Let’s Talk About Stress!
So I just finished my third term with ISSA via correspondence, which included certifications in Senior Fitness and Exercise Therapy. The latter course had a section in the textbook about stress reduction. Those that know me well know that this is something that I’m trying to improve upon. I like to make myself extremely busy, put unrealistic pressure on myself, and cram as much into an hour as I can, haha, sooo… I’m working on it!
Learning to deal effectively with stress, whether it’s financial worries or a Saber-toothed tiger chasing us, is key in maintaining not only our physical health, but emotional and mental well-being as well. Stress isn’t all bad, there’s good stress in life including exercise, holidays, weddings, etc. But it can become habitual, even chronic if we’re not careful.
My Exercise Therapy textbook talks about developing an awareness of the causes of our stress levels, as well as, enacting a plan to reduce or eliminate any negative effects. Thankfully, being physically active can play a significant role in helping the body and mind deal with stress.
Exercises that focus on controlled, deep breathing may help to lower blood pressure and quiet the mind. Tense muscles contribute to poor posture, pain, and fatigue. Stretching and flexibility exercises allow the body to relax. Vigorous activity is an effective way to release anxiety… I know for myself, no matter how crappy I feel, I always feel better after a good workout!
Therapeutic massage can help reduce stress levels, as well as, yoga, Tai chi or meditation groups or classes. Deep relaxation or guided-visualization audio or video can also be helpful if you find one that works for you. Here are some ways that you may not have thought of when it comes to managing stress:
– Allowing time for adequate rest, and developing a plan to ensure a good night’s sleep.
– Following a solid nutritional program.
– Participation in a hobby or other recreational pursuit.
– Group self-awareness or guidance classes.
– Biofeedback training.
– Individual counseling.
Some of my own personal strategies include:
– Trying to keep it all in perspective.
– Focusing on what I can control.
– Hanging out with my husband.
– Spending time with family & friends.
– Smothering my dog 🙂
– Singing along to music.
– Enjoying a good meal.
Stress can push us to be efficient and productive, but chronically it can lead to some serious health problems. So rather than making myself so busy that I don’t have the time to enjoy my life, I’m trying to find little ways to incorporate some of the techniques above into my daily life.
I’d love to hear what stress-reducing techniques you find work best for you in your life. Please feel free to share them in the comments of this post, or to drop me a line via social media or email.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Happy New Year!
PS: Here’s another useful article from WebMD with more tips if you’re interested: 10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast.