How to Avoid Stress and Stay Calm During Trying Times and Holidays
We don't have to be tense and stressed every time we encounter difficult situations. If we let ourselves be affected every time something goes wrong or doesn't go our way we will loose our health and our peace of mind and happiness will be greatly compromised. There are ways to avoid feeling stressed and stay calm and centered. This hub gives you some simple but very effective ways dodging stress and enjoying life more fully.
Many of us become more stressed, anxious, and tense during the holiday season than any other time. We are expected to be joyful but we may not feel that way. We may not want to join in all the partying and holiday shopping. All we want might be just have a quite peaceful holiday season with close friends and family. But we may feel pressured to do otherwise.This hub gives specific techniques on how to avoid stress and stay calm through out the holidays and beyond.
The first thing to do if you are feeling stressed is to step aside from the stress full situation or all the hoopla and hustle and bustle of the on or holidays and observe what is going on with you. There are many ways to do this. The best way is to find a quiet place and sit down and meditate for 5 to 10 minutes. Here is my suggestion for meditation. Sit in straight backed chair with spine straight and feet apart in alignment with your shoulders and planted firmly on the floor. Your chin is tucked in and your hands are in your lap. Your eyes are open and looking at the floor 3 to 6 inches from you.
Take three or four deep breaths and just settle in your body. Starting with your head notice any feelings you may have. Move on to your eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Then to your neck and shoulders all the way down to the tip of your toes. All the while try to notice your breath coming in and going out.
After you settle yourself in your body then you bring your full attention to your breath. The best way to do this is to focus your attention on a spot a couple of inches from your navel. That is where you can feel your muscles going up and down as you breathe. So just follow your breath coming in and going out or you might say to yourself “in” as you breathe in and “out” as you breathe out.
Now, at first this is not going to be easy. You will be distracted. Thoughts will be coming in torrents. Worries, things you feel compelled you must do, angry or jealous thoughts, you name it, it will keep coming. Try not to judge yourself about the thoughts and don’t try to stop the thoughts. Let them come and go, always going back to your breath “in” and “out.” This type of meditation is similar to Zen meditation. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to do this kind of practice. It is just a technique to bring your attention to yourself and become centered.
What this meditation will do is bring you back to your body. Many times when we are stressed we are far away from our body focused on what is happening out there. We are focused on holiday shopping, parties and the million other things we feel we must do. So coming to your own body feels right. Focusing on your breath deepens breathing and you start taking long, full breaths. And nothing else helps better to dissipate stress than this kind of deep breathing.
Exercise is the next best stress buster. Daily vigorous weight bearing exercise with plenty of stretching will help tremendously. If possible yoga stretches, if not any kind of stretch that moves the body in all direction and gets rid of any stiffness is good. I think the best exercise is done out in the open air. If possible in nature or a beautiful park nearby will do. Forty five minutes to an hour if possible every day and if not every other day will help a great deal. Try to do stretching exercises for about 5 to 10 minutes every day.
You should pay attention to what you are eating also. Some foods such as those with too much refined sugar will make your stress worse because they tend to make people hyper active and restless. Unfortunately the holiday's are the time when these foods such as chocolate, candy, pastry, and cookies are available in excess. Try to keep eating these foods to a minimum. On the other hand eating a well balanced diet consisting plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will be an important factor in calming stress and anxiety. For more foods that help to minimize stress take a look at at the hub Herbs and Foods for the immune system.
Rest and Sleep
Making sure you get enough rest is crucial to being able to withstand stress. So go to sleep at the same time and at a reasonable hour ever night, making sure you get enough sleep. Having an evening routine and sticking to it will help a lot. Eat dinner early because eating a heavy meal right before bed time will keep you awake. Avoid any activity that is too stimulating or stressful at this time such as a noisy violent action movie or loud hard rock music. Do not pay bills or look at what you owe the bank if you find that stressful. Instead, do another 5 to 10 minute meditation, play relaxing soft music, or read books that you find relaxing and nurturing such as poetry by poets that you feel connected to. For a more comprehensive look on how to get a good night sleep every night even when you are under a lot of stress take a look at the hub Insomnia: 6 simple steps.
Lastly simplify your holiday activity to what is really important and abandon anything that just simply clutters your mind and your time and robes you of the joy of just simply being yourself and spending quality time with your loved ones. All the above stress busters apply to any time of the year and not just for the holidays. So I hope this helps you to avoid stress and stay calm through out the year. Have a calm and joyful holiday.
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