Ways to Lower Stress
- Be Flexible. Ahh, those yoga instructors are right. You can tell a person's age not by years, but by flexibility. Don't stand on stubbornness. If you know you're right, stand firm, but be calm and rational. However, also be willing to listen to other's opinions and compromise if possible. If you're willing to give a little, the other person may do the same. The result may be a better solution.
- Take Time-Outs. Schedule time to do the things you enjoy.
- Exercise. Yes, I know you have heard repeatedly that exercise is an effective tool to address many health conditions. But you know what? Twenty to 30 minutes throughout the day of some type of exercise may relieve that extra tension and stress.
- Lead a Healthy Lifestyle. Good nutrition can make a difference. The fuel you eat will influence the way you feel. It's true — an apple a day keeps the medical professional away.
- Tap Into Your Spirituality. I'm not one to preach, but I can tell you that many people enjoy the peace of mind that comes with minding their spirituality.
- Go Easy With Criticism. Don't be so hard on your spouse, significant other, child, boss or coworker if they do not measure up to your standards. Everyone is unique, has their own strengths and shortcomings and their own "luggage" from their life experiences.
- Communicate. Share feelings, talk. You may not be the only one having a bad day. Also, keep in touch with friends and family.
- Get a Massage. How would you like to work for a company that offers its employees a 15-minute chair massage at the workplace? Wouldn't that be a nice and inexpensive way to show appreciation? What a great way to release the stress of a hectic day and reinforce the benefits of "the power of touch."
- Be a Volunteer. Helping others is a great way to get your mind off your worries and channel your energy into something positive. I know we really depend upon volunteers at the hospitals for many activities, including meals on wheels and visiting patients.
- Consider Counseling. Many people feel uneasy when this is suggested, but please don't. There are many fine highly trained professionals to get you back on track. Perhaps hypnotherapy, biofeedback, or even medication will be used. Remember, it's not a sign of weakness to get help, but a sign of strength — because you're helping yourself.
- Eat Chocolate. I knew this would get your attention. I don't know about any scientific evidence that it reduces stress, but it sure tastes good! OK, this may sound a bit much, but it is important to treat yourself every now and then. Just a little bit can go a long way, but watch that waistline! You don't want to add any weight concerns to the stress mix.
The bottom line is this: please don't let anxiety ruin your day. For further information on strategies to reduce stress and improve your personal stress management techniques, please speak with your healthcare professional.
Copyright 2003, Dr. Rob Danoff
Robert Danoff, D.O., M.S., is a family physician. He is program director of Family Practice Residency Frankford Hospitals, Jefferson Health System, Philadelphia, Pa. He also is a medical correspondent for The Comcast Network, CN8, contributing writer to the New York Times and writes a weekly medical column for the Bucks Courier Times, Bucks County Pa.