Starting line

5 Nov

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start” – Nido Qubein

Some days my spirit feels a little dark.  Everyone has them.  Days when you feel that there is a bulls eye on your forehead, and the hits just keep on coming.  Those days stink.  Luckily, they are few and far between for me, because I just don’t let myself wallow in that kind of junk for long.  Neither should you.

Sure it’s easy to get stuck on the negative. In fact, in some circles I think it is not only acceptable, but popular.  Just think of some teen age girls sitting around talking about how “fat” they are, maybe even calling themselves ugly.    Unfortunately, that is a proven phenomenon with teenage girls.  It is popular in this circle to degrade ones self.  Sad but true.

Every one has crummy days.  Every one has stress.  And it can steal our wellness, our health, and our happiness, if we let it.  Stress has been proven to manifest in the brain and our immune system.  Stress can literally make us sick.  Since we can’t eliminate stress alltogether, it is important to learn how to manage it.

It takes a conscious effort to get out of the adrenaline loading stress triggers in life.  Stress can beat a person down.  It is bad for overall well being.  So reset the clock on stress.  And unlike that popular dieting start date, you don’t have to wait for Monday morning to do it.  Here are a few things that work for me.

Breathing.  This is simple, but I am a breath holder when I get stressed.  I literally have to tell myself to breath.  When I get stressed, I stop and focus on breathing.  Where ever I am, whether it is in the elevator at work, driving in traffic, or cooking dinner, I will take a moment to breath.  I breath in for a count of 4, and out for a count of 7.  You can feel muscles relax when you breath in this manner. And I will do it several times in a row till I feel a good problem releasing exhale.

Take a walk.  Increasing activity triggers your body to release endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.  Endorphins also create a positive feeling in the body.  Who wouldn’t want to experience that?  Get out of your head for a few minutes and just focus on your body.

Face your problems or obstacles head on!  One of the quotes I have posted around me, and I have many, is “Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them.  You will find they haven’t half the strength you think they have“. – Norman Vincent Peale

This quote runs through my mind often.  At times, I can be guilty of turning a problem over in my head and giving it more importance than it really has.  A conscious effort needs to occur to stop that stress increasing cycle.  And it is like anything.  The more you practice it, the easier it becomes.  So I practice this often.  Don’t let something grow larger than it is…face it fast.   In other words, just nip it in the bud and move on.

Eat well.  Healthy food not only helps you feel great, but boosts the immune system as well.  Shore up your immunity so that when stress hits, there is some reserve power in it.  And if you blow it, have a little amnesia, forget about it, and grab something healthy to eat.  Do not fall into that trap of “waiting for Monday to begin again” with healthy eating habits.  Get back on track fast.

Pray or meditate.  This is a biggie for me.  I am a woman of strong faith, and I am lucky enough to be able to share my faith with many of my friends.  Pray or meditate until it rests in your heart.  That is how behavior can change.  Live it.  Actions speak faith more than words do, so believe in something. Really believe, really live it.  This is a game changer.  It can reduce stress by empowerment!

I should add sleep to this recipe for stress relief, but I would be a hypocrite if I did.  After all, these are actions that help me.  Unfortunately, I am not a great sleeper.  I think I live with that deficit in my life automatically.   Oh sure, I can fall asleep at a decent time, but I am a night time waker/worrier.  Then I start arguing with myself about the dumb things I am worried about.  After all, most things we worry about never happen, but I get caught in this loop at 3 a.m.  Hey, what can I say?  We all have things that we need to work on.

Don’t wait until Monday to start reducing stress levels, or to do anything positive in your life.  Every minute of every day is a new starting line.  Crummy things happen, we all have bad days.  How quickly we turn them around is the key!

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