Stress is there for ALL of us! All of the time, even! Cavemen and Cavewomen experienced it in the bush when confronted with enemies or predators, or famine or drought, or storms, or illnesses. Modern life is plagued with money issues, job issues, getting education for our kids, dealing with elaborate bureaucracies, and even keeping up with information overload.
Each of us is an individual. One person’s stress is irrelevant to someone else. So the word “stress” is too vague, un-informative. We each experience stress in different ways. For some, it is anxiety. For others, anger or irritability. For still others, it is insecurity and weakness. Many cannot sleep. Rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation, sweaty palms and feet, trembling — all are common signs of stress.
Stress can happen from internal tendencies based on genetics and upbringing leading to post-traumatic stress over all kinds of associations that occur in daily life. External stress comes from life events that are shocking, like a house burning down, a pet or a relative dying, auto accidents, illness, etc. Whether internal or external, stress physiology is very similar.
So, what can be done? Internal stress may need psychotherapeutic help or curative treatment by classical homeopathy, Chinese medicine, or Tibetan medicine. Nevertheless, daily stress reduction techniques in the moment can be temporarily helpful regardless of the type of stress.
Here is a list of suggested techniques gleaned from my 45 years of dealing with patients suffering from chronic disease, always involving high levels of stress!
1) Get enough sleep! Even more fundamentally, start by taking good care of yourself first. A huge percentage of people experience high stress learn to be self-sacrificing. This can be for sake of family demands, or work demands. These take priority over personal needs. Sleep is often sacrificed early on. Sleep deprivation of even small amounts (say, getting only six or seven hours for a few nights instead of the needed eight hours) render the nervous system over-reactive to even small stresses. So sleep is most important. Also, taking care of yourself first includes exercise, good nutrition, hydration, even occasionally playing solitaire or something!
2) Take a moment to ask: What is in my power to fix, and what is not? We tend to react personally to what other people say, what they suffer, what is happening on the news, etc. This applies particularly to what is happening with family members. Ultimately, events that you cannot do anything about cause unnecessary stress and leads to chronic disease over time. Not over-reacting to things over which you have no power to alter is NOT being uncaring! You can care without having be personally stressed! Actually, it is the most practical way to be truly present with people or issues!
3) Take a moment to ask: Is this something I will remember in 5 years? If the kids are late to school today, or you make a mistake in a business meeting, or you miss the goal kick in soccer — does it really matter in the long scheme of things? Learn to ask yourself, SO WHAT? more often. It’s amazing how many things go by the wayside with this simple technique! Of course, sometimes truly big events do actually occur! This simple technique helps you to sort the mole-hills from the mountains. It helps you to stay focussed on what really does count!
4) Work to eliminate WHAT-IFs from your life! This takes some work at self-observation! This is one of the most common bad habits we learn in childhood and carry through life! “What-if’s” are a complete waste of nervous energy and time! Only rarely can you do something practical to deal with them — and those things are usually easy and stressless. The rest is just wasted anxiety! Work hard, and ask your spouse and family for help with this if you are plagued with this problem!
5) Work to eliminate SHOULDS from your life! Too many people are constantly measuring themselves and their actions by Shoulds — undue expectations that lead to constant self-doubt, insecurity, guilt, and fear. A modicum of expectations do indeed grease a civilized society, but an excess of “shoulds” become a stress-laden plague.
6) Make a plan, create a checklist, write things down! When we feel overwhelmed, it helps to take a moment to focus on ACTION. To do that, making a plan requires you to set priorities and ignore unimportant issues. Making a checklist gives you something to do in sequence. Writing requires you to define things, to label things, to objectify things rather than being overwhelmed with emotions. Lets say your house has burned down or tornado-destroyed! You are in shock. Overwhelmed. It seems like the end of everything! By taking time to sit down and make a plan and checklist in writing, you reshape your future and sleep soundly!
7) Get comfortable with “One Day at a Time”. This phrase used so commonly in AA is extremely wise! Once you have a plan, you can break things down into manageable chunks that you can accomplish one day at a time. By the end of the each day, you can relax knowing that you have taken a step toward your solution, whatever it is! Doing this gives you motivation to keep going through months and years!
8) Ask for help! One common habit people have when under stress is to try not to burden others, or to imagine they can handle everything themselves. This just adds to stress. Ask for help enables others to take care of things that can lighten your load. And talking to others can help you set a context, set priorities, gain courage to deal with whatever is stressful. Time spent taking this step can gain you lots of benefits toward de-stressing.
9) Take some breaks! When decisions are pressing in on you, take a break, go for a walk, sleep on it. You always can give yourself permission to change the pace of life instead of constantly running on the treadmill! People tend to forget this, which leads them to constantly race through mostly less significant actions.
10) Don’t forget MDinyourHand.com! If you are having an anxiety or panic attack, it can be relieved very quickly simply by using your cellphone or computer! Go to Anxiety/Panic module. Answer some questions to identify what is individual to your situation, then play the expert-system-chosen MP3 eRemedy DIRECTLY on your device. You should experience relief within minutes or perhaps a few hours!
Stress is common to us ALL, without exception! These techniques can be helpful in the moment! I’m sure that you know others that help you to get through your days! Lets create a discussion on this blog where all of you can share your ideas and experiences!
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