Word-Of-the-Week #628: Relax

August 17, 2016 by  

Relax what you need to do to reduce stress.

Does having your “plate too full” make you feel stressed? How much time to you take each week to just relax? When you go on vacation how long does it take you to fully unwind? You did take a vacation from work this year, right?

This week I am taking the liberty of rerunning a WOW that’s a great follow up to last week’s Overwhelm. Time Magazine featured an article titled, “Six Ways to Handle Stress.” First, “There’s more than one way to relieve stress.”

  1. Breathe Deeply. Regular, slow breathing – a common characteristic of meditation and prayer – alerts your brain that you are in a safe place far away from predators. It also relaxes your heart, decreases blood pressure, and removes waste from the bloodstream.
  1. Take a Vacation. A change of scenery clears the head, recharges the batteries and, according to a recent study sponsored by Air New Zealand, improves reaction time 82% – provided that you ignore your e-mail and allow a couple of weeks to disengage and unwind.

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  1. Make Friends. Social isolation increases the physiological damage caused by stress. A 2006 survey found that Americans have only two close friends with whom they can confide their deepest concerns – down from three friends 20 years ago.
  1. Exercise Regularly. It protects the heart, which is often the first to feel the effects of stress. Studies show exercise also helps maintain the brain’s ability to change focus quickly from one situation to another.
  1. Eat Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables. The antioxidants and other ingredients they contain counter-balance the inflammatory proteins the body produces under stress.
  1. Don’t Stay Up Late. Irregular sleep increases the effects of stress on your body, setting you up for metabolic imbalances that increase your risk of heart disease.
  1. Do What You Love. Having a sense of mission about your job makes it easier to deal with inevitable setbacks. (You will still need to take those regular breaks from work.) And if you can’t find meaning in your job, look for it in a hobby or through participation in religious or community organizations.

The good news is, I am headed to the Grand Canyon to Relax and experience some Nature. And as Sandra, my long time friend said after reading WOW # 526 on Nature, “I was planning to run to the gym but, maybe I will hike outside today!”

This week’s focus is on making time to relax. Are you able to do that or do you feel guilty? Do you take time to breathe deeply? Do you have friends with whom you can confide in? Are you doing what you LOVE? Are you exercising regularly? If not, “Go take a hike!”

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