Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Tending your garden helps get you out of your head and lets you commune

with nature, a known stress reliever. If you're not a gardener, tend to

a houseplant. Plants = growth = cycle of life, a nice reminder that

stress, too, will pass.

By Michael Castleman

From India, Vadodara
I thought of adding some that would help us manage stress at our working place

__________________________________________________ ______

Todayís workplace produces plenty of stress. Lifeís little hassles mount up until you say to yourself, ďIf one more thing goes wrong today, Iíll explode.Ē Donít reach for the aspirin bottle, try these stress management tips.

Can we eliminate the stressors of modern work life? No. The trick is learning how to manage the stress versus being overwhelmed by it. Here are seven stress management tips

Know the enemy.

What, exactly, is stressing you out? Is it your job? Your home life? Your relationships? Without knowing the root of the problem, you are unlikely to resolve it.

Share the load.

Delegate whenever possible. Donít fall into the trap of thinking you are the only person who can do the job right. Your coworkers and boss might start to buy into that concept as well.

Get a fresh outlook.

Whoops! I made a mistake. Okay. The world is not going to come to an end. Stress often comes from taking yourself and the job too seriously.

Be a kid againÖplay.

Put your job concerns aside for five minutes and concentrate on something of fun. Use your break time to work a crossword puzzle, play a quick game of Frisbee, listen to some good music, etc. A few minutes spent playing brings renewed energy to the job.

Let go.

Recognize the difference between the things you can control and the things you cannot. Make a list of these two categories. Stop stressing about the things in your job you have no control over.

Develop a tough skin.

Try not to personalize any criticism you receive. Look at negative comments as constructive criticism that allows you to improve your work.

Donít make work your life.

Job stress builds when our minds are constantly focused on work. Strive for balance in your life. Make time for family, friends, hobbies and, most importantly, fun.

You man need to give your job the heave-ho. You know itís time to quit when:

1. Youíve tried all the appropriate channels and methods for resolving your situation, to no avail.

2. You are not challenged and so bored that you hate to go to work every day.

3. Your boss is intimidating, disrespectful or demeaning to you.

Stress is a fact of life, but it need not be a way of life. Every job has stress. It is an inevitable consequence of living and working with others. Effective stress managers know how to reduce the harmful effects while retaining the energy and creativity needed to work and live in a stressful environment.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

From India, Ahmadabad

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