Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stress: Daily Self-Care Habits to Manage Stress

Today we have more stress in our lives than ever before – good stress, bad stress, red stress, blue stress (my little ode to Dr. Seuss). No matter what kind of stress it is, a real crisis or an imagined one, stress is incredibly harmful to our body, mind and soul.

Here are my favourite self-care habits for dealing with stress:

1. Get in the habit of noticing.

Take an inventory of all the things that just don't feel right in your life or that you know are causing you stress. For example, when you approach certain people, places or situations do you feel more stress and tension? Once you have your list in place, look at what you can change yourself, and do it. You can also use this list to predict stressful situations before they occur.

2. Get in the habit of asking for help.

For what you can't change yourself, you need a team. Build a team of experts to handle your list. A coach, at the top of the list, will help with the big picture and will keep you honest about your efforts. Other team members might be a family doctor who listens to you, a financial planner, a massage therapist and an exercise partner.

3. Get in the habit of bouncing back.

Think of Plan A as your basic self-care plan while stress is under control. Now imagine something happens and you are under stress. Instead of abandoning all self-care because you can't do it all, have a Plan B ready beforehand.

4. Get in the habit of relaxing.

If you practice relaxation techniques (breathing, meditation, imagery, music) every day, then when stressful situations come up you'll have the tools at your fingertips.

5. Get in the habit of gratitude.

Our attitude comes from our emotions and our emotions come from our thoughts. Thinking about what we're grateful for and what we're good at can keep things positive. It's not about shying away from what's challenging you – it's about approaching life from a place of strength and not as a victim.

6. Get in the habit of creating.

Experiment with a new recipe in the kitchen, write a poem, bang a drum, do a craft, take a dance class or do something else that feels creative to you.

7. Get in the habit of putting your stuff away.

Physical clutter can really impact on mental, emotional and physical health. Get rid of things that don't make you happy when you look at them. Organize your stuff. Find a place for everything and keep it there.

8. Get in the habit of breathing.

This is the simplest and quickest way to relax yourself in a stressful situation. The minute you focus on your breathing it automatically gets slower and deeper.

9. Get in the habit of daydreaming.

Take yourself away on an imaginary holiday. Just close your eyes and go! Picture somewhere you've been or somewhere you've dreamed of.

10. Get in the habit of giggling.

Laugh out loud every day.

Don't let your stress get the better of you! Which one of these strategies can you apply this week to manage your stress?

© Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services. All rights reserved.

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, is the author of “The Everyday Self-Care Workbook”. To find out more about the book, or to receive her free monthly newsletter, “Genuine Self-Care”, visit http://www.genuinecoaching.com/resources.html.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Stress

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Stress (medicine)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Stress (roughly the opposite of relaxation) is a medical term for a wide range of strong external stimuli, both physiological and psychological, which can cause a physiological response called the general adaptation syndrome, first described in 1936 by Hans Selye in the journal Nature.

Contents
1 Selye's work
2 Stressors
3 Coping with stress
4 Neurochemistry and physiology
5 Folklore of stress
6 Related topics
7 Further reading
8 External links




Selye's work
Selye was able to separate the physical effects of stress from other physical symptoms suffered by patients through his research. He observed that patients suffered physical effects not caused directly by their disease or by their medical condition.

Selye described the general adaptation syndrome as having three stages:

alarm reaction, where the body detects the external stimulus
adaptation, where the body engages defensive countermeasures against the stressor
exhaustion, where the body begins to run out of defenses
Stress includes eustress ("positive stress") and distress ("negative stress"), roughly meaning challenge and overload. Both types may be the result of negative or positive events. If one's relative dies and he/she wins the lottery, one does not cancel the other — both are stressful events. Eustress is essential to life, like exercise to a muscle, but distress can cause disease. (Note that what causes distress for one person may cause eustress for another, depending upon each individual's life perception.) When the word stress is used alone, typically it is referring to distress.

