Archive for March, 2011

Relaxation Techniques For Anxiety

When we look at anxiety to examine its purpose and how we can avoid it we must consider many things. It is a physiological response our bodies produce to cope with upcoming for or current uncontrollable or unavoidable situation. It is a mood that relaxation-techniques-for-anxietyis triggered by both external and internal conditions. Sometimes the feelings are masked and we are unsure how and why we are feeling a certain way. Lets take a look at relaxation techniques for anxiety.

Relaxation techniques for anxiety

There is a much overlap in stress relief and in the techniques for anxiety that can be used. Both are focused on realizing that it is far more often our choice of feeling the stress and anxiety or at least lowering the intensity. This takes much time and effort; it is a skill rooted in self-discipline. This should be used in combination with a skill called pivoting. Pivoting is change your current perspective to one of a much more constructive and peaceful one. It is changing the unpleasant and negative thought that arises in our mind into a different look on the thing in question. Instead of saying to yourself “why the heck did that guy cut me off, what a jerk!” say “that buy must be in a hurry”. Anger can bring us stress and anxiety so this should be another issue addressed. The skill of pivoting can be used in any situation, not just in anger.

Anxiety relief

To gain anxiety relief can be quit simple and can also be complex, depending on the skill being used. Having the ability to calm in the moment with deep breathing is another incredibly helpful stress and anxiety relief tool. Check out this link for deep breathing, this simple skill only need be remembered in the moment to have its great impact. Meditation is another of the dozens of great relaxation techniques for anxiety. It is a top tier tool that brings not only peace to the mind in the moment but in future situations it will help us make better choices. It changes the shape of our brain and builds the prefrontal cortex, a large area in the brain that separates our mind from that of an animal. Take a look at some more relaxation techniques for anxiety and take steps in the direction of peace and empowerment!

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Coping With Stress

Most of us struggle with stress on a far to often basis. In fact the American Institute of Stress believes about 50% of adults suffer from chronic stress and 75% or more report stress being a problematic issue in their life. These numbers are coping with stressstaggering and they are trending upwards. The negative affects of stress can be emotional, mental, and physical. Most individuals in this field would agree the physical affects of stress are by far the biggest concern. Physical signs of stress are extremely wide and varied; they can be nagging health issues, chronic conditions, and go as far as life debilitating or life ending. We in no way want to scare you as motivation to start coping with stress more, it is just a fact of chronic stress. Fear based motivation is never a good choice. Coping with stress takes patience and effort but it is a skill that can be accomplished by all.

How some are coping with stress

There is unfortunately many poor methods of coping with stress. Some that seem to work and others that are just plain self-destructive. Drinking and doing drugs is the most common. Although many would agree a couple drinks when while under stress can be helpful. This should be in combination with other methods as well finding stress reducers. Overdoing drugs and alcohol will not only lead to health issues but can really stunt and reverse true progress in coping with stress and with stress management. Other poor methods range from disconnecting from the world to self-deprecation to physical, mental, or emotional abuse towards another.

How we should be coping with stress

We should take the time to reflect and write down what we feel causes us stress. Really look at the list and think about why these things cause you stress. Are there things you can avoid? Are there things that shouldn’t be stressful? Analyzing what brings us stress is also very important. Techniques for coping with stress are wide and varied; each will work differently from person to person. When coping with stress we should look at what kind of stress it is. Is it chronic or acute? Are you in the moment of it or has it already happened? Is it mixed with other emotions and events?   Deep breathing, mediation, accepting what you cannot change, self-respect, proper sleeping, a good diet, and talking with others are all great methods of coping with stress or preventing stress from arising. Feel free to browse around to find more ways for coping with  stress and stress prevention techniques.

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Stress Management With Herbal Medicine

Stress management is something we do both actively and passively. We gain skills to use in the face of stress and we develop ways to relieve stress when no stressors are present.  Some of us use pharmaceuticals to calm down like Xannax or Valium.  Others prefer to use natural remedies such as Rhodiola or ginseng.  In this article we will discuss natural medicines to use as a stress reducer.stress-management-medicine

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is though to be the master adaptogen.  An adaptogen is an herb that is said to increase resistance to stress, anxiety, fatigue, and trauma.  One method of action they are thought to use is balancing endocrine hormones and the immune system.  If you are in excess or deficient in these the herb will lower or rise the hormones to balance their levels.  It is also said that Rhodiola functions at the allostasis level which is a far more dynamic way of dealing with long term stress.  In addition to this studies have shown that it improves mood and can alleviate depression.  It has also shown to improve physical and mental performances.

