Fall is officially here, and if you are like most of us your life seems to have wound up again. Vacation is over and the lazy days of summer are long past. As momentum builds with things to do, so does the stress. While small amounts of stress can help you to be productive, when it grows exponentially it becomes a hazard to your well being. In addition, have you noticed as you become more stressed, you actually think less clearly and become less productive and you block out inspiration.

If this has become the reality of your life, what can you do about it? Here are a few tips that may help you decrease the stress in your life and help you to be more calm and relaxed.

1. “Move a Muscle, Change a Thought”– is an AA quote. If you find yourself caught up in obsessive, non-productive thinking, MOVE! When you are at the office, get away from your desk for five minutes. Take a walk around the block, climb a flight of stairs, or just go to the bathroom. If you are in a less structured environment or at home, get out for 20 minutes and do an errand or take a longer walk.

2. Change your thought channel – Listen to some music. I find it helpful to have a playlist that especially keeps me calm or upbeat and I listen to that specific playlist when I need a particular mood change. Talk to a friend – whether it is in person or by phone. Or do a project that takes focus and concentration: cooking, painting, Sudoku.

3. Be Realistic about the task at hand – Prioritize and remove or postpone the non-essentials on your list and you will find you become more relaxed and more productive. If you are feeling over whelmed by a messy desk, house or an unpleasant task, conquer it in small chunks. An easy way to make some headway is to set a timer and work on it for only 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, so are you. Move on to what is more important.

4. Breathe – One of the most calming things you can do for your mind and body is to take slow deep breaths. (In fact, one of the reasons cigarette smoking is so calming is because the individual inhales slowly and deeply then exhales the same way). Your breath is always available to you. Practice taking 3 slow deep breaths at regular intervals during non-crisis times; allow yourself to inhale peace and exhale any troubling thoughts or emotions. As you become proficient at this, you will be able to use this technique to calm yourself when you are feeling stress.
Summer vacation is truly over and you are back into the groove of life. The reality is that you will be thrown some curve balls, more demands are now placed on you as work and school heat up, your day will probably get more complicated but your spirit can still ease into it. The mind is a very powerful tool. As you change your attitude, you can change your life.

Blog questions:
1. What causes you daily stress?
2. What do you do to remove stress from your life?

Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life. ~Terri Guillemets

Author's Bio: 

JoAnne is a sought after and experienced lecturer who believes in the connection of emotional health to body, mind and spirit. She has integrated clinical counseling with holistic techniques and has formalized her knowledge by creating the Journey Back to Self program. She began public speaking in 1991 and has offered this workshop at the National Association of Social Workers Conference, The Connecticut Business Woman's Forum, BayState Medical "Spirit of Women" and New England Yoga studios.