Stress can kill you, and feeling stressed frequently leads to weight gain; but here are a few ideas from Texas Woman's University, with my comments in italics.
Photo courtesy of belfathus
52 Proven Stress Reducers
1. Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful. Yupp, that cup of coffee while looking at my email is great.
2. Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear, etc. I get my clothes out, fix the coffee, and turn my computer on while I take a shower.
3. Don't rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due, etc. Remember my blog post about To-do lists?
4. Do nothing which, after being done, leads you to tell a lie. I couldn’t agree more!!
Photo courtesy of joel.almeida
5. Make duplicates of all keys. Bury a house key in a secret spot in the garden and carry a duplicate car key in your wallet, apart from your key ring. I haven’t done this, but after reading this list, it sounds like a very good idea.
6. Practice preventive maintenance. Your car, appliances, home, and relationships will be less likely to break down/fall apart "at the worst possible moment." I would add your body to this list. Prevention is the best way to stay healthy. Eat right, exercise, and visit your doctor regularly.
7. Be prepared to wait. A paperback can make a wait in a post office line almost pleasant. This is why big purses are back in fashion. Everyone is carrying a paperback………………….LOL
8. Procrastination is stressful. Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today; whatever you want to do today, do it now. I’m good at this, but I know I can do better.
9. Plan ahead. Don't let the gas tank get below one-quarter full; keep a well-stocked "emergency shelf" of home staples; don't wait until you're down to your last bus token or postage stamp to buy more; etc. I plan, plan, and do more planning. This has always been one of my strong characteristics.
Photo courtesy of Jon Rolfe
10. Don't put up with something that doesn't work right. If your alarm clock, wallet, shoe laces, windshield wipers - whatever- are a constant aggravation, get them fixed or get new ones. Most of the time, I prefer to get a new one……………..LOL
11. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments. Plan to arrive at an airport one hour before domestic departures. Here in LA, you need to plan at least one hour in advance just for the traffic issues.
12. Eliminate (or restrict) the amount of caffeine in your diet. Oh, I’m in trouble with this one. I drink diet Coke a lot during the day. My Bad….)
13. Always set up contingency plans, "just in case." ("If for some reason either of us is delayed, here's what we'll do. . ." kind of thing. Or, "If we get split up in the shopping center, here's where we'll meet.") Can you say, use your cell phone? I feel strongly about this. Being a mother to 4 daughters, a business woman, and a human being who cares about others, this is important for me, and to me. ” You never know.”
14. Relax your standards. The world will not end if the grass doesn't get mowed this weekend. Hurray, hurray, hurray!
15. Pollyanna-Power! For every one thing that goes wrong, there are probably 10 or 50 or 100 blessings. Count 'em! Sometimes, I tend to focus on the negative, but I’m trying to do improve and do better.
16. Ask questions. Taking a few moments to repeat back directions, what someone expects of you, etc., can save hours. (The old "the hurried I go, the behinder I get," idea.) I would love questions, comments, and suggestions regarding this point.
17. Say "No!" Saying "no" to extra projects, social activities, and invitations you know you don't have the time or energy for takes practice, self-respect, and a belief that everyone, everyday, needs quiet time to relax and be alone. This one I’ve learned from experience. So take my word for it, if you can’t do it, “Just Say “No.” And no, I’m not imitating former President Reagan’s, wife, Nancy….)
18. Unplug your phone. Want to take a long bath, meditate, sleep, or read without interruption? Drum up the courage to temporarily disconnect. (The possibility of there being a terrible emergency in the next hour or so is almost nil.) Or use an answering machine. I don’t usually unplug my phone, but sometimes, I put it on silent.
19. Turn "needs" into preferences. Our basic physical needs translate into food, water, and keeping warm. Everything else is a preference. Don't get attached to preferences. Here, I would also add prioritize. We all have many preferences, but being able to prioritize them, gives us the opportunity to have the ability to get them done.
Photo courtesy of karenhdy
20. Simplify, simplify, simplify. . . I really think that this is a great suggestion There isn’t anybody who couldn’t benefit from this one.
21. Make friends with non-worriers. Nothing can get you into the habit of worrying faster than associating with chronic worrywarts. So true. ”Karma Baby!”
22. Get up and stretch periodically if your job requires that you sit for extended periods. Hey, next week, in order to get a tight ass, you’ll not only have to stretch, but you’ll need to do your lunges and squats. I’ll be virtually checking……)
23. Wear earplugs. If you need to find quiet at home, pop in some earplugs. I don’t relate too much to this one. I’m not a big fan of having things in my ears, but that’s just me.
24. Get enough sleep. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed. On this one, I fail miserably. (I never said I was perfect...lol
25. Create order out of chaos. Organize your home and workspace so that you always know exactly where things are. Put things away where they belong and you won't have to go through the stress of losing things. I love to organize and wish I had more time to do it.
