Stress Reduction Tips
Meditate. Make daily meditation a priority in your life. Set aside time on a daily basis to meditate. Classes are available in most areas. The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson is a good primer when classes are not convenient.
Deep Breathing. Take deep belly expanding breaths. Take at least two to three deep breaths each time you notice your shallow breathing. Place self-adhesive notes around your environs to remind yourself to take deep breaths. Put them in your car, office, bathroom, cubicle, and studio – wherever you spend time.
Exercise. Get plenty of physical exercise. You are more likely to continue exercising when you pick a form of exercise that you enjoy. Step out the front door and walk around the neighborhood. Swim, bike, hike, run, dance, skate, ski, play basketball, etc.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Lie on your back and tense each group of muscles progressively up your body, hold for a few seconds and then release them. Start with your toes, then feet, then ankles, then calves, etc. proceeding up your body. Finish by tensing all the muscles in your body, holding for a few seconds and then releasing.
Guided Imagery. Find a quiet, comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine you’re in a completely comfortable, safe, relaxing place. Notice the colors, sights, sounds, textures and temperature, all the senses to make it seem as real as possible. Hold the image of this place for three to five minutes. Go there in your mind whenever you notice yourself stressed.
Simplify. Cross items off your “To Do” list that aren’t absolutely necessary. Hire someone else to do some of the necessities. Schedule some down time like you schedule other times. Free time is great for relaxation and creativity.
Healthy Consumption. Eat a moderate amount of healthy foods and drink plenty of water. Limit intake of sugary foods, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol (if at all).
Need More Help. Some stress inducing problems may be addressed yourself and others can be resolved most expediently with the help of a professional. Consider enlisting the help of others, friends, or relatives. A doctor may be necessary to help diagnose an underlying medical condition that is hindering your well being. Other professionals are available for organizing, coaching, personal training, therapy, etc.
Ellen Odza, MFT