Three ways to deal with stress

Do you have stress in your day?

Most of us do. The question is, how do we deal with it?

Some signs of stress can be low energy, difficulty sleeping, frequent colds and infections, indigestion, constipation,diarrhea, or nausea, headaches or ringing in the ears, mystery aches and pains, nervousness or shaking, and at its worse, shortness of breath and chest pain.

The most common response to these symptoms is to think that there is something physically wrong. ( And there could be.) But if you get checked out by your doctor, they can’t find an underlying cause, then it could be related to stress.

Sometimes we don’t take the time to digest our experiences. If we go from one activity to another, or have a lot of responsibility, or have personal relational or financial difficulties, and don’t take time for ourselves, then we aren’t fully digesting what is happening within, which can lead to some of the above symptoms. It’s rather like not chewing food well.

The first way that I have found helpful in handling stress is to only do one thing at a time. At work this is a huge challenge, as I have a lot of demands placed on me at any given time. Even though at times I slip and catch myself trying to multitask, I actually get more done with less stress and less error when I focus on only one thing at a time.

The second way is to sit with yourself. Meditation is the best way to do this, but before I started meditating, there were other things I tried that were helpful, and I still do some of them now. When I was in a bad relationship, I learned, through the help of some great people in Al-Anon, to give myself 15 minutes to have a good cry, which releases a lot of stress, then wash my face or take a bath or shower. (Or cry in the bath or shower!) If you cry more longer than that, things can just get worse.

Third, look at your eating and sleeping habits. Are you eating nourishing food on a regular basis? Try to eat 3 meals a day with the midday meal being the largest, and don’t eat after about 7 pm. Are you staying up late watching a marathon of your favorite show? Not the greatest thing for getting  a good night’s sleep!

Other ideas are to take a walk in nature, connect with animals, or sit by a body of water. I have found that just listening to the sound of birds calling or saying hello to a dog brings me a sense of inner peace. Take a gentle yoga class. Do something creative. Get away from social media or electronics for a bit. Read a good book, or engage in laughter through a funny movie, socializing with good people, or engaging in a pillow fight. It is best to try “old-fashioned” ideas – non electronic!

Take care of yourself, and remember to breathe!

“Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.”                       – Anthony Burgess

 

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