26. When feeling stressed, most people tend to breathe short, shallow breaths. When you breathe like this, stale air is not expelled, oxidation of the tissues is incomplete, and muscle tension frequently results. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths. Ahhhhh, ahhhh, Ahhhhhh, ahhhhhhhh.
27. Writing your thoughts and feelings down (in a journal, or on paper to be thrown away) can help you clarify things and can give you a renewed perspective. Hey, that’s one reason we designed Iowa Avenue to have individual blogs. Writing and sharing is part of dealing with stress as well as weight loss.
28. Try the following yoga technique whenever you feel the need to relax. Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of eight. Then, with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your mouth to the count of 16, or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times. So, the next time you’re stuck in traffic on the way home to make dinner, try this idea. It works.
29. Inoculate yourself against a feared event. Example: before speaking in public, take time to go over every part of the experience in your mind. Imagine what you'll wear, what the audience will look like, how you will present your talk, what the questions will be and how you will answer them, etc. Visualize the experience the way you would have it be. You'll likely find that when the time comes to make the actual presentation, it will be "old hat" and much of your anxiety will have fled. Visualization is an important concept. Hey, do I hear a possible blog topic? Stay tuned………
Photo courtesy of willo
30. When the stress of having to get a job done gets in the way of getting the job done, diversion - a voluntary change in activity and/or environment - may be just what you need. Take a walk.
31. Talk it out. Discussing your problems with a trusted friend can help clear your mind of confusion so you can concentrate on problem solving. And I would add, write about it. Outside observers who are not involved in the situation can sometimes give the best advice. Or be an important sounding board for your thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
32. One of the most obvious ways to avoid unnecessary stress is to select an environment (work, home, leisure) which is in line with your personal needs and desires. If you hate desk jobs, don't accept a job which requires that you sit at a desk all day. If you hate to talk politics, don't associate with people who love to talk politics, etc. In other words, you need to love your job as much as I do. Helping others is my passion.
33. Learn to live one day at a time. One day, one hour, and one minute.
34. Every day, do something you really enjoy. Touché!
35. Add an ounce of love to everything you do. To quote an old cliché—“Love makes the world go Round.”
Photo courtesy of girldiplomat
36. Take a hot bath or shower (or a cool one in summertime) to relieve tension. And don’t forget to add your favorite soap, lotion, or bath salts. Why? Because it’s makes you feel better.
37. Do something for somebody else. I do this everyday with Iowa Avenue.
38. Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than on being loved. Listening is more important then talking.
39. Do something that will improve your appearance. Looking better can help you feel better. True dat!
40. Schedule a realistic day. Avoid the tendency to schedule back-to-back appointments; allow time between appointments for a breathing spell. This is something I need to “work” on. I always try to do too much, wishing each day had 28 hours instead of 24.
41. Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are fine to compromise upon. Be more flexible.
42. Eliminate destructive self-talk: "I'm too old to . . .," "I'm too fat to . . .," etc. Positive thinking is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
43. Use your weekend time for a change of pace. If your work week is slow and patterned, make sure there is action and time for spontaneity built into your weekends. If your work week is fast-paced and full of people and deadlines, seek peace and solitude during your days off. Feel as if you aren't accomplishing anything at work? Tackle a job on the weekend which you can finish to your satisfaction. One reason I hate laundry (Well, hate might be a little strong), is that it’s never done. As soon as you put the clothes in the dryer, there are more dirty clothes.
Photo courtesy of r-z
44. "Worry about the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves." That's another way of saying: take care of the today’s as best you can and the yesterdays and the tomorrows will take care of themselves. I don’t believe this one. You also need to look to the future, not only financially, but also toward your health and family.
45. Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and with no one or nothing else. When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and forget about everything else you have to do. Oh, sure, now you tell me, when I have 5 open window on my computer.
46. Allow yourself time - everyday - for privacy, quiet, and introspection. Down time is essential.
47. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with, then the rest of your day will be free of anxiety. If you worry about it all day, your day’s ruined.
48. Learn to delegate responsibility to capable others. I know it’s hard, but other people can do the job almost as well as you can, and with experience, they might do it better (Learn to let go.)
49. Don't forget to take a lunch break. Try to get away from your desk or work area in body and mind, even if it's just for 15 or 20 minutes. And make sure you include a salad or a soup.
50. Forget about counting to 10. Count to 1,000 before doing something or saying anything that could make matters worse. Enough said.
51. Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world. No one is perfect; therefore apply the same mentality for yourself. And move on.
Photo courtesy of Andy McCarthy UK
52. Have an optimistic view of the world. Believe that most people are doing the best they can. Only good things will come as a result Sure the world is full of bad people and events—but there are plenty of good people and fortuitous things to be thankful for as well..
Why not try a few of these anti-stress techniques, and let us know which one’s work for you, because, after all,
It’s about a healthy lifestyle!