Stress What Stress
The holidays are upon us and that usually means everyone is under more stress. Especially for those of us dealing with chronic pain or a chronic illness. Everyone can benefit from some stress reduction tips. Day to day living can often become overwhelming. Day to day living often becomes harder when you are trying to get everything done in between your down time and your up time. The best way to not become overwhelmed is to make a list and do a LITTLE bit each day.
Making a list helps you keep on top of the things that need to be done that are important to you. It is also a good way to keep you focused and on a schedule. If you haven’t done so, begin creating your list. Get comfy and jot down the things you need to get done or want to get done today, this week, or this holiday season. Keep the list close by in case you want to add anything to it. Once your list is complete, review it. Make sure to ask others for help with the items you are going to need help with. If you don’t get item number one done today, try again tomorrow. Remember, many things can happen to anyone during any given day that are out of their control. So try to maintain flexibility and focus on one thing at a time.
Some Tips for Stress Reduction
It is no secret that stress can and often does exaggerate one’s pain. If stress is getting to you, below are some tips to help with stress reduction.
Meditate– For those of you not familiar with meditation it is basically about clearing your mind of the thoughts that are creating stress for you. Anyone can do it, it’s like exercise for your mind. It takes practice. All you need to do is to focus your attention on a single object. Once your attention is on that object, continue to keep your mind focused on that object even when your focus gets interrupted with other thoughts. Meditation is the practice of awareness. The more you practice the easier it is to focus. It also allows you to become mindful of your situation. Meditation gives you the ability you need to regroup.
Practice Deep Breathing – Did you know that taking a deep breathe signals your nervous system to calm down? Before you start practicing deep breathing, pay attention to how you are breathing now that you are stressed. Most likely your breathing is short and shallow. There are many different ways to practice deep breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing or deep abdominal breathing is easy to do. Breathe in through your nose and feel your abdomen fill with air as it pushes out. Then breathe out through your mouth with pursed lips feeling the air leaving your abdomen. Do this 5-6 times and voila – you will notice that you are much calmer.
Reach out for Support from Others – Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. If you have that family member or friend you can call and share with them how you feel that’s great. If you don’t, try adding a page to your journal and express yourself with your writing. Make sure if you do talk with someone, that they are someone you can trust and someone you feel understands you. Both of these methods of expression are very helpful for stress reduction.
Listen to Music – Many people find certain types of music calming to their soul. If you are one of them, make sure to keep your favorite relaxing music easily accessible and play it. Stop and listen to it. You may even want to practice deep breathing while you relax and listen.
Get up, Get Moving and do Something you Like to do – I understand that some of us can’t actually get moving in the form of exercise. However, many of us have lots of things we like to do. Take a moment and think of what you like to do that gets you up and going. If taking a walk, riding your bike, going to the park, or doing a craft project are things you like to do and find relaxing, take a break and go do it.
Be Grateful – It can always be worse. We often discuss this in our monthly meetings. I am not down playing our pain, it’s just that many others face futures that sadly are bleaker than ours. No matter how much we think we don’t have, we do have a lot. Be grateful for it.
I hope these tips help you with stress reduction. They are some of the top tips for helping you reduce your stress. Continue to practice these tips as you go forward, especially meditating or deep breathing. Integrate them into your life and make them part of your daily routine. They are great tools that will help you stay on top of life’s daily challenges.