Are you stressed…losing sleep over your finances, your health, your relationship or your job? You’re not alone. There are, however, some steps you can take to reduce your stress and increase your ability to take charge of your life experiences:
- Take the time to assess your stress levels.
- Learn relaxation methods, including Emotional Freedom Techniques, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, or other ways of reducing cortisol, your body’s stress hormone.
- Make a gratitude list.
You may be thinking that’s easy to say, but not so easy to do. What you may find, however, is that it’s easier than you think.
Start with a stress assessment. On a scale of 1 to 10:
- How well are you sleeping? Are you sleeping 6 to 8 hours every night? Are you waking up often, or waking up with a pounding heart, or not able to fall asleep? Sleep helps your body repair itself. When you don’t get rest, you’re tense, you don’t think as well, and your heart beats faster. These are probably facts you already know, but are you ready to do something about it? A few tips: don’t work out, watch a scary movie, or have an alcoholic beverage right before you go to bed.
- How often do you exercise? One of the best forms of exercise is walking. No need to pay big bucks for a gym membership, when both outdoors and indoors will provide you all of the benefits without adding financial stress. Walk in your work space, during your breaks and at lunch. Walk your dog, walk with your significant other and your family members. Use it as a way to reconnect.
- How well are you eating? I have a simple rule that’s helped me a lot. Vegetables first, then fruits, grains, and finally meats three or four times a week. Give yourself a big stress reducer by losing or reducing the sugar and the alcohol.
Find effective ways to help yourself reduce stress. One of the best ways I have found for reducing stress is through the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT. It’s been called acupuncture without the needles. Although EFT is still considered an experimental modality in some scientific circles, clinical studies conducted through the ACEP and other research groups clearly demonstrate its ability to significantly reduce cortisol levels in the body, even to a greater extent than cognitive behavior treatment or other common psychotherapy techniques.
Remember, also, to start cultivating the habit of being grateful, even for small things. A sense of gratitude leads to a greater sense of emotional well-being. If it’s not a habit you’ve already started, when you “hear” yourself grumbling about something in your relationship or at work, try to think of something positive. You may surprise yourself with how many positives you actually find.
Measure your stress levels. Challenge yourself. Help yourself or get professional help to reduce your stress, improve your performance and your life.