Saturday, March 08, 2008

- Take a chill pill -

4 tips for battling stress
In addition to all of the other guidance I give you, take some time to put the following tips into your daily regimen when you can. They won't make stress go away, and they're not exactly the equivalent of a two-week Mediterranean cruise, but they'll help. Remember: it's important to battle the cumulative effects of stress, and these tips should help.
It's OK to be annoyed; it's human. And when you bottle things up, you're just adding to the pile of cumulative stress. I'm not saying you need to flip out and scream at everyone around you, but when the going gets tough, it doesn't mean that you should just nod quietly and accept your bad luck. Tell your spouse they've upset you. Advise that co- worker that you're not fond of how they're behaving or that they're making your job more difficult. By asserting yourself and your opinion without losing control, you're actually venting stress. (Hmm…maybe that's why I'm one of the least stressed out people I know.)
Get a hobby, or don't be shy about throwing yourself into the one that you already have. Don't let your schedule deny you the outlet that helps you free your mind. By concentrating your mind on the thing that brings you the most joy – whatever that may be, whether it's stamp collecting, exercise, dancing, or pottery – you're actually sloughing off stress, and giving your mind and body the time to recover. It's like a mini- vacation, and will stop the stress build up.
Nothing's more stressful than a deadline, and it only gets worse the closer it gets. If you can turn yourself in a better time manager, even the biggest project can be tackled with less stress. By managing your schedule, you avoid being overworked, which is often one of the most common causes of undue stress.
Yup, another cliché. But like so many, it's true. Both laughing and crying are enormously effective ways to vent stress. If you've ever just busted a gut or bawled your eyes out, you know that afterwards there's often a great rush of good feeling (with a laugh) or a sense of relief (with a cry). You're human, and emotions are what make you that way. They're there for a reason: use them. Bottling them up leads to more stress. Not the usual advice I dispense, I know. But something that's always important to remember.
Taking a "chill pill" as the kids say,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

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