14 Practical Methods to Combat Stress
A stress-free lifestyle could very well do wonders in eliminating
depression. Here are some practical methods to combat stress:
1. Express Amusement And Be Happy.
Laugh hard and loud. If you don't have a sense of humor, find
someone else who has. Laughter releases endorphins (happy
chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.
2. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule.
You'll be much more able to deal with stress if you have a
good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities.
When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused
and calm. Plan your time wisely.
Remember to leave room for unexpected events - both negative
and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get
up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes
to get to all appointments. Avoid procrastinating on important
or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing, do it immediately.
Do the unpleasant tasks early, so that you won't have to worry
about them for the rest of the day. Keep an appointment or
record book. Don't just rely on your memory.
Do your tasks one thing at a time at a time. Focus your attention
on the present moment, whether it's the person talking to
you or the job at hand. This helps you to avoid making errors
- which lead to more tension and anxiety. Be patient in waiting.
Anxiety caused by impatience can rise up your blood pressure.
Say "no" to requests that you cannot accomplish. Delegate
trivial tasks. You must remember that you don't have to do
it all yourself. Crack a job into separate tasks and assign
them to people with the suitable skills.
3. Work Out.
Strive and get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking,
swimming or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you're interested
in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor.
Work out also improves sleep and gives you time to think and
focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural
soothing chemicals in your body. Do not result to excessive
exercise, however, as this may have an adverse effect and
might cause more depression.
4. Search Out For A Support Group.
You'll be able to manage stress much better if you have
other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that
married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting
with friends), have considerably low levels of stress in their
Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who
continually put you down or talk gloomily about life will
increase your anxiety. Invite a good friend to help you talk
out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call
to an old pal can be great therapy.
Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Slow down your standards
- for yourself and others. Don't expect too much. Perfectionism
is not the means to happiness. Become more flexible and adaptable
to your environment.
Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions.
Repeat instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions
at the start of a project can save lots of time later rectifying
out misunderstandings. Be honest in your dealings with others.
Lying and cheating leads to stress.
5. Take Breaths Deeply and Slowly.
Calm down your muscles, escalating your stomach and chest.
Exhale slowly. Do it again several times. Follow your breath
as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it.
This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity.
This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that
is natural and relaxing to you. Make use of this yoga technique:
Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Exhale through your mouth,
even more slowly, counting to sixteen. Make a sighing sound
as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve. Do it again 10 times.
6. Consume Healthy Foods at the Appropriate Time.
Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Get time out to eat
heartily no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks
to the office, or even the shopping mall. A nutritionally
balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For
example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies
of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms.
Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during
times of stress. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts
of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.
7. Live Optimistically. Count your blessings, particularly
when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that many other
people are living in worse conditions than you are. Don't
exaggerate the complexity of your problems. Every problem
has a solution. All you need to do is find that solution.
Learn to be happy and to enjoy life's blessings. Live one
day at a time.
8. Put Off Problems Earlier Than They Occur.
This takes some preparation. If you are going to another city
for an valuable meeting, carry your presentation materials
and dress suit on board the plane. Acquire gas for the car
before the tank is unfilled. Get usual oil changes and checkups.
Keep food ready anytime at your house so you can fix a fast
meal without going to the store. Keep food, medicine, and
toiletries on hand so you never have to feel tensed when they
9. Enjoy The Good Things That Life Has to Offer.
Grant yourself some physical pleasure and enjoyment to help
your stress slip away. Indulge yourself to a professional
massage, or trade massages with a loved one. Give yourself
consent to enjoy a movie, watch a concert or sports event,
listen to music, or read a book. Take pleasure in a soothing
cup of chamomile herb tea with a little bit of honey. Chamomile
has long been used to relieve nervous tension.
Arrange a day of beauty with a friend. Do each other's hair,
or paint your nails and chat.
Make a simple steam facial at home by boiling water. Remove
the pan from the stove. Cover your head with a large towel
so that it creates a tent over the pot. Steam your face for
five or 10 minutes. Add aromatic herbs to the water for a
sensual touch. Center your attention on any of the senses
- hearing, seeing, eating or body movements - for a few minutes.
Even washing your hands can become a sensual experience.
10. Possess a Definite Goal or Purpose in Life, and Strive
Plan ahead to meet your most desired goals in life. You should
always wake up with a sense of purpose.
Time management experts highlight the importance of writing
down your important goals. Break big projects down into a
series of small steps that you can work on every day. Want
to change jobs? Contact one prospective employer today. Is
writing a book your dream? Commit to writing one page a day.
Inch by inch, slowly but surely, you will get to your ultimate
Knowing that you are striving toward your dreams relieves
frustrations that mount when you feel stuck in a situation
that seem to have no direction.
11. Move Away to Recharge Your Spirit.
Make a schedule for a private time alone every day. You deserve
it. Unplug the telephone and enjoy a quiet evening alone or
with your family, or even 15 continuous minutes in the shower
or bathtub. You may want to spend a few minutes writing your
feelings out in a journal. It can help you find a new viewpoint
in life and relieve internal conflicts.
More Tips to Recharge Your Spirit
- Have on earplugs for instant peace anytime, anyplace.
- Be taught of a meditation technique. Two methods: Observe
your thoughts as they pass through your mind. Or, repeat
a word or phrase with an uplifting meaning.
- Put into practice progressive relaxation for 20 minutes
twice a day to relive high blood pressure and other physiological
responses to stress. Make tighter and release each muscle
group in turn, starting with the soles of the feet and slowly
working up to the scalp.
- Schedule a weekend activity that is a change of your
usual routine. If your week is a lot scheduled, relax and
enjoy noncompetitive activities. If you are never able to
finish anything during the week, choose a project that you
can complete in a few hours on weekends.
- Take time out for a little entertainment in the middle
of your workday. When the pressures of completing a project
are too great, your productivity can drop. Take a walk or
eat lunch outside the office.
12. Use Visualization and Affirmation Techniques.
You can conquer a circumstance you fear by going over the
event in your mind. Imagine the scene in clear detail and
visualize the best possible result that may happen.
You can also reduce an imagined fear down to size by picturing
the worst possible outcome. Visualize describing this worst
case to your best friend the next day and the sympathy you
receive. Imagine telling a group of friends the next month,
who contribute to their similar experiences. Finally, imagine
joking about your unpleasant experience with a complete stranger
a month later. If you carry this exercise through to the end,
your stress will become something to laugh about. Replace
negative self-talk with affirmations. Don't let your mind
be filled with gloom: You're too ugly. . . you're too old.
. .you'll never achieve anything. And things like: What if
I fail the exam? What if she doesn't like my gift? What if
we get lost? These things haven't even occurred yet. Nourish
your mind with a constant stream of "I can; therefore, I will."
13. Get Sufficient Sleep.
Settle on how much sleep you require for best possible performance.
Lack of sleep worsens the body's responses to stress and lowers
the immune system.
14. Don't Be Self-Centered.
Always remember that you don't have to attain all the money,
fame, and success in the world. Today's society forces us
to build up as much accomplishments as we can, while trying
to balance our own personal and family life. There's just
not enough time to do all these things. Start from the most
important task and focus on one thing at a time.
Excerpted from the book "How to Manage and Conquer Depression"
Get the rest of the book at Your-Health-Center.com/isdepression.
Zaak spends his day there and with his wife, kids, cats and
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