Five Strategies to Reduce Stress NOW!

By Rosalie Moscoe, R.N.C.P

You're overwhelmed by the many things you have to do. Your mind is constantly on work. Your heart pounds, you have a neck ache, back ache, poor digestion, and you're so tired by the end of the day that you become a couch potato at night. You have little or no patience for those around you. If this description is all too familiar, it's time to take charge of your stress before it takes charge of you! Stress is said to be responsible for 50-80% of all illness - a good reason to do something about it. Not all stress is bad; - i.e. a wedding, a social event, starting a new, exciting job. It's our reaction to events that will determine whether we will feel distress or not. What is stressful for one person may not even phase another. Knowing your triggers is a good place to start.

  1. a) Make a list of what's bothering you. Are you doing too much? Are relationships at the base of your problems? Is your work load too great or do you hate many things about your job? Are you a workaholic? Is poor money management your problem? Or is it too much coffee? Are you doing what you want to be doing in life? Make a simple plan for each item taking steps to do something about it.
    b) Make a list of what's going well in your life. Read each list over and over until you feel you have a better perspective.

  2. Just stop and take a couple of deep breaths- right down to your belly. Do the "Ten Second Break." Take in a deep belly breath to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of four. Allow your eyes to close and exhale to the count of four. As you exhale imagine something warm coming over your body from your head to your toes and repeat to yourself "I am calm." Repeat a few times throughout the day.

  3. Use positive self talk to replace old negative message that often rumble through our heads causing psychological and emotional stress. Use messages like "I'm a worthy person," I'm doing the best that I can." "Look how far I've progressed and I'm still moving forward." "I can remain calm with this difficult person." "I can get through this." "This too will pass."

  4. Get rid of the bound energy that lurks in muscles causing many physical problems. Put some form of physical activity into your life on a regular basis. Even 14 minutes on a treadmill or a brisk walk around the block can reduce anxiety, banish stress and fatigue.

  5. Feed your nervous system with quality foods. Reduce junk food; coffee, pizza, muffins, cakes, pastries, and other white flour products. Increase water, fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and low fat protein sources such as chicken, fish and lean cuts of meats. Use raw almonds, raw sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds as snacks and most importantly, replace supermarket oil with cold pressed olive oil. Since stress can deplete vitamins (especially the B's) and minerals as well as depress our immune system, investigate supplementation such as a good quality vitamin and mineral formula.
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