On our last post I revealed the 3 major times in my life that stress caused major health problems. I did this only with hopes that you could recognize patterns of stress in your own life. Today I want to share with you
- Looking at the root of your stress
- Healthy outlets for reducing or eliminating stress
- Looking ahead
Looking at the root of your stress
My dad was a very wise man when he told me, “I like to go straight to the source and fix the issue there instead of covering up the pain”. Ok, he was telling me this one day when I was complaining about my wrist hurting from clicking my mouse a million times that day. I was a little worried about early signs of carpel tunnel which he had. I was saying, “what should I take for this pain to get the swelling to go down?”
His point being, instead of taking Advil or spreading Flexall on the sore area, find the source and fix that. The source of that particular problem was my chair was not high enough to elevate my arm. But, ever since that day, I knew how much that made since. Why are we all on medications when that is not *healing* us – just taking away the pain or problem temporarily.
Take my hives issue for example. The hives were just a symptom of the bigger issue which was that I have an “auto-immune disease that cannot be defined”. Screw that – pardon my blunt wording. I am not about to take 2 forms of medication, and feel less of a person for the rest of my life. From the beginning, I took my dad’s words to heart and tried everything I could to find the *source*. I tested food I ate, detergents, drinks, materials, everything. My doctor even said I was one of the most pro-active patients she’s ever had — a top allergy doctor in Denver. I am now at half dosage of 1 medication only. I’ve tapered everything else off and am feeling great! I hope to get off that final pill within the next month or two.
For you, look to the source of your pain or anxiety. Are you really upset about your relationship ending, or are you more upset because you feel you’re not good enough? Are you a drama-magnet? Are you really upset that your doctor told you that you have diabetes, or are you more upset because you used food as your outlet for too many years? Do you have a habit of making poor decisions? Are you really upset that someone cut you off in traffic, or are you more upset because you slept in and could have avoided being late which wouldn’t have made you so upset about this driver?
Those may or may not be good examples. It’s not about the quality of information I even provide to you right now – it’s about, will you really hear this, figure out how it relates to you, and then decide if a change is a good idea or not.
I’m not even saying all of you have to make a change – what a crazy idea that would be. When someone is giving advice, wanna know what I do? I listen carefully and fully, then I evaluate what parts, if any, rang true to me. Then, as a last step, I determine if a change would be positive and healthy or not, and go from there.
Healthy outlets for reducing or eliminating stress
There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of possible outlets for each and every one of you. I’ve found only a few I can take seriously enough to have a desire to do them and I can rely on to not be a huge pain. Read the ideas below and figure out which ones are best for you:
- EXERCISE is the best!!! It pumps healthy adrenaline in your body that can have so many positive benefits you couldn’t even possible imagine them all. Whether it’s yoga, running, karate, soccer, hiking, skating – doesn’t matter! Dr. Oz says 20-30 minutes a day of exercise and you’ll be good to go!
- Meditation – This is one I’m still struggling with no matter how many people tell me it’s life-changing. The ability to have enough control over your body to go into complete stillness – it just makes sense as a healthy outlet.
- WRITING – One of my favorites. I wrote my life out in a book due to be released next year – that was one of the healthiest and most positive things I’ve ever done – and it will help people. Doesn’t get much better than that…
- Talking – Anytime I’m feeling clogged or stressed, I know that if I just find a target to unleash on (ha, not in a bad way) I feel miles better. Women especially need to talk, often. Men are better going into a cave to figure things out – they tend to be more consistent with their emotions. The majority of women wear their emotions on their sleeve – I don’t think this is a bad thing by the way women. Find someone that will allow you to just get it out. You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is.
- Music and Signing is so healing. I listen to music for a good 8-9 hours solid almost every day. Everything from top hits, country, I’ll throw in a little Yanni or Enya sometimes, to Eminem and hip hop, to everything in between. It is truly incredible how music can influence your mood and help you release the tension you’re feeling.
- Having stress over trying to quit something? My mom told me about an amazing technique. Place a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you *think* about whatever it is you’re trying to quit, pull the rubber band back and snap it against your wrist. It is CRAZY. You just stop thinking about it less and less, stop wanting it less and less until you just quit. Try it.
- TV and movies – one of my favorites. I LOVE just zoning out in a movie theater or at home after a long day. I don’t watch TV in excess and I make sure I have balance by exercising or playing Scrabble even (a great game to get your mind thinking), but it is perfectly OK to unwind this way.
I won’t be the one to say controlling stress is easy. I won’t be able to tell you exactly how I did it. I’m still a work in progress. But, I can tell you I have a driver’s seat attitude about it now – something I didn’t have the first 26 years of my life. I am extremely careful about not overdoing it with work. I try harder in my relationships. I eat a zillion times better. I do the things that make me happy and the things I feel at peace doing. Before, it was all about trying to please everyone else around me. I started to do things I wanted to do – baby steps of course – and no one cared. Nothing changed. Now, I feel free to be me… all the way me… and it worked.
There’s no need to be hard on yourself. If anything, I’m promoting just the opposite. Start being easier on yourself. You’ll be amazed at the long-term affects. I challenge you to explore which one or two outlets work well for you. One should be exercise related – keep trying new things until you find something you can actually do often without it feeling like a chore. Last, I challenge you to join me in a driver’s seat role. The trip is way more fun when you’re in control of the road. 🙂