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Monday, May 20, 2013

Learning the Art of Stress Management

Stress is something that affects us all.  Whether it is physical, mental, or emotionally dragging you down, it is important to remember we need to try to maintain composure and keep stress to a minimum if possible.  How you deal with your stress is very individualized and important.

There have been several studies done that link high stress with aging.  To me, it seems like common sense.  Stress affects us on a cellular basis.  Stress affects our organs.  Stress affects our brains ability to process and can negatively affect our health on a number of fronts, so why wouldn't it affect the aging process too?

In an age where it seems that we all need to find the "fountain of youth" through the stress of our daily lives, I find that awareness plays a key role in our ability to cope and manage stress minimizing its negative impact on the quality of our life.  Stress management could be the best answer to our anti-aging needs!  Just a thought...

When you feel stressed, do you recognize it?  Your heart rate might increase, tension in your muscles might also increase as well as just over all feeling drained.  I would like to suggest taking a few moments to write down what is causing you immediate stress.  Draw your awareness to the situations that cause you the most stress and find a ways to cope.  Most of the time stress affects us whether we know it or not.  If we become aware of what stress is negatively affecting us, we can make smarter decisions to cope and our overall wellness will be better off....AND we might save ourselves the bags under our eyes as well as a few added wrinkles.

I have compiled a list of helpful stress coping activities that may help you deal with what life throws at you day to day:

  1. Keep a journal at work or your office.  Every morning before you start your day, take 5 minutes to write down everything bothering you at the present moment and once you close that book--you are not to visit the topic again.  This has been extremely helpful to me.
  2. When you feel something is causing you stress, take a 5 minute walk around to cool off.
  3. Breathe in.  Breathe out.
  4. Learn the art of perspective.  Keep the major problems in perspective to minimize the stress of the situation.  It is a hard practice to keep, but once you realize what you think is a big deal really isn't that big of a deal your stress will decrease.
  5. Allow yourself to take regular breaks.  This will ensure you are not overloading yourself.
  6. If one project is starting to get to you, stop in your tracks.  Switch to something else for a little bit, then revisit the other.  This will allow your mind to breath before being crazy sets in and you are stressed out.
  7. Practice yoga...I am not kidding, it will help your mind focus and begin to block out the stress.  Focusing in your energy, stretching, and allowing for peaceful meditation will help you cope with the physical and mental stress.
  8. Learn to say no.  Most the time I think stress is brought on by my inability to say, "I am sorry, but I just can't do it today!" As a whole, then it makes you feel bad.  Don't allow saying no to make you feel bad.  Learn not to over extend yourself.
  9. Make time for you.  Whether it is working out, getting a massage, or your nails done you have to make time for yourself to breathe.
These are just a few activities that I practice to help with daily stress.  I challenge you to become the master of Stress management!  You can do it!

Remember to make time for your mental sanity through it all.  It doesn't do you any good to stress yourself out.  It has a negative affect on you and on others especially if you are in a job to which you deal with customers and people all day.  I would rather know I am coping and dealing with stress to the best of my ability and not passing the stress on to those I encounter throughout the day.  :-)

-Catie Manning, Hairstylist

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