I never thought too much about the definition of the word stress until I began writing this article. The first definition has to do with importance being attached to a thing, i.e. "She stressed good manners in her household."
The way we tend to think about the word stress these days is in relation to pressure. Fifth definition - the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain. Are you feeling pushed or pulled as if another force is being exerted upon you? Are you feeling frazzled (weary, tired, a remnant or thread)?
Deep down you know you have taken on too much. You feel some anxiety but aren't sure how to deal with it. If this is the case for you, here are 10 different ways you can find relief and begin feeling more relaxed and in control.
1) Communicate your current state of mind and body. Write down on a piece of paper or type on your computer how you are feeling including your aches and pains, mood and frustrations. Giving yourself the time to vent will begin the process of acknowledging how you feel and this is key to creating positive change.
2) Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Jot down only 3 or 4 and if you can't remember what you enjoy doing, go back in time to what you did enjoy doing as a younger person. This exercise will remind you to begin putting these things back on your calendar.
3) Find a quiet place and some quiet time. Do this even if only for 10-15 minutes to be still and relax your mind. You can sit or lay down but be intentional that this is quiet time. Repeat in your mind over and over..."I am relaxing." I do this in bed sometimes when I can't sleep. I simply remind myself that I am resting and to not worry about sleeping.
4) Try five minutes of deep breathing. Sitting in a chair or couch or lying in your back with your knees bent, start to breathe from your low belly up through your torso to the neck and collarbones. Inhale and exhale slowly, counting to 4 or 6 to help you slow it down. Repeat your deep breaths a minimum of 5 times. This is the greatest thing you can do for your health.
5) Take a basics yoga class. Yoga takes concentration which brings you out of your work and worried mind into a focused and relaxed mind. While yoga can be exhilarating, the movement of strengthening and stretching brings great physical, mental and emotional relief.
6) Try using essential oil of lavendar or citrus blend to give you a feeling of well-being. The fragrance brings an automatic relaxation response and reminds you that there are beautiful smelling things in the world. There's something about things that smell good which make us feel good.
7) Go for a short walk - especially if you haven't walked for a long time. Keep it short and sweet and either play some music in your ear or simply be alone and silent. The key is to get a little alone time and some exercise. This will help you rest better at night.
8) Plan a weekend getaway. If you haven't done this for a long time, do it now. Get together with a girlfriend or a manfriend (talking to men too) and go have some fun. Pick a destination that you know will be interesting and fun for you. My husband went to San Franscisco with a couple of friends, visited Alcatraz and had a blast. He came back so relaxed.
9) Schedule a massage. I know it seems like an extravagant expense, but consider it more of a preventive medicine expense. Sometimes you just need to be in a quiet room, listening to soothing music and having someone rub your body. Do it!
10) Go on a weeklong retreat. Stress can bring on a host of illnesses and this is one way to take care of yourself. Look for a place that offers whole, healthy food, exercise options, pools, beaches, seminars and a comfy bed.
Reducing stress is so important for your health. If none of these recommendations resonates with you, research stress reduction and find something that does. Best to you in your quest for better health.
Lisa Kneller is the publisher of Midlife Living Well, a lifestyle website and online magazine providing solutions for midlife living. She also teaches yoga in the Scottsdale, AZ area.
For more information and solutions to midlife issues, visit http://www.midlifelivingwell.com
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