Prescription for stress

If you have read the last three days of the Stress blog, I hope that you are duly concerned (but not so concerned that it stresses you out more) about what your life is doing to your body.  How do you stop it?  You don’t, but I do have some suggestions on how to limit its control over you.  Two lists today – my personal, tried and true methods and the (less important but maybe you still want to read about them) medically proven techniques.

Me first.
1. Scream – go ahead.  Is anyone ever really listening anyway?
2. Laugh (have you watched Modern Family yet?)
3. Do something nice for someone else – anything at all; give a compliment, hold a door, make a meal, buy a round of drinks, listen (really listen) to someone else’s problem
4. Make a list of what is stressing you.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could announce that you are indiscriminately overwhelmed and throw yourself on a velvet chaise with one dramatic arm over your eyes and the other elbow-deep in a bucket of bon-bons?  If you have that luxury, by all means, enjoy your dramatic moment.  But if you don’t, at least give yourself the time to be more particular about what is stressing you.  You cannot confront an unknown enemy.  Be honest and include everyone and everything and then take a good long look at it.  Cross off anything you cannot control and anything that even you would admit is ridiculous.  Then take a deep breath, reread it and start your day over.  (Oh, and then put it in a locked drawer where no one can get to it so you don’t have a break up, a break down or a divorce over it.)
5.  Deal with one thing on your list TODAY. Pick something that is doable and do it.  Make the call you have been putting off, clean out your closet or fix your resume.  And remember to breathe while you are doing it.

Now, the medically, hormonally proven stuff.
1. Exercise
2. Meditation/Deep Breathing/Yoga
3. Diet
Do          eat complex carbs which release serotonin (eat slowly)
eat Yogurt/yeasts which contain pantothenic acid: a B vitamin thought to decrease                              stress
drink chamomile and black tea which lowers cortisol levels promoting relaxation
eat orange, green and yellow vegetables for vitamin C and magnesium
increase your water intake (which seems to be advisable for just about everything)
Avoid –  caffeine
simple carbs/sugars
fatty processed foods
4. Supplements/Medication –  St. John’s Wort and Vitamin C as well as multi-vitamins can reduce the physical effects of stress and/or help you prepare for a particularly stressful situation.  If your diet consists of mostly cold Chinese food or what’s left on other people’s plates, (I especially look forward to mac and cheese when it is mixed with ketchup and the soggy breading from the fun-shaped nuggets) adding some vitamins to your day is a good idea.  If your stress and anxiety is constant and/or crippling, talk to your doctor, there are medications that can help.
5. Alcohol – surprisingly, most sources that I checked had this as something to avoid which I am chocking up to a crack in the universe that must have caused multiple typos referencing the same topic.
Granted, too much and my anxiety spikes the following day but, too little and I am edgy, impatient and really thirsty.  I have found a very happy medium and I hope you have too.  If you haven’t, don’t lose hope; keep trying.  You will find your happy place so don’t be a quitter.  In the meantime, spend some time in the 2-3 glasses arena and see how that works for your chill factor.

Thanks so much to everyone for reading this week and have a WONDERFUL WEEKEND.  Try to relax and forget about all that makes you crazy during the week.  Don’t make the beds, get take out, leave the tools in the garage and for Pete’s sake, open the wine! (Pete loves to booze)  Breathe deeply and have some stress-free fun.  Monday will take care of itself.

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