Stress can directly and indirectly contribute to general or specific disorders of body and mind. Stress can have a major impact on the physical functioning of the human body. Such stress raises the level of adrenaline and corticosterone in the body, which in turn increases the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure and puts more physical stress on bodily organs. Long-term stress can be a contributing factor in heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other illnesses.

The Japanese phenomenon of karoshi, or death from overwork, is believed to be due to heart attack and stroke caused by high levels of stress.

The link between emotions and physical health is further supported by this paragraph from James A. Duke's The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook about the research of Dean Ornish, M.D.[1]:

Dr. Ornish tells about a group of rabbits that added an unexpected tidbit to the research on heart disease. Kept in a laboratory under research conditions, the rabbits were genetically similar, and all received the same food and got the same amount of exercise, yet one group had 60 percent fewer heart attacks than the others. What was the difference? It turned out that the healthier rabbits were the ones kept in the lower cages, and the short person who fed the rabbits could reach the lower animals and pet them when feeding them. Love, it seems, is a life preserver.

Stressors
Any factor that causes stress is called a stressor. There are two kinds of stressors: processive stressors and systemic stressors.

Processive stressors are elements in the environment perceived by the organism as potential dangers. These do not cause damage directly, but are processed in the cerebral cortex. The processed information is then sent via the limbic system in the hypothalamus, where they activate the supreme centers of the autonomic system. This results in the fight-or-flight (or sympathetico-adrenal) response.

Systemic stressors cause a disturbance in the organism's homeostasis and the tissue necrosis, hypotension or hypoxia.

Often both types of stressors occur simultaneously. They are usually accompanied by pain and/or intensive emotions.


Coping with stress
A given situation causes eustress in one person and distress in the other. This is so because of physiological differences, and because everyone has learned different ways to react and adapt to stress. Currently, many seminars are available for people to develop better habits of stress management.

Other approaches include The Alexander Technique, Shiatsu, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, yoga and meditation. For example, when Selye reviewed the physiological changes measured in practitioners of transcendental meditation, he concluded that they were the opposites of the body's reaction to stress, and that the therapeutic effect was clearest in conditions caused by a wrong way to adapt and react to stress in daily life.

Finally, serenity is a disposition free or mostly free from the effects of stress, and in some cultures it is considered a state that can be cultivated by various forms of training.


Neurochemistry and physiology
The general neurochemistry of the general adaptation syndrome is now believed to be well understood, although much remains to be discovered about how this system interacts with others in the brain and elsewhere in the body.

The body reacts to stress first by releasing catecholamine hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, and glucocorticoid hormones, cortisol and cortisone.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a major part of the neuroendocrine system, involving the interactions of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. The HPA axis is believed to play a primary role in the body's reactions to stress, by balancing hormone releases from the adrenaline-producing adrenal medulla and from the corticosteroid producing adrenal cortex.


Folklore of stress
About the time of Selye's work, the gradual realization dawned that age-old if sometimes ill-defined concepts such as worry/anxiety, conflict, tiredness, frustration, distress, overwork, pre-menstrual tension, over-focusing, confusion, mourning and fear could all come together in a general broadening of the meaning of the term stress. The popular use of the term in modern folklore expanded rapidly, spawning an industry of self-help, personal counselling, and sometimes quackery.

The use of the term stress in serious recognized cases such as those of post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosomatic illness has scarcely helped clear analysis of the generalized 'stress' phenomenon. Nonetheless, some varieties of stress from negative life events, or distress, and from positive life events, or eustress, can clearly have a serious physical impact distinct from the troubles of what psychotherapists call "the worried well".