Ginseng

Ginseng comes in many genus, the most common being:  Siberian, Panax, American, and Red.  Ginseng has traditionally been used as an adaptogen, aphrodisiac, stimulant, type II diabetes, and for the reduction of stress.  One study shows that is promising when used to increase overall quality of life.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is becoming popular for use as a stress reducer and for mood support.  In Ayurvedic medicine it is said to be an adaptogen and is helpful is relieving stress.  It is a highly respected plant as is referred to as “the elixir of life”.  Tulsi Tea which can be bought at many health food stores has holy basil in all of its blends.  Many people I have talked to regard it as the best supplement they have taken for emotional well being and as a stress reducer.  I feel the same way, for me it works great and helps my stress management to be easy and thoughtful.

Although studies aren’t extensive for these medicines many have shown these and other herbs to be effective in relieving stress.  They are definitely worth a try and although we all react to medicines differently we should be able to find ones that work for us.  Stress management can certainly be improved with the use of medicines and it definitely is worth the time to find what works for you.

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How To Reduce Stress

Many people want to know how to reduce stress. It is a common goal and one that we can find to make us feel helpless and how-to-reduce-stressfeel that it is impossible to accomplish. It is important to change this idea and if we choose not to we will fail to accomplish these goals. Our mind follows our thoughts (as do our body and emotions). Defeating yourself with such self-destructive language will result in the self fulfilling prophecy that we etched into ourselves. We can find out how to reduce stress when we find out who we are. Of course finding out how to reduce stress is possible without this; however it is one of the most effective and preventative method available.

How to reduce stress

There are some of us with no idea of how to reduce stress. Some of us wander about life without a clue as to why they are in and get themselves into stressful events. These individuals often create these events and not just fall into the situation. Feeling the stress response is almost always a choose that we make. When we can understand this we will know a powerful way to now only reduce stress but prevent it.

Making the right choices

When you find yourself feeling stressed remember it is a choice. Pattern your mind and tell yourself you have the choice. You are in control and you are fully capable of handling in situation. Again, your mind always listens to what you tell yourself, as does your body and your emotions. Understanding this is imperative to knowing how to reduce stress in your everyday life and preventing in most situations. This is an idea we talk about a lot here at stress reducer. That is because with a true reflection on this idea and the change of your reaction (with practice) with this technique will empower you in many walks of life.

Take control of stress

Stress is not here to control you, it is here to be controlled by you. You will always have the choice and you will always be able to make it. It can be extremely hard in many situations but remembering you can do it will help you make the mature choice. With self-discipline and this technique of mindfulness based stress reduction we can achieve much more in our lives and be much happier. Self-discipline is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it will become. Work for yourself and develop these skills for yourself and those around you!

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Helping yourself by helping others

reduce-stress-by-helping-othersStress can come in a variety of forms and from a variety of different sources. Some stress comes in the form of sadness and aggravation, while other stress comes in the form of decreased energy and little to no motivation to be productive. For some people work is their main stressor, while for others their spouses and families are their main source of stress. Fact is, each case of stress is different, and there are only a few universal stress reducers; helping others is the universal stress reducer many sufferers need.

Giving You a Good Sense of Accomplishment

Helping others can be a tedious task, and can even be physically and mentally taxing no matter how strong of a person you are. When it comes down to it, the effort and work you put into helping others comes back ten-fold in the feeling you get when you see the smile on someone else’s face – a smile that you put there. I can tell you from personal experience that nothing feels better than helping someone in needs. Whether it’s by doing a small noble deed such as holding the door open for a handicapped woman, or something much larger such as helping to feed people is disaster stricken countries, the feeling you feel when you see the relief in their faces is unlike any other. So no matter how down you feel, or how stressed out you are try helping others out, it’s a great stress reducer.

How You Can Start Helping

For those who are inexperienced with volunteer “helping” work it can be a little confusing knowing where to go, and what to do when looking to help. The answer to this problem is simple: whether you want to join an organization and take on real volunteer jobs, or if you want to just help the average Joe on the street, anything and everything helps. That is, even the smallest of deeds is greatly appreciated by the community. If y0u’re still focused on working on a larger volunteer project here are some places/organizations that are always looking for a helping hand:

  • Homeless Voice – The homeless can always use all the help they can get, so join the homeless voice and get helping.
  • Church – A wide variety of people come to church seeking help and guidance, and you can be a huge part of whether they like they’re experience or not.
  • Retirement Homes – while people who reside in retirement homes are usually treated fairly well they tend to get lonely sometimes. You’d be surprised you can make someone just by listening to their stories.

