Sep 092014

MANILA, Philippines – We wear our eye bags like a badge of honor, complaining but slightly bragging about how large the effort and how little sleep we got last night because we were up finishing a major report due the next day, about how busy we are juggling things racing here and there to meet deadlines, and about how little time we have to just spend a day lying in bed all day. This lifestyle nowadays seems to be very common, but we should not let this routine burst into unwanted proportions.

Stress stimulates hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which get us pumped up and alert in critical situations. These hormones help our body and mind summon all the strength we needed to accomplish what is needed to be done. In some way, this rush can really be helpful. But things begin to go off beam when these hormones linger for too long in our system.

Stress, if not managed properly, could turn into chronic stress, which may lead to long-term physical and mental problems, including depression, mental impairment, heart disease and weight gain.

So whether you’re experiencing a minimal amount of perpetual stress or heightened levels of anxiety, these are some things you could do to keep your body and mind in control:

Pay attention to your breathing
Despite breathing as being one of the simplest thing and effortless task that we can do, many of us do not optimize it the way it should be, especially when we are overwhelmed with tasks. 

Dr. John C. Reed, M.D., the director of inpatient integrative medicine services at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,  suggests placing your hand over your belly button and focusing on how your stomach rises and falls.

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The focus that you draw in your breathing will calm yourself down. Furthermore,  it would help you have relaxing deep breaths instead of fast and shallow breaths that may further increase the tension in your heart and chest area.

Shift your attention to other things
David Reiss, a psychiatrist in California said that to manage stress, it is advisable to take your attention away from whatever is frustrating you. If you are being bombarded with texts and emails regarding the deadlines, why don’t you turn off your phone for 30 minutes and listen to music to calm your nerves for a while? Take a break from that project you’ve been stewing over for the last few hours, and work on something else for a while.

Seek for someone’s comfort
This does not limit to simply hearing someone verbalize words of encouragement but also extends to a simple pat on the shoulders and a warm comforting hug. These will pacify your strong emotions and will convert the tension to soothe and pleasure.

Engage in physical activities
Remember when you were so stressed you just want to throw things on the wall or even yell at someone else’s face? Reed says that physical activity can help release the stress building up in your body. According to him, even a simple walk can do so. Reed says through exercise we’re able to shake off those stress-related chemicals in the body. So the next time you are feeling pissed abut something, put on your running shoes and run shake the steam off by running around the block.

Meditate and find your center
Meditation does not always mean sitting alone on an empty quiet room. There are over 100 types of meditation practices, from dancing to singing to eating to sex, says Lorin Roche, Ph.D., a meditation instructor and author, and they can last from 30 seconds to an hour or longer.  And don’t worry about trying to “clear your mind,” he says. “It’s through welcoming tension that you release it.”

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