32 ways to de-stress

Lotus flowerA December 7, 2011 story on the Today Show alarmed me:  25% of adult women take drugs for anxiety and depression, and to help them sleep.  25%!!!

The reason given is that we all have more stress in our lives and prescription drugs seem to help us cope with it.

While scientists don’t always agree on much, there seems to be consensus that at least 70% of all illness is stress-related.  So, clearly, managing our stress is one of the most important keys to good health.

But all prescription drugs have side effects and are quite often not our best option.

Here are 32 suggestions for dealing with life stress, all of which are a healthier option than medication:

  1. Take a few moments each day for some slow deep breathing.  Yes, you do have the time.
  2. Learn to meditate.
  3. Spend daily time in nature: fresh air and sun are very restorative.
  4. Don’t have caffeine after noon.
  5. Get 7-9 hours sleep a night [recommended by the National Sleep Foundation].
  6. Learn to avoid negative self-talk and avoid people who talk negatively to you.
  7. Make time for exercise at least 5 days a week.  Exercise is one of the best stress-reducers.  Join a gym, take a yoga class or walk.  I have a collection of exercise DVDs I work out to, a mini trampoline and free weights, giving me a nice low-budget exercise option.
  8. Find one activity to give up to give you more relaxation time. You really don’t have to do it all.
  9. Watch less TV.  Much of what’s on these days is not good for our nervous systems.  While formerly a fan, I simply can’t watch shows like Criminal Minds or CSI any more.
  10. Take regular breaks. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just sit with your feet up and breathe.
  11. Get regular healing sessions: energy healing, massage, acupuncture, and reflexology are highly relaxing and therapeutic.
  12. Use aromatherapy: get a diffuser and some lavender oil.
  13. Drink green tea.
  14. Listen to relaxing music.
  15. Learn to see “failures” as stepping stones.  There are no mistakes – only learning experiences.
  16. Plan at least one fun event every month so you have something to look forward to.
  17. Get together with fun friends and laugh.
  18. Learn to listen more.
  19. Learn to manage your time: spread out appointments so you’re not dealing with too much at once. I try to go to only one doctor/healing session a week.
  20. Learn to say no!!  You don’t have to say yes to every invitation or extra project.  Make time for yourself.
  21. Clear your desk at the end of each day so you start the next day fresh.
  22. Get organized – get a book on organization and/or time management. Being unorganized is hugely stressful.
  23. Make your bed every morning so it’s beautiful and inviting at the end of the day [no one’s grandmother ever said, “if it’s good enough to get out of, its good enough to get into.”].
  24. Eat a healthy diet [ = no fast food].  Don’t let yourself get too full or too  hungry.  Make the time to make a healthy salad to bring to work. I did that daily for 30 years.  I was famous for it!
  25. Leave 10 minutes early for appointments so you won’t have to rush.
  26. Take a real lunch break away from the work desk, even if just for 15 minutes.
  27. Remove the TV from the bedroom.  It will excite your brain pattern and make sleep more difficult.
  28. Start your day with silence instead of TV.
  29. Don’t bring work home with you; go in earlier or work later to get it done.
  30. Back up your computer files.
  31. Keep extra car and house keys.
  32.  At the end of each day, list five things you are grateful for.

Feel free to let me know what else [legal and healthy, please] you’ve found to help you de-stress.


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Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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