Here are some successful techniques to help you combat the occurrence of stress and to deal effectively with its effects:
- Smile More – This tricks your brain into thinking that everything’s OK
- Send fewer emails and text messages - human contact helps counteract stress, while emailing and texting both isolate and exacerbate stress levels
- Ask why – for a change, rather than rationalize why you didn’t do something, ask why something is so important. Sometimes understanding the issue helps alleviate stress.
- Stay positive – one way to counteract the negative emotions and refocus your mind away from stressors.
- Learn how to breathe properly – since chronic stress lead restriction of the muscular tissue in the chest, which causes decrease range of motion of the chest wall. As a result, your chest expands much less. Put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. Breathe. Does your left or right hand raise more? If it is your right hand, you breathe through your chest breather and that’s not good for your stress level. Here is some scientific definitions for each type of breathing (courtesy of PsychCentral.com )
- Chest breathing is inefficient because the greatest amount of blood flow occurs in the lower lobes of the lungs, areas that have limited air expansion in chest breathers. Rapid, shallow, chest breathing results in less oxygen transfer to the blood and subsequent poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues. The good news is that similar to learning to play an instrument or riding a bike, you can train the body to improve its breathing technique. With regular practice you will breathe from the abdomen most of the time, even while asleep.
- Abdominal breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is a large muscle located between the chest and the abdomen. When it contracts it is forced downward causing the abdomen to expand. This causes a negative pressure within the chest forcing air into the lungs. The negative pressure also pulls blood into the chest improving the venous return to the heart. This leads to improved stamina in both disease and athletic activity. Like blood, the flow of lymph, which is rich in immune cells, is also improved. By expanding the lung’s air pockets and improving the flow of blood and lymph, abdominal breathing also helps prevent infection of the lung and other tissues. But most of all it is an excellent tool to stimulate the relaxation response that results in less tension and an overall sense of well being.”
- Begin to visualize – When you have some free time, imagine a stressful situation. Imagine how your react in a calm way. Work at it for several times as this will help you exercise your mind in reacting differently in an actual time of stress. When you actually experience stressful situation, focus and imagine a relaxing experience: a walk on the beach, quiet time at home, etc. Concentrate on the details of your imagined location.
- Begin to meditate – in ten minutes you can foster relief from stress. Meditation produces antibodies against infection. If you meditate at least an hour a day for a period of 8 weeks, you would increase your brain’s activity linked to positive emotion and higher levels of antibodies. To do so, sit in silence, or turn on CD with relaxing music, empty your mind or any concern and imagine a calming word or phrase. Repeat it over and over. Watch the transformation happen.
- Get a massage – yes, get a massage. Any massage can help alleviate stress, whether it is back, neck, or shoulder massage, full body massage, head massage, foot massage, or Shiatsu.
Finally, in my article Want To Save Your Brain?, I offer a number of foods to help save you mind. Here I'd like to offer some tips on the type of foods and drinks you should consume to help you deal with stress:
- Project Manager's Breakfast - eat breakfast, even if you it is a piece of fruit, or fruit smoothies
- During the day - snack on healthy foods such as banana, yogurt, nuts and raisins.
- Project Manager's Lunch and Dinner – pick baked beans, tuna, sushi, vegetable soup, whole-grain sandwiches, salads, baked fish or chicken, pasta with a tomato-based sauce.
- Project Manager's Drinks – reduce coffee, tea, and soda intake. Instead, have a decaffeinated coffee or tea, 100 % fruit juice, or herbal teas. Drink plenty of water. Alcohol – stick to a glass of wine a day.
- Project Manager's Vitamins - take B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and zinc. For herbal supplements pick liquorice root, aloe vera, lemongrass and kava kava, mint, dandelion, fennel, ginger, slippery elm and meadowsweet teas to help digestion.
- Jane Clarke’s Bodyfoods Cookbook: Recipes for Life
- Steps to a Healthier You
- Beating Stress, Anxiety and Depression: Groundbreaking Ways to Help You Feel Better
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