5 Tips To Stress Less and Live More
Written by: Doris Dahdouh
We have all been there; maybe you are even feeling this way right now.
STRESS. The dreaded word.
Often, there is so much to do that feelings of overwhelm become inevitable. When that overwhelming feeling takes over, your mind and body seem to automatically go into a submissive stance, feeling defeated and powerless. If this feeling persists, it can turn into full-blown stress, which can be unhealthy and uncomfortable. Once stress has taken over, you are more vulnerable to health problems and your quality of life is compromised.
Stress affects everything. It impacts your sleep, weight, concentration, eating habits, mood, even your physical appearance. Your muscles tense up. You become irritable. Your smile fades and you begin gaining weight. Maybe for you it comes in the form of insomnia, keeping you up all hours of the night. All you can think about is what you have to do tomorrow, what you should have gotten done today and the list of other things you need to accomplish before 5 o’clock on Friday.
But not to worry. You’re not alone and the good news is that there are healthy ways to calm your body and your mind to kick stress to the curb, allowing you to re-focus and keep going.
1. Step away from the situation. Your mind and body need a “timeout.” You need a break from whatever is making you feel overwhelmed and on its way to causing you unnecessary stress. Do something else – anything else – for a little while. Take a walk, meditate, or call a friend.
2. Do not binge on junk food. Stay away from the fridge and cupboard. I repeat, do not grab those box of cookies or bag of chips! Eating junk will make you feel worse physically and mentally. Make some herbal tea instead and sit somewhere quiet. Make sure the tea is organic because there are many tea brands that use toxic ingredients. Traditional Medicinals is a great product with a ton of delicious flavors! Go to Fitlife.tv for more information on toxic chemicals found in common tea brands.
3. Find some calming activities that work for you. Relax. I suggest that you start with practicing deep breathing. Go ahead, try it now. Take a deep breath in 1, 2, 3, 4…hold it…now breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4.
- Visualize your favorite place or destination as you breathe in and out. If you do not have one, search Google images for serene places and pick one. Print it and stare at it long enough that you can picture it when you close your eyes. Now, close your eyes and start breathing. Repeat at least 5 times.
- Get a coloring book and a box of crayons. Yes, that is correct. I said a coloring book and crayons. You can buy them at a dollar store. Create a quiet space to color (depending on how old you are, some of you may want do this in private due to the unpredictable reaction of others). Please refrain from using markers. Crayons have a smoother texture and the repetitive motion of coloring back and forth is a lot more therapeutic than using pointy markers. You will find that as you are concentrating on coloring meticulously that your brain will shift gears and you will feel surprisingly calmer.
- Get bubbles, the kind for kids. You can find this at a dollar store too. I know this suggestion may sound a little unorthodox for adults, but please do not stop reading. When you have your bubbles, take a deep breath and start blowing slowly with the goal of trying to make a very large bubble without popping it. The air that you are blowing out has to be slow and smooth in order to achieve that coveted large bubble. Repeat this action at least 10 times. You will now find that your heart rate has slowed down and your mind has started to clear. It is all in the breathing.
- Get a puzzle with at least 250 pieces and work on it for at least 15 minutes. This is also an activity that forces your mind to concentrate on the here and now. Remember you are doing the puzzle to relax and you may even enjoy it in the process.
- Chop and stir. Make a soup, salad or dish that involves a lot of chopping and stirring. The repetitive and constant motion of chopping onions and assorted veggies, plus stirring, can be very soothing.
4. Make a to-do list and congratulate yourself as you cross things off. When I have a lot to do, my mind goes into overload and I have no idea where to start. Writing things down according to priority usually helps. Tackle the hardest thing first (since it’s likely the last thing you want to do), cross it off the list and congratulate yourself. Doing one thing, even if it is just calling the cable company, is reason enough to celebrate. So smile and feel good about your accomplishment, even the small victories deserve your attention.
5. Change the way you see things. Sometimes things are not supposed to make it to completion. You are not a failure if you do not get it all done; there is always a greater purpose, a bigger picture. Maybe you are not meant to do whatever it is you were doing after all. Changing your mindset is key. There are some great examples of how to see things differently on Drew Canole’s Mindset Monday videos.
Help yourself to not stress by investing in yourself, your life and your spirit. You already know what to do and eventually, those things on your list will get done. Life is short so instead of stressing over things you cannot change, commit to doing your best each day and giving yourself credit and appreciation as you go
Doris Dahdouh has a Master’s Degree in social work and has helped counsel children and help families since 2001. In 2012, she became very ill due to a hormonal imbalance and autoimmune disorder. Doris was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) many years ago and was treated with mainstream medicine which did not help her. She hit rock bottom before finding refuge in holistic living, by juicing, going gluten free and eating clean, organic, whole foods. Over the past couple of years, Doris has educated herself on a healthy lifestyle by reading information by Dr. Joel Furhman, Drew Canole, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Josh Axe, Vani Hari (a.k.a. Food Babe) and more.
Doris is enrolled to become a certified health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is very excited to help others achieve their best by combining her psychoanalytic skills and what she hopes to learn in the health coaching certification program. With a heart for others, she is eager to continue assisting as many people as possible towards optimal health.
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