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50 Stress Busting Tips

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just a few assorted words of wisdom I've picked up of late.

1. Talk it out with yourself. Pretend your positive and negative self-talk are two members of opposing council, fighting it out in the court-room to convince you, the jury, of the truth of the thing stressing you out.

2. Be your own best friend; if a friend came to you with your problems, what would you tell him/her to do?

3. Pray

4. Write it all down in a journal

5. Take some practical steps; write a to-do list, an action plan, a letter, or something else you can physically use to help you overcome your problems.

6. Distract yourself with something, anything, different.

7. Perform a Random Act of Kindness.

8. Eat well, especially mood-boosting foods; walnuts, sunflower seeds and wheatgerm will boost your B6, which the body needs to produce serotonin. Oily fish will do the same through the fatty acids in them, so try and eat it at least twice a week. Another B-vitamin, folic acid (also known as folate) is linked to depression, and a low level of it within your body can cause problems. Tryptophan, an amino acid essential to boosting the mood, can be found in chicken and turkey as well as sesame seeds, eggs and milk. And don't forget your carbs; no matter how much good stuff you put in your body, you can't process it properly without some complex carbohydrates, so even if you're on a diet don't aim to cut them out.

9. Eat little and often to avoid mood swings as your blood sugar peaks and dips.

10. Stay hydrated.

11. Take a good quality mutli-vitamin. Make sure you're getting enough B-vitamins in your diet, as well as Vit D, and consider a magnesium supplement if you suffer from anxiety.

12. Consider a herbal remedy such as St. Johns Wart if you suffer from stress or depression, but consult a medical practitioner first.

13. Try some tea; green tea is a calming anti-oxident and regular tea has a relaxing effect on many people, though both are high in caffeine and aren't recommended for night-time drinks or for those with anxiety issues. Peppermint tea, maybe with a bit of honey, will cool all negative emotions and help you sleep, and hops, chamomile and valerian will all help you sleep. Or try a glass of milk; ice cold on a hot day will help you chill out, warm at bedtime will help you sleep. A little sugar, honey, cinnamon and/or vanilla only makes things better.

14. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants (such as taurine) especially at night or during stressful times. Avoid sugar and sweeteners, alcohol, drugs and tobacco; none of these will help you.

15. Make sure you're getting 8 hours of GOOD sleep every night.

16. Give yourself a foot rub.

17. Have a massage.

18. Take a few deep breaths, or look up “breathing techniques” on google.

19. Try some yoga. There are plenty of poses to relax, invigorate or calm you as well as any assortment of health benefits!

20. Meditate or try some guided visualization; there are plenty of scripts and CD's out there, some you can even find for free on the internet.

21. Go for a walk. This is both a good cure short term for immediate stress relief, and likely to help lower your overall stress when done daily.

22. Open the window and take some deep breaths of fresh air.

23. Get some exercise, any exercise.

24. Masturbate or make love; the orgasm will do wonders.

25. Listen to some relaxing music (if you're anxious, nervous or down) or some invigorating music (if you're down and sluggish and need picking up.

26. Take a hot bath.

27. Try hypnosis or self hypnosis.

28. Make sure you're not suffering low blood sugar (resolved with a chocolate bar) or an electrolyte imbalance (try ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of sugar in a cup of water to restore them).

29. Watch a funny movie or stand-up comedy, pull a prank on an understanding friend, or surf the “weird” part of YouTube. Do something that makes you giggle.

30. Try aromatherapy; add a scent to your bath, inhale it on a tissue, wear it as a perfume, rub it into your temples, cuddle a teddy-bear infused with it...the lists are endless! Some essential oils are fit for consumption, but make sure you're very clear on doses before attempting this as some can be lethal! Good scents to try are lavender, chamomile and rose, but any smell that has a positive effect on you (baby powder, almonds, coffee, etc.) will work just as well.

31. If stressed and angry, feel free to stomp your feet, punch a pillow, and generally “throw your weight around” in a way that hurts no one.

32. A strange technique that works oddly well; sit in a corner and start flicking your eyes back and forth between two corners or fixed points in the room, like you're watching a tennis ball being hit back and forth between them. Then start breathing deeply and slowly as you do; breath in, two, three, four, hold it two, three, four, out, two, three, for, wait, two, three, four, in.....

33. Whatever you're feeling, embrace it! Angry? Yell and stamp; get MORE angry! Anxious? Bring it on! What's the worst case scenario? Live it out in your head! Tell your emotions you're not scared of them, that however strong they are you can take it. This doesn't work for everyone, but for those who use it successfully it can be incredibly empowering.

34. Try something creative; paint, draw, sing or write.

35. Sometimes, putting on a really sad film and having a good cry over the weepy bits can do wonders to boost your mood.

36. Make your own stress ball by filling a balloon with sand.

37. Do something to pamper yourself, or treat yourself to something nice.

38. Smile. My best coping strategy for angry customers who won't stop yelling at us is to simply smile at them.

39. Cayenne, ginseng, gotu kola and hawthorn all give extra energy and have an uplifting effect on the body.

40. Whatever you're angry, stressed or miserably over, make sure you understand it. We've all had times when we've snapped at our pets or partner because we've had a bad day at work; this is normal and understandable, and may not even necessarily be a bad thing but you'll never REALLY relieve your stress until you have established what it is that's created it in the first place and addressed that issue, even if just to yourself.

41. Hold hands with someone you love, or have a cuddle, even if it's just with a pet.

42. Have a stress mantra.

43. De-clutter. It's surprising how much stress a chaotic home or workspace can bring!

44. Don't multi-task. Though sometimes a good way to achieve more, multi-tasking is stressful and can lead you do doing much less!

45. Put things in perspective. It's very easy to think about things as insurmountable; “if X happens my life will be over” is a very common stress-inducing thought. But the truth is, no matter what happens, it could always be worse. List 25 things in your life that you're thankful for even if it's “I'm glad I only have a cold, not a flu” or “I'm glad I'm only facing redundancy, not prison time for a crime I haven't committed” or similar. When you realize there's actually a lot of room in your life for things to get worse, it can make things a whole lot better. Look at the big picture.

46. Get over it. Whilst there are some obvious exceptions, it doesn't do to dwell unduly on the past. A therapist of mine once told me; “we are all walking the road of life. Everything that happens to us is a lesson, written on a stone. Some things are small, and their messages easily learned. Others are huge, and take time to work through. But regardless, you can only carry so much, and if you hold onto all the big things in your life you will very quickly end up with nothing but a broken back and a pile of stones, sitting at the side of the road waiting to be rescued.”

47. Don't over-plan. Whilst to-do lists can be a great tool that I would recommend to everyone, nothing is more stressful than planning every minute of the day just to find a spanner thrown into the works. It's all well and good planning to leave the house by 6:45, get to the gym by 7:10, work out until 8:15, shower, and be on your way to work at 8:40 for an 8:55 arrival...but what happens when your child throws up on your shirt so you have to change, you can't find your other gym shoe, the car needs the time you get to the gym it's 7:45 and you only have time for a quick warm up and jog and when you step out of the shower your hair takes longer to dry than you'd expected and there's a traffic jam on the way to work.....

48. Your commute can make all the difference; consider cycling to work or taking the bus to relieve the stress of driving.

49. Stay in the now. What's the point stressing over the past or the future? You can't do anything about them now!

50. Take a holiday. Make plans for what you'll do before you go, what you'll do when you get back, and go on holiday for a break to re-charge your batteries. Do not, however, use this as an attempt to flee your problems; you'll know the whole time you're gone that they're just waiting for you when you get back!
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