How to Tame Your Stress
Based on the Book by Deborah Smith Pegues
Nowadays, there is so much stress in our everyday lives. We stress about money. In fact, based on a 2009 survey conducted by Reader’s Digest (published in its October 2009 issue), money is the number one cause of stress for most people from various countries. We also stress about our health, careers, relationships, families and life, in general. There’s really no lack of causes for our stress.
So how do you deal with stress and its causes? Do you ignore it, hoping it will go away? Do you b@tch about it to your best friend (will make you feel better for a short time but will not make it go away)? Or do you face it head-on and tackle it? Or do you just let it all build up inside you until you feel that you are ready to explode and only a trip to the doctor (or to a hospital) can calm you down without directly addressing the cause of your stress? Or do you go through life avoiding the possible causes of your stress (though I don’t know how this is possible really)?
In her book entitled 30 Days to Taming Your Stress, Deborah Smith Pegues described stress as “the disease of the century” because nobody seems to be immune to it and everybody has it or has experienced it. In her book, Ms. Pegues described 30 ways to tame one’s stress, one way per day of the month. Her descriptions are interspersed with inspirational religious words and prayers, which made those descriptions more powerful (at least for me). Below are 10 of these 30 ways that seems to be so applicable to me and I would like to share them with you. The main points are from her book but the descriptions are mine. Hope you will find them applicable to you, too.
This is the Book
Get Sleep. Okay, how many among us really do get an 8-hour sleep or even a 6-hour sleep? 8 hours is actually a luxury for me and I know it is the same thing with a lot of people. But then again, this is what we exactly need to recover from a grueling (and even a not-so-grueling) day and to energize ourselves for the next day. So let’s find time to stop what we are doing, go to bed early and get the right amount of snooze that we need.
Schedule Your Day Wisely. We only have 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but we seem to want to cram them with all sorts of activities. We want to be superman or superwoman and do a lot of things with what limited time we have. What we need is to take stock of what we really need to do, be realistic about the time that we have and the length of time we need to do each thing and then wisely (read: realistically) schedule our tasks. Otherwise, we will just go multi-tasking and end up not accomplishing anything at all.
Master Your Money. Now this one, I have to heartily agree. I used to stress so much about money (or the lack of it) that my husband would end up avoiding me when he sees I’m in a bad mood. But over time, I have learned to handle myself and our ‘money’ habits. I have also learned that, just when we are about to lose our funds, Somebody Up There always help us. I’m serious. We already experienced these couple of times already and we know we will keep on experiencing them in the future.
Just Say No. This is very hard for me to do. I always end up saying yes to everything and then stressing myself out because I can’t meet everybody’s expectations. Learning to say no (in the right manner) is one way to rid ourselves of the stress we feel. It gives us a sense of having and making our own choice (rather than having others ‘manipulate’ you into saying yes) and having control of our own lives. Definitely, a stress-buster all the way.
Be Flexible. Have you ever met an ‘OC’ (obsessive-compulsive) person who wants everything to be right and perfect that he or she ends up running around stressing himself / herself (and other people) out? Or are you an OC person (just tell me yes so that I can avoid you, LOL)? Reducing rigidness (and being an OC) and becoming more flexible is a great way to tame your stress. It is also a great way to reduce the tension from the people around you because they don’t have to walk on egg shells whenever they are around you.
Other books from Deborah Smith Pegues
Other 'Stress' Products
Release the Past. This one talks about forgiveness – forgiving other people and forgiving one’s self. Taking time to consciously forgive other people (and even yourself) who have wronged you in the past helps a lot in releasing much stress from yourself. On the other hand, forgiveness should not mean that you forget (according to Ms. Pegues). It just means you are releasing yourself from the bondage of being angry and unforgiving and thus releasing yourself from the stress of carrying all of it inside you.
Take a Time – Out. Go out and take a break. Take a day off, put up your feet and just rest. If you are running yourself ragged during the day, take a few seconds or few minutes to rest your mind, breathe deeply and relax. Taking a time-out will do wonders in taming your stress and dealing with whatever is stressing you out.
Laugh. Nothing tames stress better than humor and laughter. Read and laugh at jokes (bad or corny as they may be). Go out and watch a funny movie. Tickle your funny bone in whatever way you want and literally feel the stress seeping out from your body.
Slow Your Pace. Know what’s the difference between city life and provincial (country) life? Definitely, the pace. When I was in Manila, everybody is walking fast, while talking over their phone and dodging traffic. When I’m here in my hometown, life and the pace slow down. Nobody’s rushing things or if there’s any rush, you know you have time enough to finish it. Maybe that’s why, despite the trappings of the city life, a lot of people still prefer to go back to this place or in other provinces, as they’re less stressed out that way.
Stop Stress-Speak. I didn’t know there are certain words that can bring out the stress in you. Words such as have to, grab (as in “grab a bite to eat”), jump, swoop, hurry, in a flash, etc. can be actually more stressful than other words. What’s a common factor for these words? They imply urgency; as in you must do it now. They literally make us rush. To tame our stress, we need to reprogram the words that we use in our everyday lives. It’s really as simple as that.
So those are the 10 ways I specifically picked up from Ms. Pegues’ book. There are 20 more ways that are equally thought-provoking. The discussions for each way may be short (3 to 5 pages) but they are very effective. So if you’re looking for a stress-free book to read, why not get a copy of this book? You won’t regret it, promise.