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April is Stress Awareness Month

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Did you know April is stress awareness month?

Stress plays a big part of my life, especially at work. Without my even realizing it, food had became my "go to" strategy for stress reduction.

Whenever the stress temperatures began to rise, I would soothe myself with food--any kind of food, but I especially loved SUGAR. When things got really bad, I would stuff myself into a numb-like state.

The good news is I now recognize this and have and continue to take productive steps to deal with stress (which is inevitable in life and work), in less self-destructive --and more productive--ways.

Here are things I do:

In the moment...

1. Breathe--deeply. If things are getting hot, I briefly close my eyes and take a very deep breath or two or three. This usually calms me down and allows me to respond with perspective, not gutteral emotion.

2. Stay calm and if the stress involves an emotional other person, calmly ask them to help me understand their point of view. This takes me from the reactive emotional to the inquisitive thinker mode.

3. Smile. I find when I smile I just am more naturally relaxed and happier.

In general...

1. I started a gratitude journal. Every day I jot down a list of the things I am grategul for. Some days the list is short, sometimes very long. It takes only a minute a day and is very centering.

2. Meditate--I love meditation and aim to do it daily--10-15 minutes in the morning, evening, or whenever helps me stay connected to me and makes me feel balanced. if meditation is not your thing, try just sitting quite doing nothing at all for 10-15 minutes a day. It is very relaxing! Eventually you will crave this short break from the craziness of life.

3. Changed my paradigm from seeing myself as a victim of people and situations to being empowered to productively engage with people (even incredibly difficult people) and challenging situations.

4. Periodically I cancel the newspaper, do not watch tv news, and take a break from the crazy spin of day-to-day "news" events. I LOVE these periods, because it gives me the time to slow down and be more self reflective and calm.

What about you? What do you do to relieve stress?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • POPSY190
    All sounds good and thank you for the information about April being stress relief month which I didn't know. I'll add finding techniques to deal with it to my goals for this month.
    1807 days ago
    Good list! Interesting that today I was thinking how my body likes meditation.
    1807 days ago
    Great plan!
    1807 days ago
    Sounds like you have a plan ready to put into action when needed. We should all be so wise !!!!

    Keep up the great work you are doing !!!
    1807 days ago
  • BOVEY63

    1807 days ago
    Thanks for this post! It's a good reminder that when you stop using food as a coping strategy, you need to come up with other strategies to take its place. I like that you have a list of them... I need to come up with a list of my own!
    1807 days ago
    I love this post. I've been learning, too, how NOT to be a stressball. :) It's taken a while but definitely SMILING on purpose, and counting blessings (gratitude journals are the best) help me.

    I also find that doing something calming in the MORNING, when I first arrive at my office, gets me in the right frame of mind so that I don't react as badly to stressful things during the day. I like to sit with my hands around my warm coffee cup, doing a small meditation for a few minutes.

    emoticon emoticon

    1807 days ago
    Sounds like you seem to have a great plan for combating stress. Something I learned in counseling was to picture a stop sign every time I have negative thoughts and just focus on the stop sign. Oddly enough it actually works, except today where I'm having a self pity party.
    1807 days ago
    Sounds like a great plan..... emoticon
    1807 days ago
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