Managing stress instead of it managing you

So this week I have been talking with people about stress management and stress as a trigger.  Needless to say I have many years of experience with living in stress.  For many years I came close to losing my own self and sense of well being during those years.  I won’t get into it I will simply say it could have been much better, but it could have been much worse.  So it got me to thinking and evaluating what am I doing now to deal with my stress rather than letting it trigger negative behaviors or poor choices.  For years I dealt with the stress by over eating, I think I have shared that here already.  But now that I am looking at improving my health do the things I once did to deal with stress fit with a healthy lifestyle?  The easy definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.  No thanks!!  I have been there and done that so lets try something else.  

The fabulous thing about dealing with stress is that you can hit it on two levels, both psychologically & physiologically and here’s what I mean.  The stress cycle is a physiological response stemming from fight or flight.  That response has been around since our ancestors.  When we get stressed we get an adrenaline rush (among other hormones) and we need to do something with that.  The best way to get rid of an adrenaline rush is to do something physical, which fits exercise and a healthy lifestyle perfectly!  Staying away from too much caffeine, getting enough sleep, deep breathing, and eating a balanced diet all fit too!  I think you get the idea on the physical things you need to look at attending to.  

Now the other side…DUN DUN DUN!!!  The psychological aspect of dealing with stress.  The preference of course is to address the thing that is causing stress and resolve it.  Unfortunately that isn’t always possible for one reason or another.  So some alternatives to helping relieve stress would be escaping to a movie or into a good book.  It’s a temporary escape, but often a much needed break.  Walk away from it and breathe deep, again taking a step back offers perspective.  Speaking of perspective take a minute to get some because it could be that although things might not be perfect they could be worse.  I found that my work and volunteer work will often have perfect timing and snap me into proper perspective and outside of my bad mood/whining.  Laughter is also a great way to lift your mood so watch your favorite comedy or read a funny book.  One thing I enjoy that helps me is to spend time in nature the beach or the mountains work great for me.  Finally practice forgiveness, letting go, and thankfulness.  Remember those things may need to be done more than once, that is why it is called practice.

Tell me what are your ideas on relieving stress?  There are so many options out there.  Remember that part of stress management means making this a part of your lifestyle to be most effective.  Please share what works for you, it could be something that might work for someone else (even me).

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