Six Steps for Dealing with Stress

Stress

Stress by Becky Wetherington www.flickr.com/photos/macbeck/

Of all the factors in modern life that degrade our health, stress is probably the greatest one. Whether it’s traffic, money problems, scheduling, family or societal expectations, we constantly need help with stress reduction, even if you’re the calmest person outside of a meditation hall. Rather than yell at someone or eat too much dessert, consider trying some of these offerings:

1. Eat regular meals, preferably three. Three sit-down, hot meals would be perfect, maybe even with your family. I know this can be difficult for many with a busy lifestyle but it’s worth the change. Lack of food can be as much a stressor as too much food while the stress relief of having a healthy ritual that allows you to relax, improve your digestive function and relate to your family or friends is golden.

2. Sleep eight hours a night on the same schedule. Deviating occasionally is not a problem, but erratic sleep schedules and chronic sleep deprivation can be a serious problem.

3. Take time to relax. Having a busy job is one thing, never taking time to relax away from phone, computer and constant work is another. This should be daily and weekly with occasional trips to the beach, mountains, wilderness, etc…

4. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can reduce stress. Acupuncture is great at relieving those tight muscles at the shoulders and lower back that come from overwork. Internal stress, with symptoms like slightly elevated blood pressure, irritability and difficulty in focusing, can be helped with both herbs and Acupuncture, by supporting the “rest and digest” aspect of the nervous system.

5. Qigong (pronounced chee- gong) is a chinese form of exercise that has been practiced for centuries to reduce stress, among other things. Qigong is a little like Yoga, but it is much easier for the average person to do. The story from China is that qigong was created by Bodhidharma, the same monk who brought buddhism to China from India and is credited as the creator of Zen buddhism.

6. As the Buddha once said: “Focus.”* Be present with your stress, your job, your family, your joys, your frustrations. Allowing yourself to be distracted with another project when you should be finishing a presentation for your boss won’t get either done faster. Thinking about work when you’re spending time with family will just fill your down time with stress. Stay present and take care of what is in front of you; everything will work itself out.

See how these six help you with your stress and let me know what happens!

*The Buddha didn’t actually say that.

The Three Essential Building Blocks for Health

Get at least eight hours of sleep. If one of your complaints is fatigue, exhaustion or something similar your body is telling you that you need sleep. Go to bed early or sleep in if you need more than eight hours.

Eat three meals of healthy food per day, including sitting down for your (preferably hot) meals. If you avoid any foods, make sure you tell your acupuncturist this, because this can indicate a digestive weakness that can be improved upon.

Get some moderate exercise. If you are not feeling well, make the exercise mild or skip it. I recommend Qigong because I teach it. If you can’t find Qigong; yoga, cycling to work or classes at the gym will work. If you walk for exercise but still have significant challenges (such as weight issues, blood pressure or other medical issues) consider seeing an Acupuncturist or other medical professional. If you are constantly wearing yourself out with daily exercise, consider why and how you can change it.

These might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have good sleep, food or exercise in their regular routine.