Related topics
fight-or-flight response
hypochondria
irritation
panic attack
peace of mind
stress management
stress cardiomyopathy

Further reading
Israel, B. A., House, J. S., Schurman, S. J., Heaney, C., & Mero, R. P., (1989). The relation of personal resources, participation, influence, interpersonal relationships and coping strategies to occupational stress, job strains and health: A multivariate analysis. Work & Stress, 3, 163-194.
Jackson, S. E. (1983). Participation in decision making as a strategy for reducing job-related strain. Journal of Applied Psychology, 68, 3-19.
Lazarus, R. (1991). Psychological stress in the workplace. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 6, 1-13.
Locke, E. A., & Taylor, M. S. (1990). Stress, coping, and the meaning of work. In W. Nord & A. P. Brief (Eds.), The meaning of work (pp. 135-170). New York: Heath.
Long, B. C. (1988). Stress management for school personnel: Stress inoculation training and exercise. Psychology in the Schools, 25, 314-324.
Sauter, S., Hurrell, J. Jr., Cooper, C. (Eds.). (1989). Job control and worker health. New York: Wiley.
Sutton, R., & Kahn, R. L. (1984). Prediction, understanding, and control as antidotes to organizational stress. In J. Lorsch (Ed.), Handbook of organizational behavior. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wiersma, U., & Berg, P. (1991). Work-home role conflict, family climate, and domestic responsibilities among men and women. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 21, 1207-1217.










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Talk Yourself Out of Stress

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Talk Yourself Out of Stress
By Bruno Cortis



Seventy-five percent of all our problems – both emotional and physical problems – come from the same source. If you could identify that source, would you want to eliminate it?

For most people, the answer is obvious. Unfortunately, few people are able to identify the core of their problems. And those who do typically don’t know the steps to take to alleviate their challenges.

So what is the course of most of our problems? It is stress. That’s right; stress is the source of 75 percent of all our problems and a major epidemic in people’s lives. Finding ways to control stress is vital, because if your don’t control stress, it will control you.

What Exactly Is Stress?

The concept of stress isn’t new to anyone. But few people truly know what stress is. Physical stress is the depletion of the body's resources by illness or exhaustion. The most devastating stress, however, is psychological and emotional stress. There are many sources of emotional stress: family problems, social obligations, life changes, work, decision making, phobias, etc.

Emotional stress is powerful and debilitating because it takes away any sense of control we have over our lives. And this feeling of control over our environment and our self is one of our most basic human needs. If it isn’t met, emotional or physical illness can result. For example, a number of studies directly link stress and heart disease.

The only wan to combat stress and stay healthy is to create a complete physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium within the body. Although we used to believe that the mind and body are two separate entities, we now know that all facets of our being are interconnected. Everything that happens to your body and your mind affects your health and stress level in some way. Every thought you have, every feeling and emotion you experience affects your longevity. That is why you must take a total body approach to eliminate stress and balance your life.

Physical And Emotional Stress Relief

If you want to reduce your stress level and live a happier and healthier life, use the physical and emotional stress relief techniques outlined below.

Physical Relief

· Say No

The pressure to perform in today’s world is intense. As a result, people work long hours and take on much more than they can bear. They juggle multiple roles throughout the day and sacrifice sleep or personal time just so they can get everything done. Saying “no” to a demand is out of the question, resulting in increased stress, both at work and at home.

Unfortunately, for most people, saying “no” to another’s request is a challenge. They are anxious to please others, so they put their own needs aside. They fail to realize that no one can be on call 24 hours a day, and that we all need some personal time to rest and rejuvenate.

The next time someone demands more than you can give, remember that you have to take care of yourself first. You simply can’t handle everything. Say “no” gracefully while respecting the other person and letting him or her know that you care. While you may feel some initial guilt for denying the request that feeling will quickly pass and your stress level diminishes.

· Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body helps you take control of your stress

because you become aware of the signals your body gives you regarding comfort and discomfort. Once you’re attuned to what your body is telling you, you can learn which events trigger stress and which events reduce it. Your body talks to you everyday. How often do you listen?

The most common warning of too much stress is a condition called angina. Angina consists of chest pain or tightness in the neck, arms, jaw, and upper back that is the result of a reduced blood supply to the heart. Other indicators of excessive emotional stress are arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat.

In order to listen to your body, you must become responsible for your health and your stress. Having trust in your doctors or in medical tests is now enough. The real solution lies with you and with your own awareness and responsibility for your health. This responsibility may involve doing some things that are difficult for you, such as changing your diet, stopping smoking, learning to control emotions, etc. Whatever change is necessary for you, your body will tell you. You need only to listen.

