Probably the first thing to do is to figure out what’s causing your stress. This sounds like a relatively easy thing to do, but we internalize many of our problems and may not even know the cause or causes of what is bothering us. I think in many ways we tend to stick our heads in the sand and just hope that whatever it is will just go away. We also want to blame someone or something else for the stress we’re feeling. This won’t work. We need to change our own behavior or change the situation. We need to take responsibility for our part in the situation.
We need to learn to say, “No.” This is not an easy thing to do. There are books written about learning to say, “No.” We are raised learning to be non-confrontational. We want to make everybody happy. Since that’s impossible why not take care of ourselves, be as polite as we can but say no when the situation warrants it.
It’s so easy to take on more than we can handle whether it be the job, the kids, the neighbors or just our friends who want us to do something that inwardly we don’t want to do. How many times has someone asked you to do something and you didn’t want to or didn’t have the time and you did it anyway? We’re so afraid of people not liking us we go out of our way to do whatever everyone wants irregardless of how we feel.
If you are one of those people who can’t say “No” I’d like to recommend a very good book on the subject to you. This is a bestseller on Assertiveness Training called, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith, Ph.D.
If you happen to be where no one is around you could just scream. Amazing how good that makes you feel. If you can’t do that try pounding on your bed and screaming into your pillow. This can give you some very fast results. Just don’t go pound on anything alive! Don’t take your frustration out on others.
If you are prone to overeating replace that with something else. Do something you enjoy doing. Read a good book, go for a walk or a jog and don’t keep going to the refrigerator expecting something to be in there that you want to eat. I think it’s absolutely amazing that we can go to the refrigerator expecting different results each time we open the door a few minutes later.
Sleeping or withdrawing from the world isn’t the answer either, no more than taking drugs, drinking to excess or being so busy that we don’t have time to think about the cause of our suffering. Replace these behaviors with something healthy like a nice walk out in nature or even a walk around the block. I start my day with a three mile walk on the beach with my dogs. This gives me time for myself and it is beautiful and soothing. It’s very difficult to be stressed for very long when one is surrounded by beauty. I am very fortunate to be able to walk on the beach but before I lived here in Mexico I lived in Arizona and spent as much time as I could outside and again, went for a walk with the dogs every morning.
Having dogs, if you like them, is great because they need exercise and it’s up to their owners to give it to them. I’m sure I would find all kinds of excuses not to walk every morning if I didn’t have the dogs. I can’t procrastinate with two or three dogs sitting and waiting to go for their walk. There is also a safety factor thrown in here as I have two large dogs and no one ever bothers me when I’m out walking.
If you live in a city or community where there are yoga classes take them. Yoga is wonderful to relieve stress. Tai Chi, karate, self defense classes, dance classes and a myriad of others are wonderful stress re leavers.
Work on not being negative. Surround yourself with positive people. With the internet and places to go such as Facebook and Twitter we have a wonderful world of very positive people to surround ourselves with. If you have an unhappy relationship either accept it or do something about it. If your children are driving you nuts channel their energies in positive directions. Not only would it be good for you to involve yourself in the marshal arts or some other interesting and enjoyable class but involve your children as well.
Grow a garden. Talk about positive energy and the kids can help with this as well. Several years ago I decided I wanted to do a work program at the Tassajara Zen Center in Northern California outside of Big Sur. I had been there as a paying guest several times in the past but had not done any work. This particular time I didn’t have enough money to go as a paying guest so decided to enter a work program. I arrived at the Center about three in the afternoon and went to see what I could do. I was told I could do whatever I wanted and was given some options. One of the choices was to work in the garden. Absolutely amazing! The more I worked the more energy I felt. I did the same thing the next day and found the same thing to be true. More work…more energy and very positive energy. Certainly no stress at all.
If you are living an unhealthy lifestyle think seriously about changing it. You can do this! Stay away from all the fast food places, and don’t purchase anything that is refined and/or processed. Don’t buy any GMO foods. Reduce your caffeine and sugar. Get enough sleep. Enjoy a cup of hot tea and gather a good support group around you. Be willing to say you’re sorry. Do some meditation and smile a lot. I say hello to people all the time. For the most part they smile and say hello back, but if they don’t I feel it’s their loss…not mine. Express your feelings but don’t talk politics or religion if it stresses you out. Manage your time and deal with your problems. Don’t procrastinate!
Relaxation Techniques do not require complex exercises or equipments. Learn how.
Here is a wonderful saying that we all can use…Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference. Live a happy and healthy life. Life is unbelievably short so we need to enjoy every day and not let ourselves be bogged down and stressed out all the time. You will be amazed at how much stress you can get rid of if you take care of yourself. It’s not selfish…it’s essential.
Pick up your copy of When I say No, I feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith