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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stress - You can Beat that!

These days everybody is exposed to stress: the child whose mother keeps nagging him about his grades, the teen kid who is outcast by his peers, the employee who keeps hearing his boss say "It's almost your deadline Joe!" or the mother who plans out food for the week on a limited budget. Stress is so common it is almost accepted as part of our life. However, it should not be the case. Stress causes a lot of illness to the human body which would have been avoided if we had taken it easy. But, hey, how can you take it easy when you gotta make a living for your whole family? Ok, so here are ways to reduce your stress:

1. Acknowledge that a stressor exists. Stress can be caused by a lot of things. any thing that makes you anxious, afraid, causes you pain is normally due to a stressor. for example, by the 10th of the month you have only 100 dollars left to spend for the rest of the month can cause stress.

2. If you can, do something about what is causing your stress. If for instance your stressor comes from a financial difficulty, you may try to decrease spending, or perhaps do an alternative like buying clothes every other month instead of every month, or perhaps buying a cheaper brand of shoes, or having a garage sale, etc.

3. Relax. There are several ways for you to relax.
a. You can do breathing exercises. Take slow deep breaths through the mouth and nose. Without straining, hold your breath for about 3 to 4 seconds and release it slowly.

b. have an aromatherapy massage in a dimly lit room and play some soft music.

c. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
with eyes closed, lie (or sit) comfortably. Tense the muscles on your forehead and relax it slowly, being conscious of the relief. Relax all your muscles gradually working on from your forehead down till you reach your toes feeling the tension move away and breathing slowly.

d. Imagery
Picture a scene on your mind like a serene lake or lying on a hammock under a tree on a cool day as you listen to the sound of the leaves and the chirping of the birds. Put yourself in the scene by hearing the sounds, feeling the coolness of the wind, etc. Keep your self in that state for about 5 minutes. You may change scenes every now and then as long as it keeps your relaxed.

e. Distract yourself from your stress.

You can do something else that will keep your mind away from the cause of your stress. You may dance or sing, or read, or listen to a favorite soft music, or look at pictures of you when you were little, etc. Drawing is a good form of relaxation.

f. sleep. put your mind in a relaxed state and get some rest.

The above are some of the things I normally do when stressed out after an exam. Hopefully, they can help you too.

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