Stress Reduction Techniques
We're all affected by stress in one form or another. It's a natural part of life. Stress by itself is not damaging, in fact it can be a very helpful condition - and helps keep us alive through our "fight or flight" response both today and in our collective past.
Where stress does cause problems is when our bodies remain in that stressed-out state, without release, for long periods of time. Some, it seems, are in a perpetual state of stress and worry.
Fighting Stress Requires a Radical Change in Thinking
Our best defense against stress is a change in our way of thinking - and in turn, a likely change of lifestyle. For example, if you're constantly in a state of stress and anxiety over money matters, stop and consider your relationship with money. What do you really need to live? For many people with this type of worry, enough is never enough. No matter what you have, you feel that happiness will only come when you have more. This type of thinking will doom you to a constant state of anxiety over money and you will miss your life while chasing your mind's version of a future happiness. This doesn't mean you should have no financial goals, but rather that you learn to enjoy the adventure of building your business, saving your money, or whatever your money goals may be.
One interesting method of retraining your mind toward a peaceful disposition is with a product called Holosync (TM) which is sold by a company called Centerpointe. This program works by vibrating special frequencies into your brain by way of stereo headphones. There are many different levels of the program, each with deepening degrees of strength. The idea is that by using the Holosync (tm) cd's, your brain's left and right hemispheres will reach closer and closer to a state of equilibrium, rather than a state of right, or left-brain dominance. Just like that of a seasoned Zen Monk.
Are there supplements that help reduce stress?
In my own experience, a healthy diet is the first approach toward reducing stress levels. However I have found that keeping up with a daily supplement regiment does make me feel better.., whether that's just in my head or not - I'm not sure. I take a daily multi-vitamin, along with Omega-3 Fish Oil and a Pro-Biotic. We typically purchase supplements at our local co-op and GNC.
Some people have reported good results with Vitamin B-12 liquid and B-12 sublingual tablets. I've read that B-12 vitamins are supposed to be nature's "feel-good" nutrient and I've no reason to doubt that. I can't say for sure if B-12 has had any added stress-reducing effect on me, but from what I've heard and read in regard to scientific research on B-12 vitamins, it's doesn't seem to be a fluke. As always, make sure you consult with your doctor or certified nutritionist for recommendations based on your specific dietary needs. We are all different in regard to the types and quantities of food we take in on a daily basis. Your doctor / nutritionist can help determine if you may be ingesting too much of a particular nutrient, or if you can reduce or eliminate a specific supplement with the real thing - i.e., food..
The effects of excercise (or lack of it) on stress reduction
I've been working on the internet full-time since 1997 and as the years go by, I seem to spend more and more time sitting behind a computer each day. This had taken a toll on my former excercise regimen, which used to take up about as much time each day as my current computer time! This lack of movement, combined with the eye, neck, back strain and the dangers of other potential problems, such as carpel tunnel syndrome make too much computer time bad for your physical stress levels.
The flipside of this is that I love my work online and the overall lifestyle it affords me. I used to have the stress of waking up with the jarring buzzer of my alarm clock, and then dragging myself out to a job where I worked for someone else and all the regular daily stresses many people experience each day. For the past 8+ years, I wake up when I wake up. We moved out to the countryside (from downtown of a major US city), where the only commute I make is a walk through the forest in the morning if I choose, before sitting down at my computer in my small home office for a day of work. I answer to no one, I make every decision, I set my own schedule.
Now, while this "sounds" idyllic, it can wreak havoc (and has) on your physical well-being. Now it is a major challenge to try to schedule in time for real excercise. I've got so much going on with work, so many projects, so much possibility and potential with this dastardly Internet that sometimes I hate to leave the computer for 30 minutes for fear that I might miss out on something! I guess this is a type of anxiety too!
That combination of work anxiety and the physical stressors experienced from prolonged time sitting at the computer all contributed to elevated and ongoing stress levels. I had simply taught myself to expect this stress and it seemed that my tolerance grew over the years to allow myself to pile on more and more stressors to my system. More time infront of the computer, more projects, getting used to the pain in my neck, back and shoulders to the point where I had forgot ten what it felt like to be relaxed!
The Turning Point
These feelings of anxiety and stress started to change for me after I really looked at the problem and identified the culprits. I started simply by taking more frequent breaks throughout the day to stretch out and take a walk outside. I asked a local landscape designer if I could work with him outside a few hours each week. When the winter came - and it certainly arrives here in the hills in full force - I made a point to make a safe excercise out of shoveling snow. In other words, finding the opportunity for excercise throughout the day - those moments that are perfect for a quick 25 pushups, or a set of squats, etc. I recently cleaned out a room of our house and set up a gym in there where I can go for a quick workout anytime.
A healthier diet has worked wonders for me almost right away in changing the way my body reacts to stressful situations - and the Holosync (TM) program has helped to readjust my outlook on what is really stressful and what is really a very minor, trivial, or imagined annoyance.
I believe this multi-faceted approach to whole-body stress reduction is a winner. I hope this article will encourage you to explore ways in which you can also use this approach to reduce your own stress levels and live a more happy, healthy and fulfilling life in the present.
This article may NOT be reproduced in any way without direct written permission from the author and publisher. 2005
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