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Stress Relief Tips

Feeling Overwhelmed by Stress?

Percentage of Americans are stressed by:
  • Money – 83% (women), 78% (men)
  • Economy -84% (women), 75% (men)
  • Health Problems Affecting Family - 70% (women), 63% (men)
  • Work & heavy workloads – 66%
25% of us take a mental health day off from work due to stress. (according to the American Psychological Association)

When to Get Help with Stress
According to the American Psychological Association. seek professional help when:
  • You feel trapped, like there's nowhere to turn
  • You worry excessively and can't concentrate
  • The way you feel affects your sleep, your eating habits, your job, your relationships, your everyday life

Stress Relief Tips . . . try some of these de-stressing activities to help reduce anxiety & help maintain a balanced life:

Relaxation & Meditation: Structured relaxation & meditation can help control stress and improve your physical and mental well-being. Take a look at some of these techniques:

Biofeedback: a method of learning to relax, control stress responses, or modify the body's reactions through the use of monitoring equipment, training the autonomic nervous system (the part we don't consciously use) to relax.

Meditation: Focusing on religion, spiritual beliefs or purely on physical relaxation, meditation is one of the most popular techniques to achieve physical and mental relaxation.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: A method developed in the 1930s in which muscle groups are tightened and then relaxed in succession based on the idea that mental relaxation will be a natural outcome of physical relaxation.

Qigong: (pronounced "chee gong") This ancient Chinese Martial Art/health-care system combines physical training (such as isometrics, isotonics, and aerobic conditioning) with Eastern philosophy and relaxation techniques.

Tai chi: "Meditation in motion" is characterized by soft, flowing movements that stress precision and force.

Yoga: Yoga’s goal is to restore balance and harmony in the body and emotions through numerous postural and breathing exercises.

Exercise: Exercise promotes overall fitness and helps you manage emotional stress and tension from the release of endorphins. Being fit and healthy also increases your body’s ability to deal with stress. Start slow by taking the stairs, walking in your neighborhood, riding your bike. Just get moving!

Time management: Learn to prioritize tasks, avoid over-commitment, being overscheduled and feeling pressured. Check your calendar, planner, or PDA before committing or learn to say “let me get back to you after I check my calendar” to avoid commitments made under pressure that can cause you stress later.

Organization: Schedule time to organize your physical surroundings (office, desk, kitchen, closet, car) so that you won't be faced with the stress of constantly searching for misplaced items or being overwhelmed by clutter. Take 10 minutes to periodically sort through and organize piles of paperwork and clutter.

Take 5: Take a 5 minute deep breathing break, look away from the computer screen, close your eyes and visualize a relaxing place, stand up and stretch your arms, neck or legs. Breaking the monotony and changing the pace helps to refresh your perspective.

Helping Hand: Do something nice for another person. Studies show that altruism is good for your emotional well-being, and can measurably enhance your peace of mind. When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you may feel like you’re least able to give; however, altruism activates the area of the brain associated with positive feelings, lifting your spirits, making you feel better the more you give.

Connect Spiritually:  Spirituality has many benefits for stress relief and overall mental health. It can help you:

  • Feel a sense of purpose. Cultivating your spirituality may help uncover what's most meaningful in your life. By clarifying what's most important, you can focus less on the unimportant things and eliminate stress.
  • Connect to the world. The more you feel you have a purpose in the world, the less solitary you may feel — even when you're alone. This can lead to a valuable inner peace during difficult times.
  • Release control. When you feel part of a greater whole, you may realize that you aren't responsible for everything that happens in life. You can share the burden of tough times as well as the joys of life's blessings with those around you.
  • Expand your support network. Whether you find spirituality in a church, mosque or synagogue, in your family, or in nature walks with a friend, this sharing of spiritual expression can help build relationships.
  • Lead a healthier life. People who consider themselves spiritual may be better able to cope with stress and may experience health benefits.

Support systems: People with strong social support systems experience fewer physical and emotional symptoms of stress than their less-connected counterparts. Loved ones, friends, business associates, neighbors, and even pets are all part of our social networks. Cultivating and developing a social support network is healthy for both body and mind.