From the regular, ongoing stress that comes from living in a complex, high-impact culture to specific life events that knock us for a loop, when the negative effects of non-stop stress accumulate, they damage our health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Paying attention and recognizing when we hit stress “hot spots” is the essential first step. The second step is to take action to reduce and better manage stress. The following are simple daily practices to help you maintain balance and get back to well-being at particularly stressful times.
1: Breathe. Deeply. Especially when you find yourself irritable or angry.
2: Find stillness. Your bedroom, a park bench, your car—where you can be quiet and restful. Go there when you need to. Meditate.
3: Relax. Take a bath, nap or shower. Sit in the sun or shade. Get a massage. Do nothing.
4: Watch what you eat. Don’t over or under eat; drink water; eat fruits and veggies. Easy on the sugar, caffeine, fatty foods and alcohol.
5: Get it out. Talk to trusted friends, a coach or counselor. Write in a journal. Pound a pillow.
6: Say no. Remember the Lesson of the Oxygen Mask. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you’ll have no well to draw from for helping others.
7: Get physical. Exercise, walk, play a game, dance, sing, garden.
8: Try something new. Change your perspective with new people, new ideas, new activities, new beliefs.
9: Smile and laugh out loud. Force it at first, if necessary. It’s impossible to stay negative or burdened with a grin on your face.
10: Have fun. Don’t forget to take time to play, be creative and do things that nourish your soul.