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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Ten Step Guide To Coping With Stress

Here are ten simple steps to dealing with stress, I hope that you find it useful:

1) Avoid caffeine.
This is a stimulant, so therefore they cannot calm you down. If you’re stressed, steer clear of coffee, tea, soft drinks with caffeine, etc and keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking water instead.

2) Work off stress with physical activity.
Pressure or anger releases adrenaline in the body. Exercise helps to reduce it, and produces ‘good mood’ substances in the brain. So go for a brisk walk around the block when you feel tense, and try some regular exercise.

3) Relax with a stress reduction technique every day.
Try a simple breathing exercise – it’s very easy and can even be done at any time and place. It will help to calm you down.

4) Get enough sleep.
Sleep is essential for the body to function properly. If you’ve habitually skimped on sleep, you probably won’t even remember how it feels to wake up fully rested. Give it a go for a week; and see if there’s a difference in how you perform during the day.

5) If you’re ill, rest.
Don’t just carry on regardless. Working will tire the body and prolong the illness. So recognise that you have limits and don’t carry on as if you were firing on all cylinders.

6) Agree with somebody; once in a while!
Life shouldn’t be a constant battleground. So even if you disagree with someone, avoid conflict by just agreeing or keeping quiet. After all, they have a right to their opinion, just as you do.

7) Learn to accept what you cannot change.
This philosophy will help you avoid unhappiness, cynicism and bitterness.

8) Listen to your body.
When you are tired, hungry or thirsty, do something about it. Also recognise stress and anger in your day and counter it immediately with a brisk walk, ten minutes’ in deep relaxation or whatever works for you.

9) Learn how to say ‘no’. Simple, but effective. Where a ‘no’ is the appropriate response, say it without guilt.

10) Manage your time.
Take one thing at a time. Don’t overdo things. Create time buffers to deal with unexpected emergencies. And, recognise that your day to day problems and responsibilities are the things that cause stress in your life. Tackle them with a system that works for you.

A simple method is to:
- List the things that you need to do.
- Put them in order of importance
- Decide what you need to do yourself, and what can be delegated.
- Decide which needs doing today, next week or next month
- Decide what doesn’t need doing after all, and drop it from the list..

Your mountain of tasks is now in some sort of order. This should help. The list used to control you. Now you control it. And you’ve lost the stress that it caused you.

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