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STRESS: Stress Solutions

 





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Stress is necessary, it helps us to survive danger and threats, and even help us thrive and become the best we can be! Our biggest stress trigger, however, is our own mind and imagination. We can learn to harness the positive power of stress to help us meet the creative challenge stress often brings, and to control the negative run-away train of our own distressing thoughts and emotions, by following a few practical and simple guidelines, making time for relaxation every day as part of our wellness lifestyle. You can learn to cope with stress effectively and steer clear of its more debilitating consequences, which can include heart disease, obesity, depression, cancer, drug and alcohol addiction says Dr Arien van der Merwe - Medical Specialist Health and Wellbeing: EOH Health

Some stress you can avoid, or at least minimise, because it’s predictable. You know your cousin pushes your buttons every Christmas, so this year you resolve to spend the holiday somewhere else, or go with a game plan to proactively diffuse the tension. You know Monday mornings are hectic, so you take steps on Sunday to be better prepared: making sure your clothes are ironed, your fuel tank is full and the alarm is set extra early.

When You Can’t Anticipate Stress


Then there’s the stress you can’t anticipate. Your car breaks down on your way to an important meeting, or there’s traffic congestion, or a difficult project that requires immediate attention, gets dumped in your lap. If you think about it, though, while you can’t anticipate the ‘what’ and the ‘when’, this kind of stress is pretty predictable, too. You might as well allow it to simply ‘be’, and face the challenge with equanimity!

While it might be difficult when the situation arises, it’s important to have the presence of mind to recognise that you’re under stress. It all starts with awareness! It’s not always so obvious, particularly when the stress is so unrelenting you forget, or simply don’t know, what life is like without it! Common symptoms of stress include an elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle tension, headaches, back pain, ulcers, irritability, insomnia, overeating and violent outbursts.

Being aware that you’re experiencing distress enables you deal with it more effectively.

Here Are Some Suggestions To Help You Cope With Stress:


• Listen to your body. Use your body to notice and become aware of distress: neck muscle spasm, fast and shallow breathing, sweaty palms, a flushing face, a hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach, a racing heart and the urge to cry, can make you aware that you need to take time out to reconnect with yourself. Go outside or take a comfort break. Shaking your whole body will give immediate release to feelings of overwhelming distress and anxiety.

• Remember to breathe with this one minute stress buster: Breathe in deeply through your nose on a slow count of three. Breathe out through your mouth on a slow count of five. Repeat a few times. Try this every time you feel stressed, anxious or worried. This is truly a quick fix stress buster!

• Relax your muscles. Alternatively tense and relax your muscles (e.g. calves, buttocks, hands in fists). You will feel an immediate relief.

• Think positively. Get in the habit of thinking about stressful situations as opportunities and challenges — to learn, grow and improve yourself, to take your life in a new and better direction, to stretch your abilities. Visualising and intending a positive outcome is another good mental technique.

• Exercise. Jog, play tennis, dance, do yoga, or take a brisk walk around the block. Exercise will relieve muscle tension and release endorphins that will lift your spirits.

• Talk about your feelings and ask for help sometimes. Sharing with someone often makes the situation seem less dire and more manageable. You can talk with a supportive friend or relative. If you are under severe stress and find it hard to cope, it might be helpful to talk with a mental health professional.

• Keep it real. We all tend to get a bit melodramatic when we’re under stress. Without plunging headlong into catastrophic thinking, take a moment to imagine the worst that can realistically happen. Working through how you would respond to the worst-case scenario will help you feel more in control of the situation.

• Practice mindfulness: Wake up 5 minutes earlier to spend a few moments lying in bed. Enjoy the delight of the fresh morning air, the sparkle of early sunlight, the sound of birds. Sense the life flowing through your body. Notice your breath, the pulsing of blood in your fingertips, the tug of gravity upon your arms, legs, and trunk. Take a few deep slow breaths. This is a good time to write in your journal – dreams, thoughts, ideas, feelings, five things you’re grateful for.

• Tired eye soother:

splash your eyes with cold water – alternate with a hot washcloth over your closed eyelids and press gently with your fingertips, or rub an ice cube around each eye. Lie back in your chair at work, place sliced cucumber or a wet tea bag over your closed eyes and relax for a few minutes. Begin a new power break habit at work - productivity and creativity will increase dramatically!

• Refuel and recharge:

- Eat and sleep well to rest and recover

- Prevent low blood sugar – it’s a stress attractor! Eat regular, healthy, small meals. Always have fruit, veges, nuts and seeds handy!

- Sip away your stress: chamomile, mint, passionflower, lemon balm, ginseng, lavender, valerian herbal teas, together with a spoonful of honey will soothe frazzled nerves

- Drink enough water

- Calming foods: tryptophane boosts the formation of serotonin, the ‘feel good’, calming brain chemical - eat unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas

- Energising foods: small amounts of protein (cheese, eggs, chicken, meat) contains the amino acid tryptamine that can give you a boost when stress tires you out. Take small ready prepared portions to work.

- Take a daily dose of vitamin B-complex to support your nervous system as part of your antioxidant combo, as well as a calcium and magnesium combo and omega 3


 
 
 
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