Physical Relief

· Communicate With Your Heart

Your heart has an important job, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body each day. This merits the heart receiving your attention. To reduce emotional stress your heart needs encouragement, appreciation, and love.

Start your heart talk, your communication with your heart, by placing your right hand over the left side of your chest. Become aware of your heartbeat. Stay in that position for a few moments. Soon you’ll notice that the heating sensation becomes less forceful. It is as if your heart knows that you’re in touch with it. With your hand still over your chest ask your heart to help you be peaceful. Ask your heart to create an emotional shield that protects you from whatever the world around you may be fighting with.

Within your heart is an infinite intelligence that is sensitive to your needs. So pose a question to your heart or discuss a problem that’s causing you stress. Your heart will reciprocate with the proper answer. By doing this, you are telling your creative mind to quiet down so you can uncover new solutions to your problems. The more you become aware of your heart and what it tells you to do, the less stress you will experience. You will achieve a sense of peace and calmness knowing that you are doing what is best for you.

· Clear Out the Past Clutter

Just as you do a spring cleaning of your house, you should also do a spring cleaning of your heart to wipe away the old memories and messages that are causing you stress. This is important, because the way we fell from moment to moment, the way we behave, and the actions we take are all conditioned to how we feel inside.

Negative feelings that we harbor from our past – feelings of loneliness, feelings of low self-worth, feelings of sadness, worry, and fear – cause a great deal of emotional stress in our adult lives. It’s similar to carrying a weight on your back. The weight becomes heavier and heavier. You eventually have to walk bent over because the weight is excessive, but you are still not willing to let it go. As you clear out the chatter, you let go of the weight; you regain a sense of peace and are able to walk upright again.

To discover the past chatter that’s causing you stress, think back over your life and identify the most painful experience you have had – the one you thought you needed to hide from the world. What was that mistake or event? What message did the event trigger in your mind? Acknowledge the event, forgive yourself for it, and then release it and the accompanying stress from your heart.

Stress-Free Today

If you want to eliminate 75 percent of your physical and emotional problems, you must first reduce the stress you feel in your life. By practicing the self-communication strategies explained above, you can take the steps to talk yourself out of daily stress. When you do, you’ll gain a sense of balance and inner peace that enables you to accomplish more, enjoy life, and live your dreams.

Bruno Cortis, M.D., is a cardiologist with a major interest in Spirituality and Health. He authored two books, The Spiritual Heart and also Heart & Soul. He is a member of NSA, Illinois Chapter and he delivers speeches and seminars across North America.

You can visit Dr. Cortis at http://www.BrunoCortis.com or e-mail him at DrCortis@BrunoCortis.com. His telephone number is 708-366-0117.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/











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Stress Management Made Simple And Easy...Just Follow Cliff Kuhn M.D.'s Foolproof Formula

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Stress Management Made Simple And Easy...Just Follow Cliff Kuhn M.D.'s Foolproof Formula
By Cliff Kuhn, M.D.


Stress management is a hot topic; stress-related illness and suffering is at an all-time high in America and increasing every year. Cliff Kuhn, M.D.'s work with the powerful natural medicine of humor has uncovered the primary culprit behind your unhealthy stress symptoms, as well as the solution to simple, healthy stress management.

Astronomer-mathematician Ptolemy (85-165) devised a theory of planetary motions that placed the earth at the center of the universe. The sun, moon, and planets revolved around the earth in the Ptolemaic universe. This notion was accepted for approximately 1,500 years. More on this in a moment...

Shelly was in such need of stress management that she was unhappy much of the time. Shortly after she became my patient, I was able to help Shelly see that, just like Ptolemy's theory, she was casting herself as the center of the universe, thereby causing unmanageable stress levels in her life. We began a regimen from my Fun Factor prescription that afforded Shelly proper stress management, reintroduced joy and happiness, and brought her life back into balance.

