You cannot avoid negative stress, just like you cannot avoid breathing. You can deal with it, abate it, ignore it, or increase it. Getting rest in the afternoon is great, but can disrupt your sleeping habits, if you sleep too long. Complaining about it, especially to people that cannot do anything to change the source of the stress, can abate it, transfer the stress to the person that you are complaining to, but it does not do much to change the source of the stress.
What do I do to reduce my stress levels?
- Laugh my butt off – Sometimes there is nothing funny about certain stresses in the immediate moment, but later on, there can be something funny about it. I had someone close to me die at age 104. She babysat my sister and me as children, our kids, and the neighborhood kids. She was a staple in the neighborhood, and she will be sorely missed. As I was relaying this message to a friend that knew the woman, she asked me how the woman died.
“Really?!?” I replied, taking a page from Bill Engvall, “She wrecked her Harley at Bike Week. She was 104!!!” I burst out laughing, knowing that Ms. Pryor would have laughed too, upon hearing that.
Laughter releases all sorts of endorphins and helps increase immunities, and reduces other hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, a ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which can lead to adrenal fatigue. Having a good laugh also engages the core abdominal muscles and diaphragm, gives the heart a good workout, relaxes the shoulders, and increases the oxygen intake throughout the body. If you ever meet me, ask me what songs are on my Mp3 to help me de-stress.
2. Exercise – Taking 20 minutes out to just get away, to take a walk, workout, yoga, tai chi, Wii, PS3 Kinect, just getting out there and MOVE helps gets the body to reduce stressors. Boxing on my Wii is my de-stressor of choice. I can work on my stress, and get some exercise done in the process. Personally, I hate to sweat, but the after effects of working out outweigh the not moving of it all. I get over it, and get going.
3. Finding different ways to say “No” – Someone’s always going to want your time. There are going to be times that you are going to want to scream “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at the top of your lungs, but you don’t. You can say, ”Let me get back to you”, or “Let me sleep on it”, etc., so that you can take a breath before you commit to something. Find several different ways to say no, and reply to the request accordingly.
4. Meditation – Taking a few minutes to clear your mind will help decrease stress levels and may give you a new perspective on the very thing that stressed you out in the first place. There are many ways that one can meditate, which is great, because one always cannot do Downward Facing Dog in your cubicle.
5. Massage – Massage releases muscles that have been overworked and taut due to stress, also releases endorphins, reduces anxiety and increases calm, but I’m sure you knew that already.
These are only a few ways that you can de-stress. What do you do to reduce your stress levels? Can’t wait to hear from you!