April is National Stress Awareness Month – Learn How You Can Be Less Stressed
Stress is a part of everyday life, yet there are ways you can lessen the effects of stress and learn how to deal with it more effectively.
It’s very empowering to deal with stress calmly, feeling like you can manage a situation without the world crashing down on you. Take the time to read this article and try just one or two of these suggestions next time your life seems out of control.
Focusing on your breath can change your stress response in an instant.
Try this technique:
- Breathe in deeply (through your nose) to a count of four.
- Hold that breath in to a count of four.
- Breathe out to a count of six.
- Repeat this cycle three times.
Relax, stretch and move
Muscle tension is the number one symptom of stress.
To relieve muscle tension, tighten the muscles in certain body parts, e.g., your hands, feet and shoulders, for a few seconds, then relax them. Or, tighten your whole body, release the muscles and feel tension melt away. Then stretch your arms, back, legs and whole body. Work in a few stretches when you read emails and participate in conference calls.
Put a reminder in your calendar or set your cell phone’s alarm for every 60 minutes as a reminder to stand up for three minutes.
“Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Take a few minutes to evaluate how you’re doing in this moment; then focus on the issues that are really significant. Make a list of what you need to do. Crossing off items will give you a sense of accomplishment and control.
Give your full attention to the person speaking. Listening gives you a greater level of coherence and relaxation.
You may be a multi-tasker. In times of stress, it’s especially important to focus on one thing at a time. This will minimize your stress response.
Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes for a few moments in a quiet place. For longer lasting effects of meditation to reduce stress, check out a DVD at the library, find information online, or take a course in meditation.
Take 30 to 45 seconds to picture a place where you feel relaxed. Maybe it’s the beach, a national park, or a cozy sun room in your home. Visualize that location and harness the feelings you get from it. It takes you away and allows your body to neutralize and return to a natural state of homeostasis.
Step back and put things into perspective. List things you are thankful for. Stress happens when your mind resists "what is". Dan Millman, author and lecturer, said, “The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds."
Please share this article by Janette Westman, Health and Wellness Consultant and Rochester Wellness Committee Chair, with your employer groups and their employees.
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Some of the information in this article is from the Wellness Councils of America, www.welcoa.org