I don’t worry much. When an issue arises that cause me distress, my mind instantly begins searching for possible solutions. I wasn’t always like this – it took years of awareness and effort but it has certainly paid off. Take this past week, for example. I use a service to heavily promote both my radio show and my books. I’ve been affectionately referred to as a “marketing machine” by some who know me on social media. When one of my social media sites changed their format, what used to take me twenty minutes to accomplish took two and a half hours. I immediately began concocting an alternative way of reaching my contacts each week with information regarding my upcoming radio show. Now, another social media site has implemented a major change that will severely cripple my marketing efforts. Already, my mind is seeking ways of maneuvering around this latest road block. In order to keep my stress levels at a minimum, I’ve had to make a concerted effort to apply my own advice. Here are some tips to dramatically reduce and/or eliminate stress in your life:
1. Take slow deep deliberate breaths. When we become anxious, we tend to deprive our brains of vital oxygen rich blood by shallow breathing. Oxygen has a very calming effect on the brain. Breathe in slowing and deeply, holding for a moment before slowly exhaling.
2. Sip water. The human body is comprised of 50-75% water. Being dehydrated increases the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Organs, of which the brain is one, work at optimum capacity when properly hydrated. Sipping water throughout the day, and especially at the onset of stress, will help keep us calm.
3. Meditation: an ancient Eastern practice, something as simple as sitting quietly, eyes closed, breathing rhythmically to the beating of the heart, and clearing one’s mind produces a sense of euphoria and well-being.
4. Human touch reduces the production of cortisol, releases the feel-good hormones, endorphins, reduces physical and emotional pain, conveys concern, comfort, affection, love, and oneness. From a simple handshake to a huge bear hug, human touch is vital to our survival.
5. Prayer – our conversations with God. Much like a child who holds mom’s hand in the dark, being connected to a Higher Being alleviates fear, anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity. Realizing we are not alone but rather are being guided by an Omnipotent Source of unconditional love is incredibly comforting and offers a sense of belonging as well.
6. Biofilia is a fancy word for a “love of living things”. By reconnecting with nature, being outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight, we experience the wonder of God’s creations. Whether plant or animal life, inert or ever-changing, we are an integral part of our surrounds and through conscious integration we experience a sense of wholeness.
7. Aerobic exercise, the practice of rhythmic physical exertion, releases those feel-good endorphins and increases the flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain, elevating one’s energy levels and alleviating negativity.
8. An Attitude of Gratitude and Sense of Appreciation: in both cases, one focuses on the positive rather than negative. Finding the blessings present to us every day and truly appreciating not only what we have but also what has been lost or taken away allows us to maintain a positive mindset and distracts the mind from being consumed by the negative.
9. Love: not love of a human variety but love of a spiritual nature alleviates stress. That is to say, when we choose to love fully and unconditionally, without stipulation or restriction, then we never experience disappointment or anger. We reside in a permanent state of acceptance, peace, and joy.
10. Forgiving: letting go of the anger, bitterness, and resentment associated with a past experience or individual frees us to fully live in the present moment and extract the most from each experience. Refraining from labeling and judging one another enables us to develop a more compassionate and gentle approach to those whom we encounter.
11. Less is more: own less, do less, be more. A common misconception is that we own our stuff. Actually we are owned by our possessions. It takes time, money, and effort to purchase items and the same to care for, repair, or replace them. They drain us of precious time and resources which could be much better applied to becoming more evolved beings.
12. Deflate the Balloon (SSSSS): See things differently (change your perception); Slow down (what’s the rush?), Simplify (scale back on everything), Socialize (make time for good friends), be Silly (have some fun!)
Like all emotions, stress in self-imposed. It has little to do with who we are with, what’s occurring, or where we are. Rather it is determined by our internal dialogue, that little voice in our heads, that instills worry and discomfort, then repeats it ad nauseam until we find ourselves in a frenzy of anxiety. Take a moment, quiet your mind, re examine the situation, and put your faith in God that all is exactly as it is meant to be. And if all else fails, remember that stressed spelled backwards is desserts. That’s no coincidence. Bon appetite! lol!
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