It's sad to see all the people heading toward their vacation destinations to "get away from it all" when it's clear from all they've packed in the car and the impatience with which they drive that they're taking it all with them. All the stress, anxiety, anger and pressure are just weighing down our vacation, further reducing our ability to manage the stress in our lives. So, how do we really get away from stress? I'm glad you asked! By managing five elements of our lives (diet, exercise, attitude, schedule and down-time), we can really get away from stress...even when we're working.
Diet To Deal With Stress: Many of us don't realize that most of the fats, salts and sugars in our diets actually create stress. First, there's the toxic physical stress from overloading our systems with unhealthy foods. Then, our bodies, in trying to process these foods, makes chemicals in our blood that cause mental and emotional stress. Some of it is so extreme as to bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression. By following a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, you can eliminate a major stressor in your life.
Exercise To Deal With Stress: Just like diet, poor exercise habits can add to our stress. We need 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3-5 days per week, to reduce the stress in our lives. Exercise reduces stress for two main reasons. First, the increased blood flow delivers the nutrients from your diet to the cells that need them. Second, exercise produces endorphins and other chemicals that relax you, give you a positive outlook, and help you deal confidently with the issues of the day. Exercise has even been proven effective on mild to moderate migraines, anxiety and depression.
Attitude To Deal With Stress: Of course, diet and exercise can go a long way in developing a good attitude, but we can take direct action on our attitudes, as well. We can start by changing our self image to a more positive, proactive, happy and productive person. While it will seem strange at first, don't allow yourself to hold negative thoughts about yourself or your abilities. Instead, replace them with positive ideas. For some examples: Change, "I always mess that up," to "I don't know how that happened, I normally do real well with that." Change, "I hate that." to, "I love that."
Scheduling To Deal With Stress: While working on our attitudes, one of the biggest stressors is the feeling of not being in control. That's where scheduling comes in. Most of us are terrible at planning our time. This leaves us subject to the plans of others, adding to our stress. When we take control of our own schedules, we are more productive, actually more flexible, and we significantly reduce our stress. At least until the boss see's how much more we're getting done and promotes us to a more stressful job.
Down Time To Deal With Stress: One of the most important ways to fight stress is with down time. This is time you are not actively working or thinking about work. It can be spent pursuing hobbies or just taking long naps. Instead of trying to squeeze all your down time into 1-2 weeks of vacation per year, making the vacation a more stressful event, try this schedule: 1 hour per day; 1 day per week; one weekend per month; 1-4 weeks per year. By practicing daily, weekly, and monthly down time, you stay relaxed all year, so the vacations are even more relaxing. By the way...if you practice this schedule of down time, you'll find you're far more productive in your work. Rest is an important part of productivity.
As you can see, there is far more to reducing stress than the occasional vacation. We don't have to live stressed-out, unhappy lives any more. By fighting stress in our diets, exercise, attitudes, schedules and down-time, we can improve our health and productivity, and live relaxed, peaceful lives.
If what you're doing to handle stress isn't handling it, there is somewhere you can go for perfect peace...to God> He can help you recover from stress. If you want His help, just visit God Help Me.
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