Sunday, January 29, 2012

Less Stress, More Life

Stress kills, we've all heard that...and it's true.  In addition to sapping your focus and productivity, disrupting your peace, and making you feel, well, miserable, stress leads to heart attacks, strokes, and even obesity.  It causes rising levels of hormone that attack every cell of your body.

Telling someone "not to stress" probably causes more of the same, in addition to making you just want to, quite honestly, slap the person that told you that since they obviously failed to recognize (or seem to care about) the reality of whatever situation is causing your stress in the first place. That's a platitude with no real solution. In order to conquer stress, you need a real strategy. It requires work, effort, and a plan. 

Strategy. If certain situations cause you stress, it's time to make a list of potential strategies to address these situations. Just putting it down on paper will help to make the situation a bit more conquerable. Finding a group of people similarly situated to help brainstorm solutions also helps, and nothing wrong with a little venting - so long as it leads to productive strategizing.

Exercise.  Well, the thought of it might create a bit more stress if it isn't part of your regular routine, but once it is you will find the release of endorphins and lowering of cortisol (and reduction of your waistline) a major stress-reliever. Join a gym if you like, or just start taking free, regular walks. A run on the beach is my favorite, but when that's not practical, a walk around the neighborhood will do just as well.

Meditation. Often shrouded in mystery, meditation is a real stress reliever, and can be practically done at any time of the day.  It can be as simple as finding a nice quiet place (my favorite is the local beach) and just taking a few moments to relax and enjoy the view. You can begin with a positive-thinking exercise.  

For a great start to your day, try this simple mediation technique:  
Think positive thoughts about how you want your day to be. Laugh at any obstacles that arise throughout your day.  

Massage. Aside from the many other health benefits of massage, it is an amazing stress-reliever.  Find a local therapist. If you found the perfect fit the first time - great! If not, get some recommendations and try a few until you find just the right one.  Best investigation experience you'll ever have :)

Implement these ideas and you'll see less stress, and find more things to enjoy about your life.  

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