Just into October, and it officially feels like fall. Those free feelings of endless summer days and warm weather are completely gone. We've gone back to work, the kids have started school and everyone is wondering how to bring back those feelings of stress-free happiness and avoid burnout in the office and at home. These five steps are worth implementing to save your body and mind.
Stressors can be internal feelings, external behaviors or external influences. <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/how-stress-works2.htm" target="_hplink">Dr. Betty Burrows</a> notes that stressors can come in many forms, such as changes in your relationships, chemical influences such as alcohol or nicotine, noise pollution or physical deprivations including not enough sleep. Pinpoint the thing or things in your life that start to lead you down the road to no return and increase physical aliments such as headaches or sleeplessness.
Now that you know what you're dealing with, it is easier to take small quick actions to break the stress and tension cycle. Walk away from an angry co-worker or a crying baby by taking a walk around the block. This allows you to step away from the scene of your stress and not give into someone else's anxiety. If stepping outside isn't available to you, go into another room to grab a glass of water or hightail it into the bathroom and count to 100.
Deciding to be realistic and turn your negative thoughts into positive ones will take some time, but the power of positive thinking has proven benefits, according to researchers at the <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/positive-thinking/SR00009/NSECTIONGROUP=2" target="_hplink">Mayo Clinic</a>. Start simply by checking in with yourself throughout the day and spinning your negative thoughts into positive ones. Spill coffee on your desk? At least it missed your computer. Didn't make it to the bank before closing? Another walk to the bank tomorrow will give you some fresh air. If all else fails, laugh at yourself. It's not the end of the world.
e it exercise, meditation, getting more sleep, or dancing around your apartment, it's time to get physical. While it makes sense that things like exercise are good for your body, <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2011/February/exercising-to-relax?utm_source=mens&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=mens0211" target="_hplink">Harvard Medical School</a> links the neurochemical effects of physical activity to reduced levels of stress hormones. You can also use your mind to relax your body. The endorphins released by physical or <a href="http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001" target="_hplink">positive mental activity</a> generate feelings of relaxation and optimism, just what you need to counteract the stressors bringing you down.
Giving yourself time to recover from stressful situations is key. Find ways to counteract your daily activities that will recharge your batteries. If you have a sales job and you talk to people all day, then turn your phone off at home. If you're stuck in a boring job that doesn't mentally challenge you, find goal-oriented tasks to do at home or pick up a crossword puzzle. If you constantly travel for work, insist on a few days in between flights to relax at home.
It's important to realize that most of us have multiple stressors in our life, and tackling them all at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Instead, start with one big stressor or several smaller stressors and test the waters. Once you find the coping method that works best for you, it'll be easier to integrate these changes into your daily life.
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