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Stress is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke, which is the number one killer in America, causing over 500,000 deaths each year.   Many of these deaths can be avoided by changes in lifestyle.  Although heredity is an important factor, many factors leading to coronary heart disease can be controlled, such as: blood pressure, weight, substance abuse, smoking, physical activity, and stress management. 

Stress also weakens the immune system.  A weaker immune  makes it  easier for cancer cells to grow.  Hence, these techniques to reduce stress also help minimize the risk of cancer.  The following are many techniques that have worked for others.  It isn’t necessary to use them all, just try some, and see which ones work best for you. 

Massage.  A good massage can be an excellent way to relives stress.  It’s a good gift to yourself for working hard.

Palming. Palming consists of putting the palms of your hands over each eye, so as to exclude all light.  It is most effective in a dark room.  Palming can be while sitting or lying down.   The longer the person can palm, that is exclude all light from the eyes, the better it is.  Usually, one can palm for 15 to 30 minutes.  Palming relieves stress from the eyes and mind.  It improves thought and increases the immune system.  It can even help relieve stress in the eye muscles and improve some refractive errors.

Sunning. Also known as light therapy.  Laying in the sun with your eyes closed relaxes the eyes and mind.  Just be sure to cover your exposed skin or use sunscreen, and don’t stay out too long. You don’t want to get too hot or get sunburn.  20 minutes to an hour is fine as long as it is not too hot.  The body uses sunlight to manufacture vitamin D.  Sunlight lifts your spirits and prevents depression. 

Earing.  Earing consists of putting the palms of your hands over each ear, so as to exclude all sound.  It is most effective in a quiet room.  Earing can be while sitting or lying down.   The longer the person can cover their ears, that is exclude all sound from the ears, the better it is.  Usually, one can cover their ears with their palms for 15 to 30 minutes.  Earing relieves stress from the ears and mind. It improves thought and increases the immune system.  It can even help relieve stress around the ears and improve hearing.

Humor and Laughter.  Laughter is the best medicine.    Reading a funny book, watching a comedy movie or sitcom or listening to comedy tapes can relieve stress.  It helps put our problems in proper persective.   It is good for the heart and the mind. 

Smile.  It’s hared to be very upset when you are laughing or smiling.  So, put a smile on your face.  Imagine that you are looking at your present situation and smiling or laughing, feeling calm and relaxed, with a sense of inner peace. 

Sing.  Sing in the rain, sing in the shower.  Sing something that lifts you up. 

Dance.  Dancing is like singing and laughing—it frees the spirit.  It is also good exercise.

Eat well.  Feed your body good food—feed your mind good thoughts.  If you want good things from your body, put good things in it, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and grains.

Exercise every day.  Devote 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day.  Walking, jogging, running,  bicycling, swimming, or a multi-exercise program.  Even dancing.  Whatever suits you.  Exercise increases the blood flow, reduces your blood pressure at rest, improves thought, and relieves tension and stress. 

Walking.  Walking is one of the best ways to reduce stress.  It relieves tension and increases circulation.  Walking outside gives you fresh air, It also reduces blood pressure and eye pressure, reducing the risk of glaucoma.  Walking is also the “wheels of thought,” helping improve thought and creativity.

Running.  Running can be a major stress reducer.  It gets rid of a lot of excess tension.  Be sure to wear proper shoes and socks and try not to run on cement, which can be hard on the knees and back.  Running increases blood flow to the brain, and even helps clean out the lungs, preventing colds and flu. 

Swimming.  Swimming, like running is an aerobic exercise, helping to clean out the lungs and prevent many diseases.  Swimming is also good for the back. 

Yoga, Tai chi.  Yoga, Tai chi can help many to relieve stress and relax. 

Stretching.  Stretch several times a day, whenever you can, especially after sitting for a while. It is a good idea to stretch every half hour when sitting to help reduce stress on the back and neck.  Stretching helps your circulation and blood flow. 

Deep breathing.  Take three deep breaths, breathing in deeply, then breathin out deeply.  This helps to increase oxygen to your brain and relax. Stretching and deep breathing are often part of yoga, but for those who do not do yoga regularly, they can still stretch and breathe deeply during the day to relax and reduce stress. 

Meditation.  Meditation is an excellent way to relax.  Meditating once or twice daily can go a long way to reducing your level of stress. 

Self-hypnosis.  Self-hypnosis is an excellent way to relax, and reduce stress.  It can also be used to lose weight, reduce tension, fatigue, and help refocus your energy.  It consists of 4 basic steps: autorelaxation, autosuggestion, autoanalysis, and autotherapy. If interested, you can check your local library or bookstore, or Amazon for books on the subject. 

