- Mental Health
Be Happy: How to Manage Stress in Your Life
Don't let stress get to you.
They say that when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. What if you don’t want to make no lemonade? Life has handled you one too many lemons and all you want is to hurl them against the wall and you may find yourself using expletives that leave much to be desired. Things and events convened together to fall you and you find yourself under a heap of anxieties, worries, cares, stress, demands, misfortunes and unrelenting call of duties. You could hardly claw or crawl your way out and you’re panting under the load. You just want to dig yourself further in and tell the world to go away. And perhaps, with the thinking of an ostrich, the world will actually go away and you will be alright. See not, worry not?
Does that sound familiar? Or maybe, that describes your day? The past week or the past year? Life can be tough and sometimes, it becomes unbearable, almost. You’re distressed, you’re stressed, you’re down and out and maybe, on the verge of depression. What do you do? There are many things you can do to surely crawl your way out and no…thank goodness…it doesn’t involve lemonade.
Go ahead, CRY
Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
When you’re overwhelmed and stressed, it’s alright to shut yourself in the closet (or your favorite go-to-place for release) and cry. You can cry a river—it’s absolutely good for you. Various scientific researches support the fact that crying is good for you. Without going into technical functions of the mechanisms of crying, crying actually releases stress hormones. You know it if you had a good cry before. You feel good.
Happy is the housewife who sees the rainbows, not the dishes, in the soapsuds.
Do you have a special friend you can call? Your husband/wife? Your hairdresser, even? If you are fortunate to have that special someone who will listen to you without being judgmental, and is by nature or training a good listener, you’re in luck. Sharing your problems can ease the burden and sometimes the mere process of sharing can put a perspective on things. And that’s not just me talking. According to betterhealth.vic.gov.au., sharing can release built-up tension and help you identify options or solutions you haven’t thought of before.
Engage or Disengage
Stress comes with life—that’s the disclaimer on your birth certificates your parents won’t tell you (until it’s too late…). Since life has its fair and unfair shares of stresses, you need discernment /intuition to know when to engage or disengage. Sounds confusing? Is your stress something that needs attention, resolution or even expert help—like a diseases or illness or a drug problem (you can probably think of others) or is it something that you can throw out of your window and let it dissipate because if you think about it, it doesn’t really affect the scheme of things in the long run. Example? Should I wear the little black dress or the red one with the plunging neckline for the Christmas party? Should I try to squeeze in my manicure appointment when I have to rush home to make dinner? Sounds silly, now that it’s articulated but sometimes, we clutter our lives up with activities and wonder why we’re so stressed.
So, let’s not sweat the small stuff or like psychologists like to tell us, “Choose your battle.” You don’t have to be the ultimate Martyr of life and it’s OK to cut yourself some slack.
Time for some laughs
The most wasted of all days
is one without laughter.
- E E. Cummings
No, that’s not a suggestion—it’s a command. Laughter is the best medicine, so it is often repeated. No kidding, according to Sciencedaily.com; laughter actually reduces levels of three detrimental stress hormones—cortisol, epinephrine and dopac. If these stress hormones are chronically released, it can cripple the immune system. That explains why stress can contribute to most illnesses from cardiovascular diseases to metabolic syndrome to premature aging.
One of the researchers involved in the above report, Dr. Berk (a self described hardcore medical clinician and scientist) has this to say,”… the best clinicians understand that there is an intrinsic physiological intervention brought about by positive emotions such as mirthful laughter, optimism and hope.”
However, laughter is one medicine you don’t need the doctor to prescribe. You can prescribe it yourself and you can use it anytime, anywhere. Of course, sometimes, people look at you funny when you are chuckling to yourself for no apparent reason other than the fact that you remember something funny. Been there?
Here’s some mirthful laughter Rx for you if you don’t know where to start:
- Think of a funny incidence in your life—free laughs—haha—LOL…
- Watch funny movies or television shows that showcase comedies, talk shows, sit-coms that celebrate laughter. Check out funny.com
- Youtube has tons of funny videos. You can even make your own.
- Read, tell or share funny jokes. Read 100 Funniest Jokes of all Times.
- Or get someone to tickle you for a sure laugh, maybe?
Steal a moment
In every person is a hidden child who wants to play
- Dr. Harvey Ruben
Steal a moment to de-stress yourself. Find that one thing that you love to do and you know will take your mind off stress and help you recover inner strength and serenity. Do you find aromatherapy relaxing? Or a walk through a park? Or a vigorous game of tennis? A shopping spree? A good sleep? It is different for everyone. The trick?—give yourself permission to indulge in a relaxing activity and you will find that you’re better equipped or prepared to deal with what’s at hand.
I normally use scientific research to back up my claims but not this one—I know for a fact that enjoying an activity I like helps me to unwind and recharges me for life’s challenges.
On the Wings of Prayer
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.~ Philippians 4:6
Sometimes, the stress looking at you is larger than life. Nothing can help this stress—no circumstances, no interventions or expert help can dissolve the problem. The case is beyond you or those around you and you know it. What do you do? I know what I’ll do—I always go to God in prayer—knowing that He who feeds the sparrows and clothe the lilies of the fields will take care of me. He offers His shoulders for the stressed, the hurt and injured, the over-burdened, the down-trodden, the despairing ones and the lonely. He invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Alright, I realize that’s my personal take on stress, but hold on…
Researchers in Toronto found that belief in God can help to block anxiety and reduce stress levels. Michael Inzlicht, Assistant Psychology Professor who led the study to measure brain activity while participants perform a Stroop test (test of cognitive control) found that people who believe in God showed less brain activity related to anxiety. They were less anxious, less stressed and made fewer errors during the test.
Watch Funny Videos
Now that you’ve crawled yourself out of the stress hole, maybe, you may want to consider making some lemonade—it makes a good relaxing drink.
Here's the recipe:
Try Paula Deen's recipe.