September 14, 2017 by Cathy Brown
“Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can’t eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away.”
Stress…that’s a 6- letter dirty word. Sooner or later we all become acquainted with stress.
Life happens and often, stress is a part of it. So, what to do?
Here are some suggestions by Emma Haak, Senior Editor at Thrive Global, appearing on Oprah.com on 7/8/17.
“Cue up your favorite song
No, it doesn’t have to be classical music. Listening to songs of their choice helped patients who were about to undergo surgery feel less anxious, according to a study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. What songs help you feel happy and relaxed?
Here are two breathing techniques that can calm you down in a pinch.
4 x 4 x 4 breathing Used by Navy SEALs, this exercise involves breathing deeply for four counts, then exhaling for four counts and repeating the cycle for four minutes. You can do it throughout the day to help combat stress, whenever it arises.
1-2-3 breathing By forcing yourself to breathe as you do in your most relaxed moments, you trick your body into releasing calming neurohormones, causing a biological shift in how you feel. Inhale and feel your abdomen expand. Go as slowly as possible, counting in 1-2-3. Then, observe the turn of your breath, and breathe it out 1-2-3. Whether you do this for one minute or five, it’s going to bring you to a calmer place.
Do a mental dress rehearsal. Before you enter into a stressful situation run through your scenario in your head. This helps to ease anxiety and boost confidence during stressful situations. Your “mental test drive” makes the actual scene much easier to handle. Stressed because your boss just asked you to step into her office, or your kid’s teacher called and said she needs to have a word with you? Spend a few minutes running through the possible scenarios in your mind and how you’d react to each one.
It almost sounds too easy, but experts say separating yourself from whatever’s stressing you out is one of the smartest things you can do. “In a way, smokers have the right idea,” says Julian Ford, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and co-author of Hijacked by Your Brain. “When they step outside to light up, they’re doing one of the most important—and hardest—parts of de-stressing: taking a break. They consciously distance themselves from immediate pressures and remove themselves from all the cues that say, “Work harder.” This naturally turns down the alarm in their brain. Happily, you don’t have to engage in dangerous behavior like smoking to do this. Simply walking away from stressors for a few minutes can be one of the best practices for learning to handle daily pressure.”
Write about what’s stressing you out
Laying out your feelings about whatever’s causing you stress can help you feel less stressed about it. That’s what researchers found when they asked people to spend just 20 minutes on two different days writing about a stressful event (the findings were published in Anxiety, Stress & Coping). The researchers believe the act of writing helps you organize your thoughts, making it easier to let go of any negative emotions.
Get a pet
Sure, it can be stressful if Sparky occasionally pees on the rug, but a furry companion can lead to greater calm overall. Research has found that pets can lower anxiety levels among hospital patients, relax study subjects asked to solve a difficult arithmetic problem and lower the blood pressure of people in stressful jobs.
Make a weekly dinner date with friends
Spending time with family and friends can boost your health in many ways, including fighting stress. How? When you’re socializing, your body releases oxytocin, a chemical that lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure.
This one’s so simple yet so effective. An analysis of 39 studies on mindfulness-based therapy found that meditation can treat anxiety, mood disorders and depression. Better yet, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that meditation can lower stress levels in less than one week. Try starting by sitting quietly for 5 minutes. Focus on your breathing and if thoughts come your way…just visualize them floating away in a bubble and go back to focusing on your breathing. “
I am starting to feel better already. How about you?
“Stop stressing, let it go, and move on.” – Kushandwizdom
At the first sign of stress, I stop and breathe.
I do a mental run through before all potential stress situations.
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