Sleep.  The body needs plenty of sleep to rejuvenate and rebuild itself.  Most people need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. When a person is ill, or depressed, they need even more sleep.  When you have a difficult problem, it is often a good idea to sleep on it.  Don’t stay up all night wrestling over it, or working on it if you’re tired.  By handing the problem over to your subconscious, and sleeping on it, your subconscious mind will work on it during sleep, and often a solution will come to you in the morning.  Sometimes, it even comes in the middle of the night, so I always keep a paper and pen next to the bed to write down the idea. 

Do what you love.  I believe it was George Burns who said, “Do what you love, the money will follow.” Even if doing what you love does not produce money, do it; It’s good for your soul.  So, Make time to do what you love.  Devote some time each day, or at least several times each week to doing what you love.  When you are immersed in doing what you love, you feel more relaxed and more creative.

A positive attitude.  Henry Ford said, “Think you can, think you can’t, either way, you’ll be right.” Positive attitude leads to optimism, and overcomes your fears and doubts.  Negativism saps your energy. 

Give.  “Give and you shall receive.”  Giving satisfies a basic need, and makes the giver feel better. 

Inspirational quotes.  Reading an inspirational quote or an inspirational passage from the bible or a book that inspires you each day helps you focus on the positive in life.  Carry an inspiring quote with you during the day. Read it, or remember it during the day to lift you up and inspire you.

Cheerful disposition.  A cheerful disposition is good for your health, and reduces your stress level. 

Soothing Music, including nature tapes.  Listen to soothing music to help you relax.   Which music is soothing  varies from individual to individual. 

Moderation.  Avoid extremes.  Ben Franklin said, “”Eat not to till dullness; drink not till elevation.” Overdoing, and overspending can also be stressful. 

Play.  Life should be an adventure, full of fun.  Leave time for play too—it adds spice to life.  Play rejuvenates your spirit.

Clean up the clutter.  Cleaning up the clutter in your work space or home helps you to breathe easier and think more clearly.

Take action toward your goal.  Take at least one positive action toward your goal each day. It will go a long way toward lifting your spirits. 

Drop Perfectionism.  “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” Perfection can drive you crazy. So, ease up, you don’t have to be perfect—it will reduce your stress.

Do it now attitude—don’t procrastinate.   Procrastination robs our energy, and creates stress because the thing you don’t want to do—but ultimately must do looms over your head, creating stress.  By not doing it now, the problem may become even bigger: “a stitch in time saves nine.” There is a balance though—you can’t do everything now—so do some of it now, but leave some time for enjoyment. Then, continue working on what you need to do until it is completed.  Sometimes, the job is big, and will take several days or weeks, but by working on it each day, you feel a sense of accomplishment.  When the project is complete, you feel a big sense of satisfaction, and a reduction in stress.

Quiet pleasant surroundings.  Create some quiet, pleasant surroundings where you can relax. If you cannot do so at home or work, then try to find someplace where you can go, such as the library or a park nearby.  Try to find a place near home, so you can go there easily or often. 

Show appreciation to others.   Tell others you appreciate them in words, or in letters.  Even express your appreciation to God for good health, children,, or the beauty of nature.    Expressing your thanks lightens your heart.

Kindness.  Be kind and compassionate:  criticizing others and yourself tends to increase stress.  Kindness and compassion tends to reduce stress.

Higher self.  When you approach life from your higher self, then love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control grow in your life. 

Crying and tears.  When you feel really bad, or you’re having a really bad day,  a good cry helps you feel better afterward. 

Forgive.  Forgive others and yourself.  Holding grudges fills your body with toxins, which hurt your body, increase blood pressure, and consume energy.  By forgiving, you free your body and mind of these toxins. 

Free your mind from worry.  Worrying robs us of energy.  Worry is a habit, so you can replace it with planning and action.  “Action cures fear.”  Put your worries aside, and enjoy today.  Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on what is right and good now. 

Focus on your Strengths.  Avoid comparing yourself to others, and looking at your shortcomings. Some people are fast; others may be slow and steady.  Don’t waste energy stressing out on what you can’t do, focus on your strengths—what your really good at.

Lay down.  When the stress gets too high, take a break to lay down and relax.    Take a nap, and forget it all for a while.  You’ll come back feeling better and refreshed.

Hydrotherapy.  Water can do wonders.  A shower, bath, whirlpool, or sauna can be used to clean out your pores and relax. Sometimes, just  taking a break from a stressful situation—wash your hands and face.  When possible, take a shower.  It cleans out your pores and cools you off.  You’ll feel better. 

Aromatherapy.  Aromatherapy uses certain pleasing smells to create a relaxing mood. 

