Management Must-Do's: 7 Ways to Go From Distress to De-stress
By Michael Lee
In our continually
changing environment, our bodies and minds are suffering from
wear and tear. We call it STRESS. Sometimes itís family problems,
money problems, or problems at work. However, we all have to deal
with it from day to day. Having stress in your life is not the
issue these days, how you cope with it is more important. Living
a healthy lifestyle is one way to reduce the stress levels. When
youíre living healthy, you just automatically cope with stress
better. Developing ways to deal with your stress makes you more
resilient, more energetic, with concentration that is more effective.
The first step to
determining how you handle stress is knowing what causes it. Many
find keeping a stress journal very helpful for understanding not
only the causes, but also for giving you insight as to how you
react. Use it to record each event in your life, how youíre feeling,
exactly what causes you to feel stressed and out of control, or
in other words, the patterns of stress in your life.
Once youíve determined
the cause or causes of stress in your life, you can then go about
finding ways to de-stress, or decompress, bringing harmony back
into your life.
1) Relaxation techniques,
such as music are very effective in calming your harried mind.
Music helps by calming you down, giving your mind a chance to
relax if only for a few minutes. Find a quiet place, where you
can be alone, pop in a CD of soft sounds, such as ocean waves
or falling rain. Experiment until you determine which sound makes
you feel relaxed and calm. Turn on the CD, close your eyes and
take a deep breath. Focus on the sound, push everything else from
your mind. Let your muscles relax, one at a time. Let yourself
just get lost in the sound.
2) Breathing techniques
are very helpful and can be used almost anywhere, even at work.
Once again, find a quiet place to sit down. Close your eyes and
take a deep breath, then let it out. Take the next breath slowly,
counting to five, hold that breath to the count of four, then
release it very slowly. This works particularly well if you feel
a bit panicky. When in panic mode, the body tends to breathe very
fast and shallow, intensifying the feeling of fight-or-flight.
Doing this breathing technique for fifteen or twenty minutes will
be very calming.
3) Sleep is so important,
especially during extremely stressful times, but stress often
makes getting to sleep very difficult. The thoughts keep swirling
around in your mind, keeping you awake. Let your body get used
to a routine by keeping the same bedtime each night, even on weekends.
In addition, several hours before bedtime, give your brain a chance
to wind down. Avoid any mentally demanding work and agitation.
Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine will help you fall asleep
more easily. Instead of watching television, find a nice relaxing,
book. Before you know it, your body will relax, your eyes will
close, and youíll drift off for a great nightís sleep.
4) Exercise is another
great way to de-stress your body and your mind. It improves blood
flow to the brain, bringing it more oxygen. Believe it or not,
long hours of sitting and thinking cause the neurons of your brain
to build up toxic waste products. If youíve ever experienced that
foggy feeling, that feeling that your brain has turned to mush,
this is why. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins, into
your blood stream. These endorphins are what give you that happy
feeling, a feeling of well-being. When the pressure is on, itís
the more physically fit people who are able to fight off illness.
Youíll stay healthier and suffer less from burnout. Please remember
to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. In
addition, keep in mind that exercise should be fun. If it stops
being fun, youíll stop exercising.
5) Try and spend time
with your loved ones. Relaxing with family and friends is a great
stress reliever. Finding fun activities will make you feel happy,
relaxed, and more able to handle the day-to-day stress. They say
laughter is the best medicine, so laugh and enjoy life whenever
you can. Take regular vacations. Not only will you enjoy the break
from work and home duties, but just the act of planning and looking
forward to the vacation will improve your state of mind. Sometimes,
anticipation is half the fun.
6) Find a hobby or
a sport that you enjoy. If your work is very competitive, try
and find something that will allow you to relax and enjoy yourself.
Reading, gardening, sewing, etc. allows your mind to focus on
something besides the worries. Moreover, working with your hands
and being creative is very freeing.
7) Try a little positive
thinking. Use your imagination
to conjure up positive images and thoughts of your desired outcome.
Itís a fact that optimists enjoy increased health and long life,
have less stress, and are able to move forward and succeed where
others might quit. We all have to expect some failures, some sorrow
and frustration, but we donít have to let them rule our lives.
Find some like-minded friends who will remind you of your successes
now and then. Focus on realistic goals and remember that failure
isnít fatal. And donít be so hard on yourself. Tomorrow is another