Stress Relieving Techniques

Dr. Leon Peek

It is possible to have too much or too little stress in your life. The death of a child turns life upside down; parents are supposed to die first! This causes so much stress it can ruin your life. How sad, as this is like double dipping. The first scoop is the loss of your child, the second is a ruined life.

To fight stress, you can learn relaxation techniques. There are dozens of books and tapes on the subject. Pick one with a theme that interests you and practice it every day BEFORE you need it. Then you can do it when you are stressed out.

Reading works for some. If you can read all night it is a gift, almost as good as sleeping. Another method is to put your feet up for 5 minutes. Say you are going to do it so people around you know this is your time to relax and they should leave you alone. Exercise and eating are other stress fighting tools.

Sometimes it is very hard to stop the mind from turning on the stress issues. You need to slow it down or change the content. A third dip in the double dipping scenario is to feel guilty about being dumb about stress – you make the wrong choices and they do not work. Exercise more, dance, think and exercise! Pretend to have fun and you get most of the benefits of having fun. Find your high probability behaviors, those things that you can always do to help stop the mind turning, perhaps hobbies.

We need to manage our stress loads. There are those anniversary reactions. We know what they are going to be. Don’t do hard things on those days. Hard things are OK on regular days, impossible things are never OK! The anniversary is the first scoop of stress; do not double dip.

Keep others from stressing you. Learn to say no. Say things like "that is not a good day for me", "I see myself as a follower, not a leader", "I would love to help but I don’t see starting that until September (some time months in the future) at the earliest."

We need to practice competing responses. This is something you can do for someone else. Get them to talk, walk, anything they can easily do to slow the turning in their minds.

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