Posted on May 29th, 2006

How many people have you met that do not know what it feels like to be stressed?

Do you even need two hands to count them on?

Since you probably don’t need two hands, and since you are probably familiar with stress yourself, here are the top eight things you can do, or do more of, to deal with stress:

1. Go for a run. Or a walk. Or go swimming, or boxing, or do some other physical activity. Exercise is good for you on four different levels:

a. It will get a large chunk of the accumulated stress out of your system.

b. If your physical activity is outdoorsy, it allows you to get some air and to take a break.

c. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel better, happier. It’s sort of a natural high, really.

d. You’ll be fitter and better looking - always a plus!

2. Find a person you can share your troubles with - most of your friends are not the kind you can share your troubles with, but rather people with whom you can talk about lighter matters. There are probably only one or two friends with whom you can really talk about everything. So share with them - talking about it will ease your burden.

3. Be in the company of friends and acquaintances - not for sharing, like in #2, but just for the company. You know, have fun. It will make life better, and it will also distract you from your troubles.

4. Find a hobby. Whether it’s arts or crafts, biking, fishing, or any other hobby you can think of, focusing on something you like to do takes your mind off your troubles, and allows you to relax. You can’t work all day long.

5. Set an appointed time for the above activities, so they don’t get pushed aside by "more important things", stressful things. Monday and Friday evening can be dedicated to some kind of sport. Tuesday afternoons might be your time for painting. Saturday night can be the time all the gang goes out to play pool. Just make sure you set a time for doing the things that make you feel good, and don’t let your "duties" push them aside.

6. Take a deep breath. Now do it again. When you are stressed, your breathing becomes shallow. The moment you take a deep breath, however, you feel better. Remember: breathe. Breath is life.

7. Put on some music. It doesn’t have to be classic music, although it can be if you like it. Just listen to music that makes you feel good, that relaxes you. Happy, quiet or classic music can do wonders. Heavy metal, though, is not relaxing music, no matter what you think and no matter what your taste in music is.

8. Find a distraction from life that makes you feel good - it could be a movie or a book, for instance. That takes your mind off things, takes you into different worlds, allowing the body and the mind time to relax.

There you have it. If you are stressed, you’re probably not doing these eight things enough.

Stress can be dealt with when you know how. Use the above tips to deal with your stress. They can work wonders!

Copyright 2005 Dvora Ifat and Shunit Ben-Tzvi

Dvora Ifat and Shunit Ben-Tzvi are co-authors of "No Stress! How to Save Tons of Money on Shrinks and Doctors - Just by Reducing Stress!", a web authority on stress management and relief. http://www.nostressebook.com

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