 

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Stress Is What You Make It

We make choices countless times daily. We choose what to eat, wear, say, etc. One thing we may not realize that we have the choice of is getting upset. Getting upset gives our personal power away to another. It lets us become stress-is-what-you-make-itemotionally weak and compromises out decision making skills. The majority of us don’t realize that we have the choice to get upset. It takes time and self-discipline to make this choice. It takes thoughtfulness and it requires a shift in life philosophy. All of us are capable keeping our upset in check which makes stress management much easier.

Is stress really worth it?

One of the first things to consider is the thought “is it worth it”. That answer is rarely yes and more than not we don’t realize the effect it has on us. We should realize that little is accomplished by being upset. We can still protect ourselves (better in-fact) and we can keep a calm demeanor.

Make your choice

An important realization to make is that, of course, it’s a choice to be upset. It may not always be an easy one to make but it is almost always the right one to make. Making this paradigm shift in thought is one that brings us to a higher level of self-empowerment. It is a potent stress reducer and therefor great for our health and mind.

Bringing it all together

Many abilities come into play when you choose you want to be in control of your mood. We must understand that rarely are we upset for the reason we think we are. We are unhappy when something happens that we don’t want to. We should understand that when things go aerie, adapting to the new happening will give us the power of the situation back to us. This idea is a stress reducer, it prevents the need for stress relief because we cut stress off in its path.

Once we gain control of our upset we give ourselves a great self-empowerment and a strong life skill. Adapting to change and learning new skills is the constructive and thoughtful way to live our lives. It helps us and it helps the ones around us. Preventing stress is the most effective stress reducer and a skill we can all learn.

 

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Common Everyday Tasks Used for Stress Reduction

going-for-a-walkStress is something that’s always around us. Almost everything you do in life has the ability to cause some kind of stress, whether it’s mentally or physically, and there isn’t much you can do to completely avoid the main stressors in your life – most of them are there and there for good. You can however control how you manage your stress, and in fact there are plenty of everyday common activities that are extremely useful in stress reduction. Here are just a few.

Enjoy a Casual Stroll Through the Park or Your Neighborhood

You’d be amazed at how much a little bit of light walking can do lighten your mood. When you’re feeling a little (or very) stressed from work, or just feel a little overwhelmed drop what you’re doing and take a 5-10 minute walk. Whatever you were doing before can wait and will be there when you come back. Try to enjoy your walk; look around, observe what’s going on around you. Smell the fresh air and walk somewhere you’ve never walked before. As a stress reducer a leisure walk is very efficient, and in some cases can completely eliminate your stress.

Take a Bath

Society is becoming more and more fast-paced, and because of this people want to spend as little time as possible doing non-work related things, such as bathing. While showering is just as effective at keeping you clean than taking a bath, taking a bath has one main advantage that you don’t get from showering – stress reduction. Take an extra 10 or 20 minutes out of your day and fill up your tub and just lay in there. Lay in there and think about your day, or don’t if you don’t want to. Some people like to close their eyes and just relax, that’s fine too.

Sleeping

Sleep is one of the most often overlooked stress reducers, and probably also one of the most efficient. Something as simple as sleeping can completely eliminate your stress. Lack of sleep is actually a very common cause of stress, and if consistently done and lead to many more serious problems. Try to get about 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. You’ll find yourself full of energy during the day, and you’ll also find yourself in a much better mood overall. You’d be surprised to see how important sleep is to keeping a stress free life.

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Stress Management – Giving Yourself Time to Relax

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Ahhh relaxation...It can really reduce stress!

Stress is one of the most undesirable feelings in life, usually stemming from being over-worked, or having high expectations constantly set on you. All of the rigorous activities you perform on a daily basis will eventually get tiresome and usually cause tremendous stress if the right stress management steps aren’t taken. One of the key components in a stress management program is giving yourself time to relax, whether it be in the form of a hobby, a nap, or even meditation .What the relaxing activity is isn’t really significant. What is significant is that you have some way to wind your day down calmly doing something you enjoy.

How and What Relaxing Activities Help

Constantly working and thinking about working can pay a huge toll on your physical and mental health, often times causing you to be restless and eventually turning your life very stale with little to no excitement or happiness (after all you are spending all your time doing undesirable activities). While there’s no doubt work it good and actually necessary to live a stress-free life, it needs to be done in moderation. In order to properly moderate yourself you should set aside a specific time for work, and then set aside specific times each day to go about doing whatever it is you enjoy doing in your spare time. This helps balance you mentally, and give your body a rest from all of your day-to-day work.

Planning Your New, Balanced Life

In order to successfully carry out your leisure activities without any thoughts or work or guilt you need to set yourself up with a time plan for your day; this is required in any stress management plan. You need to plan ahead of time how long and what hours you’ll be working, and how long and what hours you’re free to do as you please. Choosing your work time usually isn’t up to you, but if it is it’s suggested that you put aside around 8 hours daily for work. As for free time schedule at least an hour or two to do whatever you like and wind your day down peacefully.

