Twelve Practical Ways to Stop Stress - From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale

From our friends at fact hacker.com, here are some outstanding (and simple) ways to cope with stress.  Especially timely during the Holidays.

Have you ever heard of the word karoshi? Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to sudden death and the Japanese call this phenomenon karoshi. It literally means death from overwork mainly from heart attack and stroke due to stress.

We all know that stress kills and it needs to be managed and controlled. Left unaddressed it will bring you down, can cause depression, anxiety, disease and even karoshi, death. It is essential that we get a grip on our stress.  Below are 12 practical ways to stop stress:

  1. Express Your Happiness - Laugh hard and loud. If you don’t have a sense of humor, find someone else who does. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.
  2. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule - You will be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your schedules as they pertain to your job, relationships, and other activities. Much of this entails simplifying. And when you are mostly in control of your time, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely.  Remember to leave room for unexpected events, both negative and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments. Just building in a little extra time can do wonders for relieving the stress of rushing from one thing to the next.  Avoid procrastinating on important or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing, do it immediately. Do the unpleasant tasks early, so that you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day. Also, keep a digital schedule. Don’t just rely on your memory.  Lastly, do your tasks one thing at a time at a time. Focus your attention on the present moment, whether it is the person talking to you or the job at hand. This helps you to avoid making errors – which lead to more tension and anxiety. Be patient in waiting. Anxiety caused by impatience can rise up your blood pressure. Say no to requests that you cannot accomplish. Delegate trivial tasks. You must remember that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Crack a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with the suitable skills.
  3. Work Out - Strive and get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking or interval training or whatever appeals to you. Regardless of what you do, exercise considerably reduces the stress factor. Work out also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body. Just be sure to avoid excessive exercise, however, as this may have an adverse effect and might cause more stress.
  4. Take Slow Deep Breaths - Take time throughout your ay to calm down your muscles and breathe deeply and slowly. Do it several times. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing to you. You can even make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve.
  5. Food Makes All the Difference - Try not to skip meals and be sure you are eating the most nutrient-dense and healthy foods possible. Avoid packaged foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and grains. These types of foods cause major stress on the body without providing nourishment. Getting proper nutrition through your food is essential. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress.
  6. Live Optimistically - Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Try not to exaggerate the complexity of your problems. Every problem has a solution. All you need to do is deal with it. Learning to be happy and to enjoy life is a blessing. Live one day at a time.
  7. Put Off Problems Earlier Than They Occur - This takes some preparation. If you are going to another city for an valuable meeting, carry your presentation materials and dress suit on board the plane. Acquire gas for the car before the tank is unfilled. Get usual oil changes and checkups. Keep food ready anytime at your house so you can fix a fast meal without going to the store. Keep food, supplements, and toiletries on hand so you never have to feel tensed when they run out.
  8. Allow Yourself to Enjoy Life - Grant yourself some physical pleasure and enjoyment to help your stress slip away. Indulge yourself to a professional massage, or trade massages with a loved one. Be sure to give yourself consent every now and then to enjoy a movie, watch a concert or sports event, listen to music, sit quietly or read a book. Take pleasure in a soothing cup of chamomile herb tea. (Chamomile has long been used to relieve nervous tension.)
  9. Create Goals - If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there. It is important to set goals for yourself. Research shows that people are more likely to make progress and get ahead when they lay out specific goals.  Time management experts highlight the importance of writing down your important goals. Break big projects down into a series of small steps that you can work on every day. Want to change jobs? Contact one prospective employer today. Is writing a book your dream? Commit to writing one page a day. Inch by inch, slowly but surely, you will get to your ultimate destination.  Knowing that you are striving toward your dreams relieves frustrations that mount when you feel stuck in a situation that seem to have no direction.  Likewise, be flexible with your goals and adjust them as life changes.
  10. Recharge Your Spirit Daily - Schedule private time alone every day for at least 15 minutes. You deserve it and you need it. Turn off the telephone and enjoy a quiet time. A shower or bath is great. So is sitting and meditating. You may want to spend a few minutes writing your feelings out in a journal. It can help you find a new viewpoint in life and relieve internal conflicts.
  11. Get Sufficient Sleep - Settle on how much sleep you require for best possible performance. Lack of sleep worsens the body’s responses to stress and lowers the immune system. We simply cannot function properly without adequate sleep. It is key to physical and emotional health. Aim for at least 7 – 9 hours per night.
  12. You Don’t Have to Do It All - Always remember that you don’t have to attain all the money, fame, and success in the world. Today’s society has too much of a focus to build up as many accomplishments as we can. It leaves it impossible for us to balance our personal life, family life and work life. There is only a certain amount of time each day and a limited amount of what you can get done. You don’t have to do it all. Choose what you need and want to do and be done with the rest.