Tuesday, February 10

stress reduction

Trying to complete reading Marci Shimoff's book Happy For No Reason. Sadly I am not investing the time required to complete the book despite requesting an extension from the library. Simply through serendipity and daily exchanges (even magazine articles!) I am being reminded 'how not to complicate your own life' and live a better [happier] existence. And I remind myself, usually by doing the opposite and seeing the results ;p
I'm going to list a few things that have come up recently that I need to be mindful of, and you may find useful for yourself. Tips that can un-complicate life and help you with stress.
*Be present in your present space. A great counselor I had once told me when things get really overwhelming, just to take pause and look around the room you are in. Say to yourself 5+ things that you see in that space. (I see a chair. I see the window. I see the lamp....) Say another 5+ things you hear in that space. This little task helps you come out from inside your mind where things are getting wound up and grounds you to where you physically are.
*Get rest and tune out. Broken sleep, watching the news before bed, playing with your phone, doing screen time (she says, knowingly!!) right before bed are not great ideas for zen space and down time. Bed time is bed time. Turn off the tv. Turn off the phone. Turn off the mind. Meditate or listen to calming sounds; get your mind off the hamster wheel.
*Go for a walk. Take it outside. Center yourself out in the world, go for coffee break, distract from the chaos. Play Frisbee, swing on a swingset, get a little quick fun fix or playtime in your day.
*Take a breather. Literally. Breathing deeply and slowly several times brings down the hyper nervous system. Give yourself a good 30 seconds to regroup.
*Eat a banana. Most people know that bananas are a great source of potassium but did you know they also contain tryptophan? In case you didn’t know, tryptophan is a type of protein that your body converts into serotonin, which is basically the brain chemical that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
*Express gratitude. Instead of listing those mentally draining lists of coulda, woulda, shoulda or honey-do lists start listing the things that are going well. Be thankful for everything. Breathing. Health. Where you live. What you do. Who surrounds you. Thankfulness. And smile. Share a compliment. If you see someone that looks great today, say hey- you look great!
*Positive imagery. This can be meditation or simply visualizing positive outcomes. Personally I am plagued by the opposite so being able to re-visualize a daydream where things went really wrong and seeing them again with a positive outcome is key to undoing the worry.
*Music. Listen to uplifting or calming sounds- even silence- can do a lot of good for an overwhelmed mind.
*Practice, practice, practice. Try daily to fit in just one or a few of these tips to start training your brain to learn healthier responses to overwhelming circumstances or stressful situations. It's just a matter of practicing things on this list daily and over time your responses to stress and anxiety will slowly change.  

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