Stick to your new daily stress management plan and you’ll be well on your way to living stress-free and happy. Just remember to keep yourself on track, only using your work time for work, and your free time for leisure activities.

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Eustress-ercise Your Stress Away!

Exercise is a word that wouldn’t be used in a natural state. We would get all the exercise we need and more living naturally. The benefits wouldn’t be benefits they would just be a way of life. Health would be at an optimum level; peace of mind and happiness would be second nature to us. However almost all of us live in the “real world” and are constricted to office/sedentary jobs. We are immersed in the chaos of life and finding time to exercise can prove challenging. It is very important, not just as a stress management activity but for your general health and well-being.exercise-your-stress-away

Getting healthy and enjoy the benefits

Jogging, swimming, yoga, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, playing sports, pilates, dance, and many more choices are yours. Exercise is great for stress relief, mental clarity, and emotional balance. The benefits definitely don’t end there and I feel the benefits received are much more than the effort exerted. Exercising can be fun and it doesn’t have to be hard. Finding or reconnecting with a way to exercise that you enjoy should be a focus of yours if you want all these benefits.

Getting started

In our western culture we want a magic pill to take, the cure all. We want instant gratification and the simple truth is that it’s hard to come by. Continued effort yields great results and a focused mind will bring this to you. Getting into an exercising schedule is the hardest part. Once you are in the groove then it becomes nearly seamless. You just do it. Trying joining a group that exercises, like an intramural sports team or a trail runners group. Find a friend that exercises regularly or wants to start as well. When you miss a workout you feel the difference and want to do it. If you can get over the obstacle of beginning it is easy sailing from there. It will of course still take your effort but it will come so naturally.

Get the most out of it!

Take your exercise to a new level and implement stress relief and stress management techniques into the workout. Meditate as you run to a phrase such as “I am in control of my life” or “stress has no power over me”. Mediate on your breathing, keeping it steady and as deep as possible while exercising, be without thought. Being fit is your choice and it always will be. Find the exercise that will be your most enjoyable stress management activity. Exercising is something nature never intended us to be separate from.  Reconnect with yourself and workout!

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Using Yoga for Stress Relief

Yoga StretchSeveral people looking for a way to combine relaxation with exercise turn to yoga as a perfect balance of the two.  Many people enjoy yoga because it gives them the relaxation they need after being stressed.  I spoke with a professor and long time advocate for yoga about the activity and she said she started doing it because she was looking for a total body exercise.  Even after a lifetime of activity in tennis, cycling and modern dance, yoga has improved her flexibility.

What is yoga?

Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on individual abilities within different poses, each of which have different goals, like strength building, toning, or flexibility.  People who participate are encouraged to modify each pose to their own ability and avoid pushing themselves into something that is uncomfortable or impossible for them to do.  Practicing yoga will not only help you with your flexibility, but also with your breathing.  The combination of the two can greatly reduce pain as you grow older and reduce stress as well! Yoga can also have effects beyond simple fitness benefits and can help a person improve their life in general.

Yoga and stress relief

One of the best benefits of yoga is its ability to help you clear your mind.  As we rush about our days, we are constantly reminded of all the things we need to get done, racing from one thought process to another.  We need a break from this routine, and yoga can provide that for you.  Practice breathing deeply, this will help you concentrate on the activity at mind – breathing – and not hundreds of other thoughts that keep you worried all day long.  This also acts as a form of meditation and provides that mental break that you have been looking for.  Contrary to popular belief, yoga can actually be a physically demanding activity that is great for your cardiovascular system!  Holding poses and stretches for extended periods of time really puts a lot of stress and strain into stretching those muscles out to be good and healthy!  This also raises your heart rate and causes the need for oxygen to increase!  In this natural sense, yoga has proven for centuries to increase cardiovascular health and overall well being.

Is yoga for you?

Yes! People who practice yoga on a regular basis often report that it has helped them become a more compassionate person.  It is very calming and there is also that space where you can reflect on things that you have time to contemplate.  Anyone can do yoga, you just need to find the right teacher and approach it with the right attitude.  Yoga is for everybody, you just have to keep doing it and listen to and respect your body while you do it.  Use your intelligence and never give up.  Having the right attitude when attempting anything new that will require a schedule in life takes great mental strength, here at Stressreducer.org we encourage you to find this strength and better yourself!

So do yourself a favor and reduce your stress by taking up yoga.  Nobody has ever regretted it. Click this link to find yoga classes happening near you!

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