Originally published January 28 2009
Fight Negative Thinking and Stress
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) Everyone has preferred oft-used methods for easing tension or stress. Sometimes these methods are productive and other times coping methods cause more problems than the original sources of stress. Some positive coping methods are meditation, exercise, deep breathing, journaling, and listening to music. Negative coping strategies include drinking alcohol to excess, smoking, using drugs and overeating. Stress-reduction methods that have positive long-term health benefits are the best choices. It is important to remember that stress is not nearly as critical as how it is dealt with. Here are some suggestions for positive coping methods.
Adjust Environment: Color, lighting and sound can either be soothing and comforting, or jarring and unhealthy.
*Light: Inadequate or artificial indoor lighting can cause stress that creates agitation, disorganized thinking, physical discomfort, and even disease. Conventional fluorescent lighting produces light that is deficient of some of the wavelengths that are contained in natural sunlight. Studies have shown that replacing this kind of lighting with full-spectrum fluorescent that more closely resembles sunlight can reduce stress levels.
*Sound: The sounds around us can either ease or contribute to stress. For this reason, it is important to become aware of how noise affects us.
*Color: Color can have both an emotional and physiological impact on stress levels. The impact of color comes from different vibrations inherent in different colors.
Seek Respite: A change of pace can enable one to find a new way to view a problem. Stop and find something else to do. Take a break. Take a nap. Force the mind to focus on something other than the source of stress.
Physical Activity: In the face of negative emotions such as sadness, anger, or pain, physical activity can help both emotionally and physically. Try physical activities like walking, hiking, stretching, jogging, running, or riding a bicycle to release pent-up energy associated with high stress levels. Even ten minutes of activity can be very effective for reducing stress levels.
Improve Time Management: Learning how to manage one's time will reduce stress and make one more effective at reaching daily goals. Use a daily planner or a "to do" list and learn how to minimize interruptions that consume precious time.
Learn How to Delegate: Delegating tasks not only reduces stress and creates more time; it also promotes trust in relationships.
Be Aware of Stress Symptoms: When under stress, the heart beats faster, muscles tighten, breathing becomes shallower, and often nausea or headache will result. When symptoms of stress appear, stop and take a break.
Get Adequate Sleep: Getting enough sleep will enable one to better handle stress. Sleeping environment is important as well. Make sure that nothing interferes with peaceful sleep.
Learn How to Laugh: Laughter is a great way to fight stress. Studies have shown that laughter causes a measurable decrease in stress and a measurable increase in the immune system. Laughter increases blood flow to the brain and at the same time endorphins are released into the body making one feel better.
Find Someone to Talk To: Stress can be reduced by talking it over with someone. Find someone who will listen without judgment and who will help find solutions. Seek out optimistic people because these people tend to have lower stress levels in their own lives.
Learn Affirmations: Find some positive phrases that fit, learn them, and repeat them often. Write uplifting notes to yourself.
Say No When Necessary: Having too many responsibilities creates stress. Know your limitations and stay within them. Be sure to say NO without feeling guilty!
Breathe Deeply: Stress promotes shallow, rapid breathing. This deprives the body of oxygen and further exacerbates stress. Consciously breathing slowly and deeply will help the body relax.
Eat a Nutritious Diet: Often stress leads people to eat unhealthy foods, but this will only worsen the stressful situation. Highly refined foods have a bad effect on blood sugar levels and this will contribute to feelings of stress. Eating whole foods will help the body stay regulated and within normal levels.
Count Those Blessings: Focusing on problems contributes to stress. Trying to dwell on the things that are right will encourage feelings of appreciation. Appreciation is a powerful stress-buster.
Get a Massage: A massage will increase blood flow, lower blood pressure, help one rest, and elevate mood.
When all else fails, take a day and give it to yourself. Make it a day that you do not put anyone else ahead of yourself for that period of time. Spend time in activities that will renew the spirit and reaffirm priorities. This should make it possible to return to regular life feeling refreshed and renewed with a better sense of purpose and direction.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
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