by Lissa Rankin, MD
April is National Stress Awareness Month. A few points from a 2004 American Psychological Association Survey tells us why this we need a whole month to remind us why we need to chill out:
- 2/3 of Americans say they are likely to seek help for stress.
- 54% of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives.
In light of the current unemployment rates, mortgage foreclosures, bankruptcy filings, other financial uncertainties, and a lingering war, these percentages are likely much higher.
10 Tips For Relieving Stress and Getting Your Mojo Back
- Engage in relaxing activities. Take a walk in nature. Get a massage. Take a scented hot bath. Curl up with a great book.
- Listen to guided imagery. I love Belleruth Naparstek.
- Meditate, even if only for five minutes. If you can’t make time for this, break up the day by taking three deep belly breaths several times/day.
- Try to change the stressors in your life that you have the power to change.
- Quit trying to control the uncontrollable. For those stressors you can’t change, learn to let it go.
- Be brutal with your to-do list, and be compassionate with yourself for what doesn’t get done.
- Avoid watching and reading the news when you’re stressed. Chances are it will only stress you more.
- Express your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or write in your journal. Bottling up your feelings will only add to your stress.
- Keep a running list of gratitudes. It will help keep you focused on what’s great in your life.
- Laugh. Watch a funny movie. Tell jokes with friends. If you can’t think of a reason to laugh, check out laughter yoga and do it anyway!
Reducing My Stress
I always have to remember to practice what I preach. So today, on this rainy day, instead of jumping back into my never-ending to-do list and allowing myself to become even more stressed, I’m slowing down. I’m writing, baking lemon squares with my daughter, and going to a slumber party with my girlfriends. I’m going to watch a silly romantic comedy, play with my dog, and do an art project. Because that’s what really matters in life. It’s not only good for your health to reduce your stress, it’s part of living a joyful, calm, peaceful life filled to the brim with mojo.
Reducing YOUR Stress
But don’t listen to me. What works for you? Listen to your own body’s intuition and go with your gut. Share your secrets with us. How you do you manage stressful times in your life? How do you keep your mojo even when things get busy or tough? Do tell…
Dr. Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, an author, a nationally-represented professional artist, and the founder of Owning Pink, an online community committed to building authentic community and empowering women to get- and keep- their "mojo". Owning Pink is all about owning all the facets of what makes you whole- your health, your sexuality, your spirituality, your creativity, your career, your relationships, the planet, and YOU. Dr. Rankin is currently redefining women’s health at the Owning Pink Center, her practice in Mill Valley, California. She is the author of the forthcoming What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin's Press, September 2010).
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