Exercise. Exercise can be an extremely effective stress reliever. When life’s annoyances or frustrating situations build up, you can feel stressed. Aerobic exercise like walking, bicycling, swim ming, jogging, and aerobics can provide an effective release of these negative emotions, turning these otherwise potentially unhealthy emotions into motivation for increased health and well-being. Exercise decreases stress hormones, including cortisol,and increasing endorphins, your body’s feel-good hormones, giving your mood a natural boost. Physical activity can also take your mind off of your problems and either redirect it on the activity at hand or get you into a zen-like state.
Breathe Deeply. Feeling stressed evokes tense, shallow breathing, while calm is associated with relaxed breathing. Inhale slowly, taking deep breaths, feeling your entire belly, sides and lower back expand. Exhale, sighing again as you drop your chest, and feeling your belly, back and sides contract. Repeat 10 times, relaxing more fully each time.
Meditate. Meditation involves focusing the mind on a single thought or phrase. It involves staying in the present. Any repetitive action can be a source of meditation. This includes walking, swimming, painting, knitting or any activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment. When you catch yourself thinking about your job, your relationship or your lifelong to-do list simply let the thought escape, and bring your mind back the repetition of the activity. Try it for just 5 to 10 minutes a day to start.
Visualization. To start, simply visualize anything that keeps your thoughts away from current tensions. It could be a favorite vacation spot, a fantasy island, a place in the country or something tangible, like the feel of your favorite silk robe or cozy sweater. The idea is to take your mind off your stress, and replace it with an image that evokes a sense of calm. The more realistic your visualization, in terms of colors, sights, sounds, and touch the more relaxation you’ll experience.
Listen to music. Music can calm the heartbeat and soothe the soul. Music helps take your mind off your life stressors. So when the going gets rough, take a musical stress detour by listening to your favorite songs.
Laugh. See the humor in life. Laugh at your self and life. Have fun and “play” at life. Act like a child, who has no worries. Watch a good comedy on TV or see one at the movies. Read a funny book or comics.
Learn to say no. Allow yourself to say no to some requests. Don’t over commit yourself. Put yourself first; say yes to you.
Live in the moment. Stop fantasizing about “What If “. Stop thinking about things in the past that you cannot change and stop focusing on things in the future that may or may not occur. Choose from what is available, now. Enjoy the present. Do not miss what is happening now. Enjoy the blue sky, the tall mountains, the colorful flowers, or that gorgeous sunset. Do not miss out.
Write it down. Make notes to yourself. Make a to do list. Write special dates down on your calendar. This way you will not worry about forgetting to do important things.
Be human. Touch, hug someone, hold hands, stroke a pet, make contact with friends and family. Spend time with your pet. Communicate with friends. Spend time with each other. Share the good stuff. Hug three people each day. Relax and enjoy the feeling of human connection.
Dr Greenberg is a clinical cardiologist who specializes in preventive cardiology, nutrition, exercise, and longevity. He favors using natural methods to improving one's health.
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