Shelly's problem was common; I see more and more people each day who suffer from unhealthy levels of stress. Whether it is sleeplessness, weight gain, mood changes, hair loss, worry, agitation, or any other of the myriad symptoms commonly associated with stress, stress-related illness and suffering is at an all-time high in America and increasing every year. Luckily for you, my work with the powerful natural medicine of humor has uncovered the primary culprit behind your unhealthy stress symptoms, as well as the solution to simple, healthy stress management.

My medical practice, involving decades of work with chronically and fatally ill patients, has clearly identified the cause of our painful stress symptoms - seriousness. Seriousness means taking yourself too seriously; seriousness means over-reaching - taking responsibility for things beyond your power, such as the outcomes and results of all your hard work. Consequently, you're positioning yourself incorrectly as the "center of the universe." Seriousness causes so much pressure that effective stress management, which I will teach you in this article, becomes impossible.

The antidote for your seriousness, and your foundation for healthy stress management, is the natural medicine of humor. Humor's incredible power is harnessed to maximum impact through my unique Fun Factor prescription. Based upon my Fun Commandments, which were forged in unison with some incredible patients of mine, my Fun Factor prescription is capable of producing such profound positive change to your health and personal success that you will soon have people whispering, "Is she always this happy?"

In this article, I will explain how my Fun Factor prescription can be directly applied to your stress. You will be amazed at how much lighter and happier you feel, with each passing day, as you put the following Fun Commandments to work in your life. You are about to discover that the natural medicine of humor produces flawless stress management, putting an end to your painful stress symptoms.

The Fun Factor Stress Management Formula

Step One: Laugh with Yourself

My first stress management Fun Commandment is: Laugh with Yourself. This Commandment is not about humiliation or self-denigration, it is the ultimate in self-respect because it teaches you to appreciate your "perfect imperfection" and to find gentle amusement in your foibles. And, when it comes to stress, there is plenty of amusement to be found which will greatly aid your stress management.

Here's the first amusing thing about your stress: you can't live without it, yet too much is bad for your health. Like many of the essential things in life: we need a certain amount of stress to survive, yet too much can kill us. For example, we die if we are without water for more than a few days; but submerge us in water and we die a lot sooner.

It is said that we can die from boredom. I don't think there is any scientific evidence for that theory, but one thing is certain - stress relieves boredom. Ending boredom, indeed, could be considered a form of stress relief. An amusing paradox, no doubt!

Without stress, also, we might not eat. Hunger is a form of stress our body needs occasionally to remind us we need food. Stress causes the adrenal glands to work. Athletes would not perform at their best without stress-induced adrenaline. Every activity causes a certain amount of stress. So does inactivity. In fact, to be completely stress-free we would have to be dead - not a highly recommended stress management technique!

The idea that stress is a killer is exaggerated, which is also humorous. Too much stress can be a killer, and it is against too much stress in our lives that we need to guard. Fortunately we are equipped with the finest possible stress management mechanism: the natural medicine of humor and the ability to laugh with ourselves. Far better and safer than Valium, it is our built-in stress management system.

As you learn to laugh with yourself you will become like an athlete - who can have fun running the mile or the marathon and still turn in peak performance. In fact, since too much seriousness can tighten muscles through negative tension, laughing with yourself may even enhance performance. This Fun Commandment works wonderfully on many levels.

Step Two: Choose To Motivate Yourself With Fun, Not Fear

Step two in my Fun Factor stress management formula is one of my newest Fun Commandments. Motivating yourself with fun rather than fear is a crucial step that allows your commitment to laugh with yourself to fully impact your healthy stress management.

This brings us to the only true choice you have in life. Will you be inspired by fear or by fun? One choice is all we have for our health, wellness, and fitness - fear or fun. It all boils down to that. It is your responsibility to choose one or the other.

The question is, which is the responsible choice? Which of the two is a powerful medicine, which will give you health and motivate you greater success, sustaining you over time? The natural medicine of humor gives us the answer.

There is no doubt that both fear and fun are potent stimulants to behavior over the short run. So the question becomes one of sustainability. Will fear or fun best help us sustain our excellence over time? Which of the two is a powerful alternative medicine that you can learn to use for your greatest health, wellness, and fitness? (That's a trick question, by the way)

Let's Encounter A Man-Eating Bear!

