Eight actions to reduce stress
I RAN ACROSS THIS LIST OF STRESS-BUSTERS IN AN AMOCO MAGAZINE. My old company Amoco merged with BP in 1998, so this list may be 20 years old, or more. However, it struck me as a very sensible approach to reduce stress, and all the items seem attainable for most people.
I scored 5½ out of 8, so at least I’m above 50%. My weakest one is number 3: Talk it out. I don’t do this enough with friends and family. I tend to slug it out alone. But I have talked with a psychologist for about six months after a doctor said I had acute anxiety syndrome. The counselor was a great help.
What is your weakest link? If you don’t mind sharing, please do so by adding your thoughts to the Comment box.
1. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. Next time you feel your blood boiling over something trivial, stop and make a conscious decision to let it go. Anger management is an effective stress buster.
2. JUST DO IT! Procrastinating and putting projects/deadlines off only leads to more stress later. Choose one simple thing you’ve been putting off and do it immediately. And if a big project feels overwhelming, tackle it a little at a time. Just don’t put it off!
3. TALK IT OUT. Share your feelings and concerns with a trusted friend or a trained professional. Talking it out might help you get a better perspective on what you’re facing.
4. PLAY WITH A PET. When you pet your dog even for just a few minutes, your body releases feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. At the same time, it decreases the amount of the damaging stress hormones that are released. That can mean lower blood pressure, less anxiety, and even a boost to immunity. [I have come to love Chanel, Mary’s morkie, as shown in the picture].
5. HYDRATE AND FUEL UP. …HEALTHFULLY. Hunger and dehydration can provoke and amplify feelings of stress. So drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious meals throughout the day.
6. GO FOR A WALK. Getting outside will do your body good. Clear your head with an invigorating jog, or relax and recharge on a walk around the block.
7. CLEAR THE CLUTTER. Many of us have experienced the panic of trying to find lost keys or misplaced paperwork. De-clutter and de-stress by cleaning up your home and office space.
8. GIVE YOURSELF SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. Know you have a stressful day ahead? Plan a reward for yourself. Even if it’s just a relaxing bath or time set aside to read a good book, give yourself a brief period of time before bed to allow yourself to fully relax. Not only will it be something to look forward to, but it will help you get a better night’s sleep.
POST-SCRIPT 1: many of these stress-busters will be helpful in overcoming non-clinical depression.
POST-SCRIPT 2: sharing this list with your children or grand-children may be rewarding.