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Ten Ways To Give Stress A Good Kick In The Butt

After sharing my recent excursion with you (one of the many things that I/we do to break life's crazy cycle), I thought I'd share some of my other tips on how to de-stress. Here are some practical suggestions that have helped me when I can't take a day trip:

1. A Daily Planner - helps manage stress by keeping you organized and up-to-date on everything that you need to do. That way, you never fall behind, and it will also help you keep your schedule from becoming too full. It will make it much easier to politely and honestly decline other commitments based on the amount of free time that you have.

2. Watch What You Eat - this is nothing new, (but thanks to being a much more educated society than our forefathers who didn't have Dr. Oz., Oprah, WebMD, google, many health and fitness books/magazines, and now the juicing mania that's sweeping the nation one group at a time) we have no excuse for not knowing how to have a healthy diet that includes proteins, fruits, vegetables, cereals and other grains. Although dairy products are important food groups, for those who are lactose intolerant like I am - there are now non-dairy products that are just as tasty and much healthier for you (minus soy by the way- just a side note.) Things to avoid: refined white flour and saturated fats. Watch your intake of salt, refined sugar, alcohol (which is always a hard one for me on occasions;), and caffeine believe it or not. I'm not a coffee drinker, so it's not really a big deal for me, but for people like my hubby that's a big challenge. But, not totally impossible!

3. Exercise - moderate (not to the point of killing yourself like I almost did here - I suppose, I'd rather die trying than letting stress consume me;) but consistent exercise. It's recommended to work out at least three times a week which will strengthen the heart, improve circulation, lower cholesterol, and a big one - reduce your chances of a heart attack. More than that, exercise promotes a sense of well-being, likely because of the endorphins that are released during strenuous activity.

4. Get Sufficient Sleep - lack of sleep leads to exhaustion (I'm guilty of this's a work in progress for me...just too many things on the brain) and decreases your ability to manage stress. If you have trouble sleeping, try keeping to a regular schedule for going to bed (another hard one for me) and getting up. Some recommend that naps be limited to 30 minutes (at times mine last up to 3 hrs - yikes!) so that they do not interfere with a good night's sleep. In my case, I still fall asleep after long hours of napping. I'd like to think I'm catching up on sleep, but I'm sure we can all agree once you lose sleep, there's no such thing as catching up on sleep. So we all must work on getting our beauty sleep.

5. Get organized - people who manage their time are much better able to cope with stress. To get organized, first determine which responsibilities deserve priority. Next, make a schedule so that these will not be neglected. Tip-get a daily planner as noted in #1 earlier. Tried and true!

6. Maintain Healthy Relationships - by resolving conflicts quickly. The wisdom of quickly settling differences rather than harboring anger is shown in a study of 929 heart-attack survivors. Those with high hostility rates were three times more likely to die of cardiac arrest within ten years (which goes quickly these days) of the first attack than their mild-tempered counterparts. The authors of the study point out that while anger seems to be the strongest factor, any intense negative emotions that sends strong surges of stress hormones through the body can have the same effect. Jealousy is one of those major factors.

7. Build True Friendships - finding that one true friend in whom to confide in can make a world of difference. During stressful times those true genuine friends are the ones that you find by your side to give you support and a measure of protection. Steps on how to build a true friendship...

8. Make Time For Family - results in a bond that promotes family solidarity - something that is truly lacking today (I've never had a good family life, so I know how important it can be because I've experienced the sad consequences of not having had it). One study revealed that some working couples spend an average of just 3.5 minutes playing with their children each day. Yet, your family can be a tremendous resource when you face stress. “Family gives you an unconditional charter membership in an emotional support group that really knows you for who you are and likes you anyway,” says one book on stress. So family teamwork is one of the best means of reducing stress. Cherish your family!

9. Create Balance in Your Life - by being reasonable. A person who constantly pushes himself to the limit physically and emotionally is a prime candidate for burnout and possibly for depression. Balance is the key. Learn to say no to demands that exceed what you can reasonably handle (see #1). Do not compare yourself with someone else. Each person has their own ability and strength to be used within their own circumstances and limits.

10. Make Time for Relaxation - proper relaxation that rejuvenates is beneficial. Balanced pleasures can refresh the body and help to offset stress. Any type of relaxation or vacation that leaves you exhausted is counterproductive and may cause you to burn out quicker.

*Image: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

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