Thursday, January 1, 2009

Starting the New Year off Right!

When things get tough try beating stress together!

10 Stress-busters, brought to you by [the nest].
Proven tips from The American Institute of Stress that'll help you chill out in minutes.
1. Before you let something really get to you, ask yourself, "Will it really make much of a difference five years from now?" So if you burned the lasagna and have to order five pizzas for all of your guests, what will they remember in five years? Your screams from the kitchen? More likely, the quick-on-your-feet fix that didn't ruin the mood.
2. Curl your toes toward the soles of your feet as hard as you can for 15 seconds, then relax. Next, progressively tense and relax your leg, stomach, back, shoulder, and neck muscles in the same fashion. These exercises can be done anywhere and in any order, and they provide both physical and mental relief. They're also a great way to help your body and mind relax before falling asleep.
3. Sit or lie in a comfortable position, breathe deeply from your abdomen, count to five, and then exhale. As you inhale again, imagine that you're pulling strength into your body and that anxiety is being forced out when you exhale. Try doing this for five minutes twice a day, or whenever you feel tense.
4. Try to relax as much as possible in a comfortable and quiet environment, with your eyes closed, and breathe quietly in a slow, rhythmic fashion. With each exhalation, repeat a simple word or sound softly or even silently. Try to do this right before you take on a big project. It'll calm you down, let you collect your thoughts, and get you motivated to tackle the task.
5. Close your eyes -- or pick a spot about 10 feet away to look at and let it go slightly out of focus -- and then say the following phrases to yourself. Repeat two or three times until you feel noticeably relaxed:
"My arms are heavy and relaxed." (As you say this, relax your arms and shoulders as much as possible, and wait until you feel the tension ease up.)
"My legs are heavy and relaxed." (As you say this, relax your leg muscles as much as possible, and wait until you feel the tension ease up.)
"My mind is calm and quiet." (Try to rest your mind by imagining it's like a quiet pool with no thoughts rippling to the surface).
6. Visualize that you're on a beach, listening to the waves coming in, feeling the warm sun and gentle breezes on your back. Try to make the sounds and sensations as vivid as possible; concentrate for a few minutes on the pleasure and peaceful reaction they induce. It doesn't have to be a beach -- you might prefer imagining an erotic fantasy, a prairie wheat field, or some other experience, but be sure to include all the sensuous details.
7. Smile inwardly with your mouth and eyes, and say to yourself, "Alert mind and sound body" -- and try to achieve this. Now imagine that you're taking a deep breath through a straw all the way down to your abdomen, and let your jaw, tongue, and shoulders go limp while you feel a comforting wave of warmth and heaviness sweep all the way to your toes. It takes a little practice to get this exercise down pat, but it's very effective in a short period of time. And it can be practiced anywhere as often as you like.
8. Have on hand an MP3 player or Walkman with selections of enjoyable music so you can listen to it when you're uptight.
9. If the weather is nice and the surroundings are enjoyable, take a brisk walk or go window-shopping for 10 or 15 minutes -- to create a diversion or clear your mind.
10. Not having enough time to get everything accomplished is a major stressor. But it's also important to satisfy your personal needs. Make a point of taking 20 to 30 minutes out of each day to do whatever you want, including nothing at all. Pampering yourself can prove to be not only a pleasant stress-buster, but also a powerful stress-buffer.
These tips will also help improve your health and relationships. By reducing stress, you will allow more joy to come into your life overall!

Our Lovely Readers!

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