Just the other day, I came to the realization of just how much that I was totally stressed out in my former job. I worked very hard to try not to be. Please don't get me wrong, as there were some good things about it, however, I had to hold so many things inside of me, that I did not realize what it had done to me mentally and physically. I practiced most all of what I am writing about here and had my ultra supportive husband 100% of the time, but I did not realize that after my retirement it has taken me almost 8 months to get to where I am today, which is much less stressed. How do I know that I have come down to a less stressful lifestyle now? One way that I discovered is that instead of a pot of very strong coffee, I am down to two cups of coffee a day and the strength of the brew has lessened considerably. I still love my coffee; just less of it is needed to get me through the day. My neck and shoulders do not feel tight and tense any more. There are ways to measure stress. It is important to be aware of them.
With that being said, it is important to identify your stress triggers so that you can work on managing your stress. We all know that it would be impossible to remove all of the stress from our lives, but just understanding the way certain events or people can cause stress will help us know the way to deal with them. It is all about finding a balance.
When I talked about how I was feeling with my doctor a few years ago, he shared with me about the value of a good massage therapist. He even gave me the name and number of the one he uses. Truthfully, at first, I was a little skeptical. For real? Then he cited all of the studies that have been conducted about how massage therapy not only feels good, but what it does for your body and mind when in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. The body has amazing powers over the mind.
Another area to look at to help in de-stressing is through the power of music. Music therapy is used in so many different ways because it has a special link to our emotions. Usually it is the slower, classical music that has such a wonderfully relaxing effect on our bodies, such as slowing the pulse and heart rates, lowering blood pressure, which is decreasing the stress hormones. Music can be added so very easily to our lives, such as when you are driving having your CD's or Ipod in the car with you can help calm you when in rush hour traffic or dealing with aggressive drivers all around you. I do highly suggest NOT to listen to the radio if they play a song and then have 10 minutes of commercials, especially when it is the insane yelling from some car dealership. (I found this only added to my stress levels.) Music can restore harmony between body and mind.
Find a quiet time for you. Giving yourself just a ten minute time- out will help quiet and calm the stresses floating all around you. It helps to put up a guard. You can do this through meditation, of which I am a strong advocate for. Calming and getting your body still and quiet helps to work on doing the same for the brain. It does take some training to help your brain calm, sometimes having a quiet personal and positive mantra inside your brain or even saying it out loud helps.
Writing your positive mantra and focusing on gratitudes in the written form of your journal has been proven to be beneficial. This is also the place and time where you can set up specific plans of a mini or major vacation to plan that will help to cushion your calendar of "must-dos." Seeing this in writing will make you smile just to think about what there is to look forward to. Smiling also is a known way to help rid yourself of stress build up.
We all know that the most talked about de-stressers are to eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise. Yes, these are all things that we need to do in order to maintain our health. There are a few other things that many people just do not think about that may be of tremendous help. First, you must think about what makes you happy. You are worth whatever it takes to create your own happiness. For me, it is flowers. The flowers that are all around our garden, thanks to Steve, my husband and our gardener with the green thumb, makes our back and front garden a haven to be around. More than that even, he saw how I react with flowers around me and this very special man makes sure that flowers are always around me. Yes, I am spoiled this way and no, he is not for hire. Not to mention the fact that you can also kiss away stress. Remember when you were little and got a boo-boo? Your momma always said, " Let me kiss it and make it all better." Momma was right!
It helps me to remember a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that states, "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." So with that said, let's stay busy finding the ways that will bring us peace and less stress.