The fear of being eaten alive motivates us to run as fast and as far as we can when chased by a bear. There is little to no fun in that experience. It is purely fearful, but the energy it provides maximizes the possibilities of sustaining life for that moment. For the moment, in such a life-threatening situation, fear seems to be an efficient and productive choice. Though full of stress, it relieves us of the immediate threat!

But let's take it a step further. Having survived my wilderness encounter with the bear, I return to my home in an urban environment. The next morning, as I start out for work, I run desperately for the car, quickly jumping inside and locking the doors.

When I arrive at my workplace, I race into the building. Before I get down to work I suspend my bagged lunch high above my desk, roping it to the light standards. I insist upon all doors being locked and secured. When asked why, I answer, "I'm merely doing what got me through my wilderness experience over the weekend. I don't want to be eaten by a bear."

You'd think I was over-reacting just a wee bit, and you'd be right. You could say that my stress relieves my anxiety, but my anxiety is based on a lie conjured and sustained by my fear! Not exactly the greatest of stress management techniques.

The Three Biggest Dangers Of Our "Run-From-a-Bear" Stress Management Techniques

1. We live our lives as though every day was an emergency; as though a bear is chasing us all the time. This is unfortunate for three reasons:

2. We now know that such a constant state of "wariness" or agitation breaks down our coping mechanisms over time. It is impossible to sustain the fear-based behavior without breaking down or burning out.

3. Of all the stress management techniques, this is the absolute worst to choose because it only increases our stress! It reduces the effectiveness of humor's natural medicine to zilch.

A more pernicious error occurs. We begin to think that the avoidance of whatever we fear is the same as having fun. Joy becomes synonymous with the avoidance of fear. The Absence Of One Thing Does Not Indicate The Presence Of Its Opposite

If this sounds ridiculous to you let me put it in more familiar terms that have become acceptable where your health is concerned. With rare exception we have agreed in our society that health is synonymous with absence of symptoms. Do you really believe your health is merely the absence of your symptoms? My Fun Factor prescription teaches you that, not only is the absence of symptoms not synonymous with health, but also that you never have to fall for that lie again.

You never have to settle for second-rate health! You can use your powerful natural medicine of humor to stave off seriousness' debilitating effects.

Therefore the issue becomes balance. Fun balances fear. The ultimate question is not, "Are you without fear?", but "Is your fun in balance with your fear?" If you're not 100% certain of a "yes" response to the later question, then you need to STOP - RIGHT NOW - and take the last step in my Fun Factor stress management formula to ensure that your life is as healthful as it could be.

Step Three: Tell the Truth

The final step in your Fun Factor stress management formula is the Fun Commandment, Tell the Truth. This Commandment refers more to self-integrity than it does "cash register" honesty. Getting in the habit of telling yourself the truth will cement humor's powerfully positive effect over your stress. Your stress management becomes second nature when you are honest with yourself each day, because you can then immediately, easily, and simply apply steps one and two to your life.

Telling yourself the truth, for our purposes, focuses on knowing when your stress levels are rising. As we noted in step two, everyday activities normally produce a baseline level of stress and this stress is usually alleviated by your daily routines (for example, when you experience the stress of hunger, you eat). Step three in my Fun Factor stress management formula teaches you to recognize the signs of unhealthy stress and take corrective action immediately.

Here are some simple stress management techniques to apply when your self-honesty reveals rising stress levels:

1. Start your day off by singing in the shower at the top of your voice. Make up your own song that incorporates the idea that you are embarking upon a glorious day in which great things are going top happen to you. Can't sing? Good! Can't rhyme? Who cares? The words are for you alone. This is not a contest. Be as off-key as you need to be...unless you are Placido Domingo.

The important thing is to be loud (your inner ear has to hear it), upbeat and convincing. The subconscious believes what it is told. Start your day by telling it that it will be a great day and you will be more than halfway to producing exactly that result. Think of your singing not as singing but as a stress relief game played before stress has a chance to rear its ugly head.

