Stress is your reaction to external events. Photo: Thinkstock
"Write down your concerns in a small 'worry' diary."
Some days it seems as if life throws stress at you from all directions. It can drain your energy, destroy your good mood and challenge your outlook. But science has shown that stress also causes your body to release hormones that raise blood pressure, speed up your heart and breathing, halt digestion, cause a surge in blood sugar and more. When stress is ongoing, this constant physical reaction can significantly raise your risk of colds, diabetes, heart disease, back troubles and almost every other major health concern. Yet stress can be relatively easy to manage. All it takes is mental commitment – and an open mind. So give some of these health-boosting approaches to stress management a try.
Embrace the number one truth about stress: only you create it. Stress isn’t defined as a large workload, a difficult child or a rise in terrorism. Stress is your physical and mental reaction to these external stimuli. Consider the saying about alcoholism – that admitting to being an alcoholic is more than 50 per cent of the cure. The same is true for stress: embracing the fact that stress is your reaction to external stimuli – and not the stimuli themselves – is half the battle towards managing it. You can’t change a crazy world. But you can learn to handle it with humour, humility and hope. So it should come as no surprise that virtually every stress-relief method that follows is about how to improve your reaction to external factors.
Give your partner a hug every day before work. It’s so simple, yet so often overlooked when you’re trying to make your lunch, find your shoes and keys and get on the road before rush hour. US researchers discovered that the few seconds it takes to hug your partner can help you to remain calm as chaos unfolds around you.
Buy yourself flowers once a week and display them prominently on your desk. Women who sat near a bouquet of flowers were found to be more relaxed during a typing assignment than women who didn’t have flowers, according to one US study.
Take a deep breath, then try to see yourself in someone else’s shoes. Consider for a minute that your boss and others who annoy you may be experiencing just as much inner turmoil as they are creating around them. When people are rude, they are often suffering in one way or another.
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