Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Are You Stressed?

Check the box if the statement is true about you most of the time.
stress management tips, meditation, exercise, stress busters
❑ I often have digestive upsets.
❑ I tend to lose my temper easily.
❑ I have trouble sleeping.
❑ People say I am a "worry wart."
❑ I have difficulty concentrating.
❑ I feel tired and drained all the time.
❑ I watch a lot of TV.
❑ I often get migraines or tension headaches.
❑ I feel "blue" and have a hard time getting over it.
❑ I am really impatient with other people
❑ I feel "burned out."
❑ I feel the harder I work, the more behind I get.

Every statement you checked is a factor in how much stress you feel. The more check marks, the greater the stress you are experiencing. Cope with stress better by making these five habits part of your routine.

  1. Take a breathing timeout. When you feel stressed, stop what you are doing and just focus on your breathing. Follow your breath in and out for a few minutes. If your thoughts wander, just bring them back to your breathing.
  2. Meditate daily. Meditation is just not the stereotypical image of a yogi in a lotus position. You can meditate anywhere. Just pause, step back from the hectic turmoil around you, and focus on a word, an image or just your breath. Words like "peace" or "love" work well for many people. Repeat the word like a litany. Images of peaceful scenes, such as a nature scene, also work. Daily meditation helps you stay calm when everything gets crazy and contributes to better health.
  3. Exercise. Exercise is the Holy Grail of good health and is a great stress reducer. Always check with a health care practitioner before starting an exercise routine or making drastic changes in one you already follow.  
  4. Drink more water. If exercise is the Holy Grail of good health, water is the Elixir of Life. It flushes unpleasant chemicals from the body, lubricates joints and keeps you in top form among other benefits. 
  5. Cultivate optimism. Optimism is the ability to consistently see the positive side of things, rather than the negative. Optimistic people approach life expecting happy outcomes. They are aware of problems but do not view them negatively; they actively looking for positive factors in any situation. 

Five simple habits to cope better with stress. Start with one and build up to all five. If stress is negatively affecting your ability to work or have meaningful relationships, or if you feel depressed, see a health care practioner who can direct you to immediate stress management resources.

Need more information? Check out the stress management resources at the Mayo Clinic. 

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