Your health needs to be good in order for everything else to be good. By taking care of yourself first, you are able to provide care to and for others. If your health is not in good shape, and you are constantly physically and emotionally drained, then your ability to give care to others will be compromised. Consequently, enjoyment of life is nowhere to be found.
If you have taken a plane flight, you’ll remember that before the plane took off, the flight crew gave the travelers flight instructions. When they got to the part about the oxygen masks that drop if the cabin pressure is down, did they say put the oxygen mask on your child or on yourself first? Of course, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Why? If you suffocate, you cannot help others. Likewise, in everyday life, as soon as you start making better lifestyle choices and try to reduce or manage your stress levels, you will be breathing that oxygen first.
Dare to love and reward yourself and accept yourself just the way you are. At this moment, make a lifelong commitment to get into the habit of making better lifestyle choices and do what it takes to improve your health and reduce your daily stress. It will be good for you and you will see that as you do so inner happiness will start to trickle your way. I know that everyone is capable of doing so.
Stress is a major contributor and a major magnet to potentially harmful conditions such as these:
Fat accumulation in the abdominal area
High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
Sexual dysfunction in both men and women
Stress negatively affects relationships, job performance, and worsens any pre-existing health condition such as those just mentions. Studies have shown that only 6% of all stress we face each day is legitimate stress. The remaining 94% of all other worries and stresses that plague our lives are anticipated but do not actually happen. This means that the vast majority of the time, we worry too much about a problem that will never happen.
That’s a terrible waste. Instead of worrying, we should do what we can to prevent the dreaded situations. We need to realize that there are many situations not under our control, and no amount of worrying will affect the outcome. Here are some ways to cope with stress.
Major Stress Busters That You Can Start Practicing Right Now:
• Lose weight by making favorable food and activity choices.
• Schedule 30-45 minutes of physical activity 3-5 times a week (Yes! Activity is major stress buster)
• Take a 5- or 10-minute power walk whenever you are under a stressful situation.
• Take 10 semi–deep breaths when experiencing stress (if you take deep breaths, you might feel a little lightheaded). When extra oxygen reaches the brain, it relieves stress and promotes a sense of relaxation.
• Practice the following brief powerful relaxation technique that provides immediate relaxation anywhere you are, whether at home or work: Shut your eyes for only 2-3 minutes, breathe normally and focus only on your breathing. As you exhale, let your mind focus on the word relax. If other thoughts start clouding your mind, clear them right away and refocus on your breathing; you can do this several times a day.
• Reward yourself frequently by engaging in activities that bring you personal satisfaction, pleasure, or a feeling of well-being such as getting a massage, manicure, pedicure, or any other activity that brings you personal satisfaction and pleasure.
• Forgive others and do not hold grudges, and consider praying for those who bring you misery, which will bring you relief.
• Do not expect perfection of yourself, because doing so invariably brings feelings of failure and raises your stress levels.
• Frequently break the monotony of your daily routine by doing something different and fun, for instance, bungee jumping.
• Attend a play, a musical, or a concert with a friend, your spouse, or by yourself.
• Allow your home to be your safe haven, leaving all unpleasant thoughts from work or other sources outside the door. (If a stressful incident comes to mind, switch your thought immediately to something pleasant and occupy yourself with something other than work such as cutting up some vegetables, cooking, while listening to some relaxing music in the background.)
• Think of what brings you peace, balance, and happiness; and be sure to live in the moment, not anticipating possible future problems that may not even surface.
• Meet with friends for coffee or activity once or twice a week or more.
• Learn something new or pursue a new hobby, such as gardening, cooking classes, or others of your choice.
• Relax in the evening by dimming the lights, putting on relaxing music, or taking a bubble bath, or watching your favorite TV show.
• Practice aromatherapy by using incense, candles, or scented oils. (Be careful of allergies you might have to any scent.)
• Rent a favorite movie and turn your pagers, phones, and computer off and allow the movie to take you on a short excursion that evening.
• Do some volunteer work and help others. Sometimes when you put your energy in assisting others, this will make your mind shift focus from your own stresses and bring you some stress relief.
• Organize your house, especially clothes and closets, discarding clothes that you have not worn in 2 years. Activity will help you forget your problems for a while, and it will create a less cluttered environment that will also reduce stress.
• Buy some new clothes, remembering to stay within your means.
• Change your hairstyle or hair color.
• Invite friends over for dinner and cook for them.
• Make a fun list of things you would enjoy doing and refer to the list whenever you’re stressed or bored.
• Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.
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