10 Super Stress
How are you feeling? Cool as a cucumber, or frantic
and stressed out? If stress is overwhelming you and sapping
all your energy, life gets just that much harder and
any extra challenges, such as weight loss, start to seem
impossible. Learning how to minimize and manage stress
is a key to success, not just in weight loss, but in
So what can you do about stress?
Our first piece of advice is: Do take it seriously
- it’s affecting
your quality of life. Secondly: Do take it personally.
Everyone handles stress differently, so make a point
of understanding specifically what causes your stress
and how it shows, then you can focus your “stress-busters” accordingly.
Thirdly, if your stress never seems to improve, it’s
a good idea to talk to a mental health specialist or
other qualified counsellor for some guidance.
Read on and learn some good ways
to bust stress. Choose a few that are helpful to you
and put them into practice – but
don’t stress about it!
1. Learn to say "no"
Are you too much of a softy? Have people learned to
over-rely on you, impose on your time, and saddle you
with their burdens? Learn to say "NO" to
demanding requests - rather than suffer subsequent
regrets and stress.
Be realistic in your expectations,
and make sure others are too - you may be taking on
more responsibility than you can or should handle.
And remember to say "no" to
yourself as well as others; if you are feeling overwhelmed
and exhausted, don’t do things you don’t
2. Be an underachiever
Shed the "superman/woman" urge.
No one is perfect, so don't expect perfection from
yourself or others. Ask yourself: What really needs
to be done? How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic?
What adjustments can I make?
Overly-stressed people typically
push and push themselves to the point of collapse.
Sometimes it’s good to
let go of your expectations, demands, and perceived “needs”,
whether they are pressures you put on yourself or on
Don't hesitate to ask for help
if you need it. And go easy with criticism. Try not
to feel frustrated, let down, disappointed, even "trapped" when you
or another person doesn’t measure up. Remember,
everyone is unique, and has his or her own virtues, shortcomings,
and the right to develop as an individual.
3. Jump to it!
Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity on a
regular basis is a great way to manage stress. It’s
also good for weight control, for blood pressure, for
heart disease, for peace of mind, for enjoyment, and
You'll find that a consistent exercise schedule not
only keeps you alert and focused during the day, but
also helps you sleep better at night. If you have a lot
of pent-up tension, going for a vigorous walk or for
a relaxing swim can ease it out of your system.
4. Alter your perceptions
One of the best ways to manage stress is to rethink
your perceptions. You may not be able to control a situation,
but you do have control of your point of view.
Sometimes, if you are feeling
very stressed, you might just need to reconsider your
response to an event. Is it really the end of the world
because you can't hang a picture up quickly, or because
the traffic is moving slower than usual, or because
you spilled a glass of milk? Sometimes you need to
learn to laugh at what you might perceive as a “disaster”.
Sometimes you need to let go of what you cannot control.
Try shifting your focus from what is not working in
your life, to what is.
5. Limit changes
Once you identify the changes
that induce stress for you, you can make decisions
to limit the number of changes you allow in your life.
Of course, you cannot simply quit your job, postpone
your move, or permanently avoid everything in your
life that has a high stress potential. But you can
have some control over how many of these events happen
at any one time. You can learn to prioritise for the
sake of your sanity. Get used to asking yourself questions
about your immediate and distant future: What can I
rearrange? What is not a priority? What can I say "no" to?
What is really important to me this weekend?
That doesn’t have to mean twisting your knees and
ankles at obscure angles and humming to yourself. You
can use meditation time to listen to music, lie flat
on the floor and stare at the ceiling, do a stretching
routine, sit on a park bench, or take in an ocean view;
whatever helps you to go to “another place” or
simply think of nothing at all. Just 10-20 minutes of
quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress
as well as increase your tolerance to it.
If you think about it, the word "recreation" says
a lot. When you garden or fish or walk or paint for recreation
you are, in a sense, re-creating yourself by renewing
your body and mind.
Setting aside part of the day
or week for recreation is a great way to reduce stress.
Try taking up a new activity or hobby; it will give
you a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Next time
you’re bogged down
by worries, do something you enjoy for a while. Whether
it's gardening, reading, painting, or Irish dancing – whatever
makes you happy – make time to indulge your interest.
8. Drink and eat to your health
Good nutrition makes a big difference to stress levels.
If you are feeling stressed, limit your intake of caffeine,
alcohol and sugar, as these substances can elevate the
physical symptoms of stress. Alcohol can be deceptive;
some people think it relaxes them for sleep, but most
research shows it actually disturbs, not helps, regular
Good stress-reducing foods:
- Whole grains promote the production of the brain
neurotransmitter serotonin, which increases your sense
- Green, yellow and orange vegetables are rich in minerals,
vitamins and phytochemicals, which boost immune response
and protect against disease.
- Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, which is a great
Observe how different foods and beverages affect your
9. Baby steps, baby steps
For people under tension or stress,
an ordinary work load can sometimes seem unbearable.
The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed
is to take one task at a time. Pick the most urgent
task and work on it first. Once you accomplish that
task, choose the next one. The positive feeling of "checking off" work
is very satisfying and can help motivate you to keep
going. Learn to identify events that leave you mentally
drained and pace yourself extra carefully on those ones.
10. Manage conflict
By determining what you really value and what is really
worth battling over, you can limit the amount of conflict
in your life. Avoid certain situations that lead to conflict.
Limit the amount of interaction you have with people
who battle with you. Examine conflicting drives and determine
which one should prevail. You cannot expect a perfect
world without conflict, but you can make a decision to
limit the amount of self-inflicted turmoil in your life.
Reproduced with permission from CalorieKing.com.au. All material copyright CalorieKing.com.au