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How to Manage Chronic Stress


posted on May 19, 2008

Last week, I showed you how to avoid chronic stress¦ or at least how to reduce it. The truth is, as long as you™re in action, you will always have some stress in your life.

In fact, we simply don™t grow without stress. Some stress is good for you. It evolved as a survival mechanism. You get a rush of adrenalin when you™re faced with a sudden life threatening situation. You react faster, often without even thinking. Your strength can suddenly double for an instant.

But now that we™re civilized (at least technologically) we seldom face life threatening events (unless you live in Detroit). However, modern day life puts other pressures on you. Instead of being attacked by a wild animal, escaping and then relaxing for a week, we get stressed by the multiple processes of living in a complex world that I listed last week. And this stress isn™t over as fast as it occurred. Stressful situations may stay with us for days, weeks and even years. Or they maypop up one after another. They can make us feel helpless as babies. Sometimes they spin our lives out of control. This chronic stress is what kills us instead of saving us.

This week, I™m going to show you how to manage chronic stress without dropping out and meditating in a cave.

All you need to do is stop and get off the horse once in a while. Relaxation is not only fun and easy to do, but it will extend your life and help keep you from getting sick. Focus and intentional practice are much more effective than passive relaxation though. You might try meditation, yoga, prayer, self-hypnosis, deep breathing exercises, creative visualization, biofeedback and tai chi. Stress management can measurably reverse much of your stress-induced damage very quickly. You can even restore over taxed immune systems in ninety days or less. Best of all, your benefits accumulate. The longer you practice stress management techniques, the healthier you become.

Next week, I™m going to show you two basic simple techniques that work like crazy with minimal time and effort. In fact, they are fun. They™ll take you from a dysfunctional, tied-up-in-a bundle-of-knots condition to the relaxed, happy and productive super star you are meant to be in a matter of minutes. For now, here are some simple tips from Lifehack.org.

1. Make quiet time: Whether you meditate daily or just spend an hour a night with a book, you need to create a space where you can clear your mind.

2. Eat better: A good diet can help your body better deal with the effects of stress.

3. Make family time: Try to eat at least one meal a day with your family (or with friends if you™re single).

4. Talk it out: Bottling up your frustrations, even the little ones, leads to stress.

5. Prioritize: Figure out what in your life actually needs attention and what doesn™t.

6. Accept interruptions gracefully: Leave enough wiggle room so you can adapt to changes in your day.

7. Pay attention to yourself: Notice when you feel stressed, and determine the cause.

8. Love: Build relationships. Share yourself. Feel human warmth.

9. Learn How to Relax and Center. We™ll cover this next week.

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