Learn How to Reduce Stress - A Resource Guide
Reduce Stress and Embrace Healthy Living
Guest Article by Dr. Ann Gatty
You're busy, stressed and feeling like the hamster running the
treadmill-wheel. Running but getting nowhere.
You know that you need to reduce stress in your life, but you feel
panicked by all that needs to be done for you, your co-workers, and your
What can you do? Slow down and take a deep breath. Stress can become a major concern in our lives.
Don't let stress get in your way of enjoying the life you want to live.
There are some easy stress management strategies you can follow that
help reduce stress and the effects it can have on your life.
The Importance of Good Health
Good health is an essential ingredient to a happy and enjoyable life.
The condition of good physical and mental health allows us to function well in our busy lives and feel good as we are doing so.
Aspects of health include both physical and emotional well-being. Being
physically healthy is of prime importance in life because it allows our
bodies to function properly as they should, without pain or discomfort.
The body was designed to move - including walking and other forms of
We move and exercise less because of all the modern technological advances from the automobile to the television remote.
The trend toward a more sedentary lifestyle is a danger that needs to be thwarted.
Staying more physically active on a daily basis is very important for
our physical health.
Adequate exercise helps us achieve good health by strengthening our
cardio-vascular system, strengthening our muscle mass and releasing the
endorphin gland chemicals to negate the affect of stress on the body.
Examples of physical activities include housework, gardening, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, and walking the dog.
Choose exercises you enjoy doing rather than those you dread. If you
enjoy being outdoors, choose running, walking, golf or tennis.
If you enjoy swimming, consider the local YMCA. Exercise can also be fun
when performing with others, so group exercise classes can be a good
way to get the body moving again.
Good physical body health is the result of regular exercise, proper diet and nutrition, and proper rest for physical recovery.
Injuries, disease, stress, aging and genetics can affect our good physical health.
Being mentally and emotionally healthy means that our mind and emotions
are functioning as they should, without anxiety, depression or other
Actually, the mind and body are so connected that psychological issues
and stressors can affect the physical body, and physical conditions can
affect the mind and emotions.
Causes of emotional ill health include stress, physical disease,
genetics and mental abuse.
Unprocessed emotions, such as stress, prolonged anger and anxiety, put
the whole body in a state of tension and weaken the immune system.
Sometimes our emotional state can prove more detrimental to our
well-being than lack of exercise or nutrition.
Take time to consider where you are in your life cycle. Are you a young
teen? Discovering the challenges of your young adulthood?
Mid-life concerns? Senior retired?
Each of these phases have specific and unique aspects that cause women
to deal with life situations differently and each of these phases has a
different complement of stressors.
Consider the difference between being a young mother trying to balance
the time management with kids traveling to several different
after-school activities and the mid-life situation as an empty nester.
Different types of stressors and anxieties! But as women, we experience
these different phases in our lives and find some phases more stressful
As women, we need to remember to take care of ourselves, especially
since we are often taking care of others.
Stress can become a magnified aspect of our lives when we deplete our
emotional and physical well-being as we address the many other demands
in our lives.
Taking time to replenish ourselves is an essential defense against the harmful results of too much stress.
Tips to Reduce Stress and Enjoy Healthy Living More
Write it out.
Plan what you are going to accomplish each day and keep a written checklist.
It is better not to plan too much because it makes it difficult to accomplish everything.
Scheduling your day's activities gives you a sense of control over your
time and your goals.
You are not in a race to see who gets there first or who accomplishes
the most in a day so, be realistic with your use of time and how you
schedule your tasks.
There are some applications for your mobile PDA devices that help you
plan and monitor your scheduled activities.
Having your daily tasks listed in writing gives you a chance to check
off the completed ones, and with the check-mark comes a sense of
Do one task at a time.
It seems easy to multitask but make certain that at the end of the day
you have something you can say you completed.
If you are multitasking monitoring work, kids and household activities,
keeping track of your responsibilities can become overwhelming.
Really try to focus on one task at a time if you can because it does not
help to feel anxious about the other undone tasks.
Trying to accomplish several things at once leads to distractions and
less accomplished in the end.
Sure, you may be able to work on some laundry as you are working on the
computer, but watch your starts and stops on the computer projects or
you will end up losing your train of thought and the distractions will
become a sense of annoyance.
If you have a big project, break it down into smaller sections so that
you can accomplish the portions of the project and feel a sense of
accomplishment as you move toward your goal.
Make time for yourself.
You can reduce stress in your daily life and enjoy the rewards of a
healthier lifestyle by taking a break from your work to recharge your
energy level as you take your mind off your work projects.
When planning your daily tasks that you want to accomplish, build in
some time for yourself.
Enjoy some stress relieving exercise, yoga, meditation or a nice walk to
get a break from the hectic life and enjoy some quiet time with you.
Eliminate some of the pent-up stress in your life and you will feel
better and you will have more productive energy.
Relax and Slow Down.
Relaxation techniques can reduce the impact of stress and improve your health.
But who has time to stop what they are doing long enough to promote relaxation.
