Scallywag

Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.

~ Bob Newhart ~

Stress This!

October 28th, 2011 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 25 secs

Stress? I'm not stressed!

I cannot stress this too highly: when you’re under fire and the pressure is building on all sides, carry onRegardless of the stress, wipe the tears from your eyes and keep on walking, running, breathing, and swallowing. Why? Well when you are facing a trying test, perseverance works best.

Stress in our modern world rarely involves running away from lions or crocodiles anymore. More often, it’s from shouting bosses, broken down vehicles, misbehaving teens, down the toilet finances, and relationship bust ups.

But the effect is the same. With your fight-or-flight behavior kicking in you want to shout back at your boss, kick your car, slam the door on your teen, and run away from the rest.

Having tried these for myself (though not all at once), I’ve found none works well. So instead of reacting, I prefer carrying on regardless.

Is it easy? Nope.

Does it give you a bit of distance to process what’s going on? Only a little.

Then why bother?

The answer is that our stress reaction to any given situation is our own to deal with. Nobody else will care that much about these situations, so we need to handle our stress ourselves. Fortunately, being a natural phenomenon, stress behaviors also have foreseeable features. Meaning, there are common ways to handle and reduce stress effects.  Some will work better for you than others so the trick is to experiment.

Personally, I would be curious to hear from you and discover what you already do to lower your own stress when it gets out of hand. Meantime, here are eight stress-busting methods you can try:

1. Pat your pet. If you have a cat or dog, giving them a friendly stroking and talking too is a marvelous way of lowering your stress levels. Though studies provide mixed conclusions, a ten-year study conducted in the US found pets have a calming effect.

2. Enjoy chocolate. Not only does it taste good, but chocolate (especially dark chocolate), can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Apparently 40grams or 1½ oz. a day is the magic amount.

3. Run a bath. Add bubbles, and hang a do not disturb sign up outside the door. Some people find a hot shower works well at reducing stress too.

4. Go walking or running to let your body mop up the excess cortisol in your bloodstream. By doing something physical about your stress you may be able to bypass the endless loop of ruminating thoughts that rarely leaves you feeling better.

5. Dear diary type reflective writing can work wonders for stress and a whole lot of other anxiety related concerns. The act of writing defines the problem so you don’t leave it free-floating in your mind. Plus, it creates space between you and the issue itself. By reflecting and activating a different part of your brain in the process, jotting down your experiences gives you another way of things.

6. Balloon blowing can help too. The act of breathing deeply in a measured way can settle you down when you’re feeling stressed. It’s a bit weird but the effect makes it well worth trying.

7. Laugh out loud as quickly as you can about what has happened. Laughing changes the way you see the situation, forcing a stressful idea to be considered differently.

8. Friend power is a brilliant resource when you are feeling stress overload. Give a friend a call and go and see them if you can. Shoot the breeze and get it all off your chest. You can even mix in a bit chocolate therapy too!

Feegs

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