A stress- free lifestyle could very well do wonders in eliminating depression.
Here are some practical methods to combat stress:
1. Express Amusement And Be Happy. Laugh hard and loud. If you don’t have a sense of humor, find someone else who has. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.
2. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule. You’ll be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities. When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely.
Remember to leave room for unexpected events – both negative and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments.
Avoid procrastinating on important or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing, do it immediately. Do the unpleasant tasks early, so that you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day. Keep an appointment or record book. Don’t just rely on your memory.
Do your tasks one thing at a time. Focus your attention on the present moment, whether it’s the person talking to you or the job at hand. This helps you to avoid making errors - which leads to more tension and anxiety. Be patient in waiting. Anxiety caused by impatience can rise up your blood pressure. Say “no” to requests that you cannot accomplish. Delegate trivial tasks. You must remember that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Crack a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with the suitable skills.
3. Work Out Strive and get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you’re interested in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor. Work out also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body. Do not result to excessive exercise, however, as this may have an adverse effect and might cause more depression.
4. Search Out For A Support Group. You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting with friends) have considerably low levels of stress in their lives?
Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who continually put you
down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Invite a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.
Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Slow down your standards – for
yourself and others. Don’t expect too much. Perfectionism is not the means to
happiness. Become more flexible and adaptable to your environment.
Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions. Repeat
the instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save lots of time later rectifying out misunderstandings. Be honest in your
dealings with others. Lying and cheating leads to stress.
5. Take Breaths Deeply and Slowly. Calm down your muscles, escalating your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Do it again several times. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing for you. Make use of this yoga technique: Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen. Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve. Do it again 10 times.
6. Consume Healthy Foods at the Appropriate Time.
Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Get time out to eat heartily no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks to the office, or even the shopping mall. A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.
7. Live Optimistically. Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that many other people are living in worse conditions than you are. Don’t exaggerate the complexity of your problems. Every problem has a solution. All you need to do is find that solution. Learn to be happy and to enjoy life’s blessings. Live one day at a time.
8. Put Off Problems Earlier Than They Occur.
This takes some preparation. If you are going to another city for a valuable
meeting, carry your presentation materials and dress suit on board the plane.
Acquire gas for the car before the tank is unfilled. Get usual oil changes and
checkups. Keep food ready anytime at your house so you can fix a fast meal
without going to the store. Keep food, medicine, and toiletries on hand so you
never have to feel tensed when they run out.
9. Enjoy The Good Things That Life Has to Offer.
Grant yourself some physical pleasure and enjoyment to help your stress slip
away. Indulge yourself in a professional massage, or trade massages with a loved one. Give yourself consent to enjoy a movie, watch a concert or sports event, listen to music, or read a book. Take pleasure in a soothing cup of chamomile herb tea with a little bit of honey. Chamomile has long been used to relieve nervous tension.
Arrange a day of beauty with a friend. Do each other’s hair, or paint your nails and chat.
Make a simple steam facial at home by boiling water. Remove the pan from the stove. Cover your head with a large towel so that it creates a tent over the pot. Steam your face for five or 10 minutes. Add aromatic herbs to the water for a sensual touch. Center your attention on any of the senses – hearing, seeing, eating, or body movements – for a few minutes. Even washing your hands can become a sensual experience.
10. Possess a Definite Goal or Purpose in Life, and Strive for it.
Plan ahead to meet your most desired goals in life. You should always wake up with a sense of purpose.
Time management experts highlight the importance of writing down your
important goals. Break big projects down into a series of small steps that you can work on every day. Want to change jobs? Contact one prospective employer today. Is writing a book your dream? Commit to writing one page a day. Inch by inch, slowly but surely, you will get to your ultimate destination.
Knowing that you are striving toward your dreams relieves frustrations that mount when you feel stuck in a situation that seems to have no direction.
11. Move Away to Recharge Your Spirit. Make a schedule for private time alone every day. You deserve it. Unplug the telephone and enjoy a quiet evening alone or with your family, or even 15 continuous minutes in the shower or bathtub. You may want to spend a few minutes writing your feelings out in a journal. It can help you find a new viewpoint in life and relieve internal conflicts.
More Tips to Recharge Your Spirit
· Have on earplugs for instant peace anytime, anyplace.
· Be taught a meditation technique. Two methods: Observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind. Or, repeat a word or phrase with an uplifting
· Put into practice progressive relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day to relieve high blood pressure and other physiological responses to stress. Make tighter and release each muscle group in turn, starting with the soles of the feet and slowly working up to the scalp.
· Schedule a weekend activity that is a change from your usual routine. If your week is a lot scheduled, relax, and enjoy non-competitive activities. If you are never able
to finish anything during the week, choose a project that you can complete in a few hours on weekends.
· Take time out for a little entertainment in the middle of your workday. When the pressures of completing a project are too great, your productivity can drop. Take a walk or eat lunch outside the office.
12. Use Visualization and Affirmation Techniques. You can conquer a circumstance you fear by going over the event in your mind. Imagine the scene in clear detail and visualize the best possible result that may happen.
You can also reduce an imagined fear down to size by picturing the worst possible outcome. Visualize describing this worst-case to your best friend the next day and the sympathy you receive. Imagine telling a group of friends the next month, who contribute to their similar experiences. Finally, imagine joking about your unpleasant experience with a complete stranger a month later. If you carry this exercise through to the end, your stress will become something to laugh about. Replace negative self-talk with affirmations. Don’t let your mind be filled with gloom: You’re too ugly. . . you’re too old. . .you’ll never achieve anything. And things like: What if I fail the exam? What if she doesn’t like my gift? What if we get lost? These things haven’t even occurred yet. Nourish your mind with a constant stream of “I can; therefore, I will.”
13. Get Sufficient Sleep.
Settle on how much sleep you require for the best possible performance. Lack of
sleep worsens the body’s responses to stress and lowers the immune system.
14. Don’t Be Self-Centered.
Always remember that you don’t have to attain all the money, fame, and success in the world. Today’s society forces us to build up as many accomplishments as we can while trying to balance our own personal and family life. There’s just not enough time to do all these things. Start from the most important task and focus on one thing at a time.
By Paul W. Abernathy, CMECP®