And we always have deadlines which make us feel a sense of urgency. We try to work faster and harder!!
Working behind a desk all day, my shoulders start to get tired and my
back begins to ache.
Trying to meet deadlines by the day's end, I can feel the tension
creeping into all of my muscles. And did I mention it's 11:00am?
If you are like many women, you may have even forgotten how to relax
with our hectic schedules demanding more time than you have available.
Yet, it is very important that you take time to relax.
There are many benefits listed below.
Benefits of Relaxation Techniques
Slowing your heart rate
Lowering your blood pressure
Slowing your breathing rate
Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
Reducing anger and frustration
Improving ability to concentrate
These benefits are really health benefits and important that you not let your stress levels spiral out of control.
Finding ways to relax and calm the mind are varied and you have to find the ways that work best for you.
I have listed five types of relaxation techniques that many of my
colleagues enjoy and find fit in with their work and personal schedules.
As you peruse the examples, you will find that some take time in class
settings and some you can practice right at your work desk.
The important thing is that you learn to calm the mind when the stress gets overwhelming and take the time to relax.
Your body and mind will thank you.
Relaxation Techniques To Try
Meditation is a technique that allows you to focus your attention on
something that has no emotional value to you and forget about events or
things that are disturbing.
For a segment of time you can think about "nothing" to allow your mind
to calm down.
When you catch yourself thinking about your job, your family, or your
to-do list, push the invading thought away.
The goal of meditation is to find a way for you to not pay attention to
thoughts that you find disturbing because disturbing thoughts activate
You can do this activity by choosing a word on which to focus your attention. Pick a neutral word such as relax, calm or peaceful.
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly. Think of
your word as your exhale.
By paying attention to the word and your breathing, your attention
focuses on this activity rather than the thoughts that are causing you
If these thoughts intrude your mind pull your attention back to your breathing and your word.
By relaxing your brain, you are developing a sense of calm and lowering your stress hormone levels.
Try to steal 5-10 minutes a day to practice this technique.
If focusing on a word does not work well for you, you may find a reading passage might be more comfortable.
As you learn this technique, you will find it becomes easier.
This technique can also help you learn to stay more focused on a task
you have to complete and less distracted by the world around you.
Yoga originated over 3000 years ago and is made up of a series of poses, based on an ancient Indian spiritual discipline.
Initially, the practice of yoga emphasized the physical exercises and de-emphasized the spiritual and mental disciplines.
These postures were presented as a relaxing form of exercise.
Now with an increased acknowledgement of the connections between mind
and body, there is increased interest in re-incorporating the original
intentions of yoga.
People are interested in practicing a form of yoga that embraces correct body alignment and strength with controlled breathing.
Yoga is considered a great relaxation technique. One form of yoga is called Gentle yoga, or "hatha yoga."
With this form of yoga, the focus is on long stretches and flexibility, accompanied by slow, deep breathing.
This can be very soothing to the mind. It is the kind of mellow style most people picture when they think of yoga.
Music can be soothing to the soul and at the same time calm the racing
When you find yourself becoming tense and in need of relaxation, resort
to your IPod and listen to some music that has a slow enough tempo to
help you wind down.
Savvy friends of mine actually create combinations of songs that reflect the various moods they may be experiencing.
Then, they can tune into just the right sounds to either calm their spirits or energize their brains after a long day of stress.
Actually, I like to listen to classical music as I work in my office.
How about this fact?
Research shows that listening to 30 minutes of classical music may
produce calming effects equivalent to taking 10 mg of Valium!
No, I am not kidding. It's in the research.
Now this smells good. And it is a relaxation remedy that can be imported
right into the work environment.
Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils, which are complex, highly
fragrant substances that are extracted from various parts of flowers,
fruits, leaves, spices, roots and woods.
Many essential oils, including lavender oil and lemongrass oil, are
recognized for their natural stress reducing effects.
Aromatherapy helps improve concentration, focus and productivity, relaxation and rejuvenation and mood enhancement.
If you have to work in a building with limited air flow, using essential
oils in a diffuser or spritzing with a spray bottle can really clear
Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint and Rosemary are all excellent for
a quick pick me up.
Try Chamomile, Lavender or Sandalwood oil. All are thought to help
combat stress and tension.
In addition to essential oils, you might try scented candles and fragrant plants for mood enhancers.
Come to think of it, they also provide for a pleasant environment.
About the Author
Dr. Ann Gatty is a life coach infopreneur, helping women create a comfortable balance in their personal and professional lives.
Her website, Stress-Management-4-Women.com
offers insights and strategies for women in today's hectic living patterns.
Try making some of these easy aromatherapy recipes to reduce stress...
Balancing Bath Oil Recipe
Silk & Spice Bath Salt Recipe
Lavender Lotion Recipe
Aromatherapy Stress Reduction
Aromatherapy Recipes Homepage from Reduce Stress
Want to find more aromatherapy stress remedies? Use the Search Box below.
For example, simply type in "stress" (without the quotes) and hit Search.
Every page on this website that includes the word Stress will pop up. Poke through them and decide which recipe to try next.
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