2. Travel to work alone, along the same boring route every day? Make up a game to play as you look out the window of your car, bus or train. For example, how many dogs will you see on the way to work?

Try to guess before you set out and see how close you are when you arrive. Reward yourself every time you guess correctly to within a certain number. Drivers: limit yourself to dogs (or green elephants) you see through the windshield only. This game does not work well in subways; there are no green elephants in subways.

3. Have a routine job? One that you find boring? Does it produce stress symptoms, such as drumming your fingers or tapping your toes? Perhaps you need to introduce fun into your workday.

For example, if your job is to make identical widgets each day, how could you do something different to give variety to what otherwise could become a monotonous task? Could you, for example, place each new widget relative to the others so that together they make a pattern, or spell the name of your sweetheart? How many do you make an hour? Could you make one more than that the next hour, safely and with the same excellent quality? Make a stress-relieving game out of your work and it will feel less like work and more like fun.

4. Smile. You feel stressed? Smile. It is a simple activity, so simple that even infants can do it. Just for kicks, count how many times you smile in an hour. None, you say? Then this stress relief game is even easier for you, and more important than it is for those who smile all the time. (No wonder they don't feel the same degree of stress that you do!)

Your smile doesn't need to be a broad grin that suggests to those around you that they need to call the men in white coats. But it should be more than a mental smirk; your facial muscles should be aware that they are smiling.

It is possible simply to paste a smile on your face without any reason other than you want to smile. After a while, your subconscious will take over, lighten your mood, and the smiles will come easily and naturally.

It's best, if possible, to think of something that can give you a genuine smile, a reason you can talk about if called upon to do so. Each of us, no matter how depressed, has something in life to celebrate.

5. Recognize that stress is a choice. We can accept it and put up with it, and the damage it can cause our bodies. We can avoid it, but that could be a difficult choice; especially if it means quitting the only job we know in a tough job market. That choice might easily create worse stresses. Or we can deal with it and defeat it.

That is not as difficult as it might sound if you make up your mind to use my Fun Factor prescription in everything you do. That doesn't necessarily mean, laughing, joking and playing the village idiot - though all those activities can relieve stress too. You can have fun without ever cracking a single joke.

A game of tickle with the children or grandchildren can be fun and bring energetic screams of delight from them and you. Touch football or, for the less energetic, lawn darts or horseshoes can be fun. For others, it's a walk, socializing with friends, admiring the beauty around us or following a hobby - especially if it is an engrossing one.

Attitude Is Everything

The key is to recognize stress symptoms when they occur, recognize what's causing them, and use my Fun Factor formula for healthy stress management. Since fun is the best natural stress reliever known, it makes good sense to incorporate my Fun Factor stress management formula into your daily life.

But don't get obsessive about it. Don't be stressed by removing stress. Be content with removing some of your stress, and with taking the edge off it so that you function as a healthier, happier and more productive humor being. After all, perfectionism produces stress.

Shelly, by the way, has learned to take herself much more lightly now and she does not suffer nearly as many stress symptoms. The paradox she loves is that taking herself less seriously actually permits her to take her responsibilities more seriously than ever before! The natural medicine of humorr, supercharged by my Fun Factor prescription, has allowed Shelly to easily and simply manage her stress and enjoy a life others have started to envy.

Just as Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus disproved Ptolemy's earth-centered universe in the 16th century, so the natural medicine of humor disproves that you must suffer from being the center of your universe. Remove yourself from the pressure and stress of a life where everything revolves around you...start using my Fun Factor stress management formula, and the rest of my Fun Commandments, today!

Clifford Kuhn, M.D., America's Laugh Doctor, teaches people and organizations to be more healthy and successful through the use of fun and humor. A psychiatrist, and the former associate chairperson of the University of Louisville's renowned Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Kuhn now dispenses his prescription for turbo-charging your health, success, and vitality from http://www.natural-humor-medicine.com/EZA4 On his website you will find tons of fun, free ways for you to maximize your sense of humor, and enjoy a life others will envy.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/










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