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Why is it that work, home, family and financial worries all conspire to heap stress upon you at precisely the same time, so that even finding time for stress management becomes stressful? Everyone knows that you are most in need of stress relief precisely when you are busiest, which is exactly when you have the least time to practice it. Is there any wonder so many people simply put off going for a massage until their stress passes?
Stress is now recognized as one of the biggest contributors to most of the serious diseases known to mankind. Strokes, heart attacks, even the speed of post operative recovery are all exacerbated by stress. And stress has far reaching social implications too. Behavioral changes such as loss of motivation, memory loss, listlessness and inappropriate aggression mean that many millions of dollars of global productivity are lost each year. Prolonged stress can cause relationships to break down, leading to loneliness, depression and other mental health issues, even suicide.
So ignoring your need for stress relief, simply because you are busy, is not a healthy long term option. There is another way. Millions of people do find time to follow stress management programs successfully. So what are they doing and how are they doing it?
Here are some examples of stress reduction techniques that you can incorporate into your daily life:
Whenever you feel the stress rising, take a step back from the situation. If you can, walk away from it altogether for a while to take time to think about it. If you’re in a meeting, this might be the perfect opportunity to get the coffees. You will find you can think more clearly when you come back.
Practice deep breathing several times a day. This takes just a few minutes but can make a lot of difference. When you are stressed you tend to shallow breathe, which means you take in much less oxygen per breath. This brings on headaches, increases muscle tension and increases your feelings of being stressed. Deep breathing helps alleviate all of this.
Count backwards from 10. If you know a foreign language, Spanish, French, Japanese, or whatever and can count in that, then so much the better. Because it takes more effort for you to think in a foreign language, counting backwards from 10 forces your brain to concentrate more on the task in hand, providing temporary respite and relaxation from your immediate stress.
Find half an hour each day for yourself. If you think this is impossible, try getting up half an hour earlier, or cutting out TV. Use the time to read, go for a gentle stroll, listen to your favorite music or take a relaxing bath. The cumulative effect of this over time will significantly reduce your stress.
When you are already stressed finding time to practice stress relief techniques can actually leave you more stressed out. Follow these tips and you’ll soon reap the benefits.