Reward yourself.  Give yourself a reward for each task, goal, or milestone toward a goal achieved. Achievements give us a sense of inner satisfaction that reduces our overall stress level.  Even a small reward to ourselves makes us feel better, getting us closer to our ultimate goal.  Any even greater satisfaction and reduction in stress occurs when we reach a major goal. 

Read a good book, or watch a good movie.  Read about something you always wanted to know: how to build a deck, how to plant a garden, all about cats, or whatever you’re interested in.  Learning is good for the mind and soul.  Even reading an interesting story or watching a movie helps you escape from the pressures of everyday life. 

Patience. “All things come to those who wait.”  Patience is a virtue.  Patience combined with perseverance is perhaps the most valuable quality a person can have.

 Prioritize and do what’s most important.  Pick what’s most important to you, and do it. It’s okay to say “No” to many other things. There’s an Aesop’s fable about a man who tried to please everybody.  If you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody.  So, pick what’s most important to you and go for it.

Retraining or Reprogramming the Mind-Body Response. It is possible to retrain your body’s response to stress.  Essentially, you reprogram how your mind and body responds to a stressful situation. First, the person must understand that stress is not an event, but the body’s reaction to it.  Once it is understood that it is not what does you in, but the choices you make in dealing with iI, you can regain control of your destiny.    One method is to use conscious commands to your subconscious on  how to respond to a stressful situation.  Another method uses biofeedback.    

One thing at a time. Multi-tasking can be good for efficiency, but it can also be stressful . You can reduce your stress by focusing on one thing at a time.   

Take a break.  Several times per day, take a break to meditate, pray, or use another method to relax. 

Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs.  Certain foods, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help reduce your blood pressure and stress level.  Foods that contain potassium and magnesium tend to reduce the blood pressure, such s potatoes and bananas.  Vitamins B1, B5, B6, B12, C, Folic acid, biotin, choline, and E can help overall health and  reducing stress.  Herbs such as Passionflower, fennel seeds feverfew, hops, chamomile flower, schizandra fruit, and sceletium tortuosum extract can calm the nerves and reduce stress.  You can check a book on herbal medicine, or check this website for articles on foods that help reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. 

Go outside.  When the going gets tough, the tough go outside.  Go outside the office, go outside the house.  Sometimes, you c ,, , an see things in better perspective when you’re outside the box.

Art Therapy, allow time for creativity. Setting aside the time and doing something creative that you enjoy –lifts the spirit.  Writing, sculpting, painting, and other forms of expression help many people to express themselves and relax.  Projects include planting a garden, knitting a sweater for a friend, working on building a new deck, or other worthwhile projects. 

Hobby.  Immersing yourself in a hobby, such as stamp collecting, coin collecting, or other hobby can lower your overall stress level. 

Enjoy the beauty in nature.  Take time to smell the roses, look at a beautiful sunset, look up at the stars at night. 

Progressive muscle relaxation.  Usually using meditation or self-hypnosis, relax your muscles, one group at a time, going from head to toe. 

Visualization.  Use your mind to image what you want, or image yourself relaxing, or doing something enjoyable, and you can reduce stress.  Visualization and imaging what you wish to appear improves with practice. 

Affirmation.  Affirming to yourself what you want or wish for several times each day, especially before sleep at night helps build self-confidence and reduce stress.

Listen to your body.  If something aches, soothe the pain, if you are tired, rest.  If you get sick, take time off to rest and recover.

Drink a lot of water.  Water cleans and purifies the body, so toxins are removed.  Dehydration is harmful to the body, and increase stress.  Drinking plenty of liquids, especially water prevents dehydration. 

Plants and trees.  Sowing seeds, or caring for a plant, and watching it grow satisfies a basic desire and closeness to the earth.  The oxygen provided by a plant or tree further reduces our stress.  

Hugs.  We all need a hug sometimes to make us feel better.  Don’t be afraid to hug the ones you love; friends or family. 

Cats , Dogs, and other Pets.  Petting a cat, dog, or other pet can go a long way to reducing stress. There is something about stroking an animal’s soft fur that is comforting and relaxing, especially when the animal is purring or wagging their tail.

Talk to a friend.  Talking to a calm, stable, trusted friend about your troubles can help you put your troubles in proper  perspective. They can help calm you down, and sometimes even come up with solutions, or at least make you feel better.  

Prayer.  Seek comfort in God.  “Prayer is profoundly simple, and simply profound.”  When you feel overwhelmed by circumstance or events seek comfort in God.  Pray to God for help, peace, health, and understanding. Exchange your fears for faith. Concentrate on God’s wonders, and let your troubles melt away.  You can also pray for others, including friends, family, and people in need. 

Take a News break. The News (on television and the Newspaper) is usually  bad, or mostly bad, which tends to increase stress in listeners.   So,  taking a break from listening to or reading or watching the News can reduce your stress. 

 

REFERENCES

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