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Dealing with Stress: 10 Winning Tactics

Aug 17, 2007
Whether you are a mother struggling to make ends meet, a student hoping to maintain a decent grade point average, or a CEO working to keep a company afloat, stress will be a part of your life. Stress, indeed, is common to anyone who has to meet certain requirements to succeed. This universality of stress, however, comes at a large price. Stress can often increase your chances of getting ill, manifesting the signs of aging early, and even dying of a heart attack.

Stress, although common, is not unavoidable. If you wish to cope with stress better, there is hope for you. Here are ten stress busting tips that can apply to you, whether you're at the top of the company, or at the bottom of the heap.

1. Early morning snoozes can actually make you more tired. Have you ever hit the snooze button on the alarm clock at least a dozen times in the start of your day, vowing to sleep for five more minutes only? This technique of sleeping briefly will not give you more energy, but will actually make you drowsier. When the alarm clock goes off, sit up slowly, breathe deeply, and gradually get yourself out of bed. A stress-free day begins the moment you wake up, so don't stress your body first thing in the morning.

2. Coffee, or any form of caffeine, will actually stress your body if you take too much at the beginning of your day. Research shows that coffee works in small, frequent doses, so if you must drink coffee, drink smaller servings every few hours. A large cup or two at breakfast will actually make you sluggish, and you may have a harder time keeping your concentration.

If you find that coffee no longer works for you, then you may want to switch to eating apples at the beginning of your day. Apples contain substances that can pep you up and keep you alert, and they are healthier fare than coffee, too.

3. Don't skip meals. Stress can make your body more susceptible to illness, and skipping meals will make you sicker than ever. If you have a hard time staying awake at your desk, bring healthy snacks with you, such as carrot sticks or celery sticks, so that you can snack while you work. This tip works for dieters as well: studies show that smaller food portions taken at more frequent intervals can actually help you lose weight.

4. Don't underestimate the power of exercise. If your office has a gym, take advantage of the proximity and do a few minutes of exercise at the end of each day. Exercise releases endorphins, which can increase your energy and make you feel better about yourself. Stress will make you feel lethargic and dull, feelings that exercise can help ease.

5. Engage in as much human contact as you can. Your secretary may come in to speak with you, a client will often ask for more time from you than usual, or a schoolmate will pop into your study hour for some small talk. Don't stress yourself out: human contact can actually help you relax and get your mind off your tasks. It can also help you think out of the box, and allow you to find solutions to your problems or dilemmas.

6. Although often believed to delay rather than speed up work, a mild form of multitasking can actually help you get through a stressful day. If you are deep in paperwork, or if you need to finish a lengthy book report, you can always engage in one task not associated with your job. You can set aside five minutes out of every hour so you can hone your fashion design skills, or take a look at pictures in a coffee table book, or simply read your e-mail. These five minutes can be seen as a reward for fifty-five minutes of a job well done.

7. Walk around every few minutes, and do not stay seated for over an hour at a time. A little exercise can keep the strain off your back and can renew your circulation. This can allow you to think and feel better.

8. Do not continuously check if you are moving according to your timetable. This can keep you from fulfilling your tasks to the best of your ability, since you will keep spending time on worrying. Channel your energy into a job well done, not a timetable well kept.

9. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Weekends are not meant for making up for lost sleep hours; they are for relaxation, and for doing things at a leisurely pace. More sleep equals better rest for your body, which translates to clearer thinking, more energy, and less stress on your all important weekdays.

10. When you feel that you are under stress, do not drink coffee or sweet foods. These can make you feel even more nervous, and can speed up your heart rate even if you are simply sitting down, typing, reading, or studying. Avoid stimulants, especially at night, when you should condition your body to sleep early.

You can fight stress by keeping yourself healthy, and by allowing your body a bit of rest every time it gets tired. As long as you manage your time wisely, eat the right foods, and sleep well, you don't need to be stressed out about the ill effects of stress.
About the Author
Pick up your Free Recovery Rolodex, Over 88 pages of self help and recovery tips, resources and links to enhance your life in addiction recovery.The author, Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an addictions therapist at a leading residential treatment center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills. Join our growing community. Tell your story! Visit: http://www.AddictionRecoveryBasics.com/
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