10 Steps to Reduce Stress in Your Life
By John Koeberer
There is no doubt that stress kills. There are many health professionals and medical analyses that validate the strong negative impact stress has on your health and general well-being, as well as your longevity. It is the chronic, day in and day out stress that is the problem. It can exacerbate pain, cause depression, obesity, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and even contribute to the advancement of Alzheimer's and cancer. There is good evidence that uncontrolled stress takes a major detrimental toll in so many areas affecting your good health...physical, mental, and emotional. There is good reason to learn how to control it.
Stress is the result of receiving some sort of threat to our well-being and your body reacts by secreting cortisol and adrenaline which increases your heart beat, blood pressure, strength, stamina, and general alertness. That threat can come from many sources but it usually is job or relationship based but other sources can be problems with your children, your health, or your finances along with your own unrealistic expectations. Your muscles become tight, your senses are heightened, and you are ready for flight or fight. You learned all that to survive many centuries before. We all know that prolonged stress is bad stuff...the important thing is knowing how to deal with it effectively. Here are ten steps to help.
1. Accept the fact that few escape stress. Don't think you are immune and not subject to its negative consequences. Know thy enemy. Educate yourself more fully on just how stress can manifest itself.
2. Know for certain that you can beat stress. This is key...it is this inner knowing -- not just believing -- that will make you successful in your head to head with stress. Go onto the internet and review all the positive stories of those who have dealt successfully with stress and come out on the other end with productive and happy lives. There is much value in the knowledge that others have experienced exactly your situation and more than survived very successfully.
3. Get comfortable with your own physical, emotional, and mental self-maintenance regimens. Know that a good diet, a strong exercise program combined with a good self image, and some inaugural low key spiritual practices can prepare you to deal successfully with stress. Just the knowledge that your mind, body and soul are in sturdy shape is a huge deterrent to stress getting a foothold.
4. Adopt the attitude that "as one door closes another one always opens". Know that all things happen for a reason and that there is something better just around the corner. When you start "knowing" this, you will see so many examples magically start appearing in your life.
5. Bring humor into your life... Documentation abounds on the positive impact of humor. Watch humorous movies, explore humor on the internet, and learn to laugh things off. When you laugh, your body secretes endorphins - positive mood enhancers.
6. Adopt more positive friends and discard those that are continually negative. These kinds of people have an immense negative impact... avoid them. Cheer up your living environment by bringing more cheerful, optimistic, and friendly people into your life. Turn the lights up, take time to smell the flowers and treat yourself on a regular basis to some chocolate, or a splurge dinner or vacation. It is important to have something to look forward to that makes you smile.
7. Bring more sunshine into your life...literally. Vitamin D3 is good for positive physical, mental, and emotional enhancement. Get out from under the umbrella and enjoy the warmth for short periods.
8. Adopt the thought that ... "this too shall pass". We can all recollect so many times in our life of instances that we thought at the time were real deal killers...only to turn out to be not even a small ant hill.
9. Eliminate the need to be "right". Needing to be right is so important for so many of us that we destroy relationships and careers and eventually ourselves in its pursuit. Dr. Wayne Dyer has a great way to diffuse situations in which you find yourself needing to be right. He says just to say to the offending party, "You're right about that!" and then let it go.
10. And finally and most importantly...Imagine yourself living a life without stress. Deeply internalize what that life might look like and feel the emotions that accompany that life and then start living your life as if that life was already in and about you. Adopt some time each day for some contemplative moments to remember to do all these exercises but especially this one.
Someday, health experts will look back on how we are living our lives and realize how deadly stress was to our 21st century society.