Health Tip #1: Seven Tips to Maintain Your Sanity in Times of Stress

August 16, 2007 at 1:09 am (Health Tips)

When it rains, it pours. I’m not a big supporter of cliches, like the “pot calling the kettle black” and such. Seriously, what the heck does that mean? But, sometimes these little annoying words can really just fit. I like to piece together sound bites to enrich and simplify your life, but also to bring laughter. Today’s piece is a bit more serious as stress from difficult life events is no giddy matter. And as hardship is often oddly twinned with other difficulties, coping skills must be bolstered. So, here are my top 7 tips for getting through it all.

1. Look for joy in little things: It may seem silly to enjoy the warmth of a cup of coffee or tea first thing in the morning or the smell of fresh sheets, but happiness isn’t about large chunks of money or the largest house on the block. It is simply a string of moments and simple joys. If you don’t appreciate and notice these tiny bits of fun, they will pass you by. And if you are a cranky monkey, or unimpressed unless huge successes happen, life will be dull. Especially in times of stress and difficulty, these itty bitty things will gather weight and all together can outweigh the nastiness.

2. Surround yourself with people who love you: Unless you are a leper or have banished all people from your life due to extreme rudeness or bad behavior, you most likely have at least one person in this world who cares about you. This would be the person(s) who would call you after 48 hours of non-communication, suspecting you have fallen in the bathtub and can’t get up. These people who love you get great joy when you share your woes, not because they are sick but because giving provides more than receiving. You are providing them with a special gift: the joy of feeling useful and close to you. Reach out. Trust me you will be glad. If you have burned bridges due to some stupid misunderstanding, suck up your pride and wave the white flag of surrender.

3. Distract yourself: As much as it is important to deal with the raw pain of adjusting to a loss or change, it is also important NOT to continuously steep yourself in misery. You need a break from obsessing and complaining and talking about what is bothering you. Not only do your friends need a break, but talking about seemingly unsolvable situations can often fan frustration. And a break can result in a different kind of release. There is more than one way to solve problems or get through adversity, so going to a movie, exercising, playing music, cooking a meal, blogging your brains out…all help you cope. This break will allow you to see that the sky is not falling (gaining perspective), and as your brain is an amazing organ, it may generate fresh ideas when on a proverbial vacation.

4. Laugh: While laughter may seem callous in a serious time, it is important not to forget this pleasure. You must remember that dealing with the issue at hand is necessary and sadness might be all around you, however watching a funny movie, reading a Far Side cartoon, or watching Elaine dance for the 101th time, will help you feel up, even if it is momentary. If you lost someone dear to death or separation, or have a tough boss who just fired you, or you have taken ill, laughter is the best medicine. Again with the cliches. But again, this holds true. The following is an example of what you need to be watching. This young fellow has a penchant for Olivia Newton John.

5. Talk about the problem: While I suggest having momentary lapses of avoidance (if you can), dealing with the problem at hand is absolutely essential. Some like to write in journals, pouring out their heart to a fictitious reader. Others prefer to bend the ear of a loved one. Whatever is most comfortable. Try to get out your feelings without much order at first. Eventually you may get to the point where you feel you are going in circles. Where the venting stage seems almost depressing in itself, you should move to thoughts and ideas about action. Bounce your ideas off of good friends and family, but it is supremely important to ensure you are making your very OWN decision. Analyze your moves and your motivation. Are you trying to seek approval by making a decision? Does this friend truly have your best interest at heart? Hand in hand with this solution is also reading about your specific problem. This may involve a self-help site on the web or chatting online or in support groups in person or reading a poignant book. You will find your way.

6. Avoid substances to “dull the pain”: While drinking 10 cosmopolitans may seem like a good idea at the time, doing so to get over pain is not only damaging to all your internal organs and your belt buckle, but it does nothing to solve your problem. Differing from watching a movie and other distractions, this will dull your senses AND your judgement and you may end up making choices that will only complicate your life further. Perhaps you decide to “hook up” with that good-looking office mate who actually looks like Quasimodo in reality. Now you have an awkward work situation, a gossip train started and potentially VD. Perhaps you decide to get in a car and drive and you hurt someone. Now you complicate not only your life, but you have caused irreparable pain to another person, which is far greater than your problem. And, to boot, alcohol (specifically) is actually a depressant, so you will be digging yourself out of an emotional dungeon the next day or so. Just don’t.

7. Finally, forgive yourself: You are invariably carrying around a laundry list of should-have’s, could-have’s and would-have’s. Regrets are only useful if you learn from your mistakes. Accept what you have done or not done, forgive yourself, and move on by making a concerted effort to do things differently next time. You can start today by fixing a problem that is actually fixable, by allowing yourself to move on, and to accept certain details that are actually out of your control. Take a reality check and focus on the good you have done, and then, where you are going starting this very moment.

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Health Tip #1: Seven Tips to Maintain Your Sanity in Times of Stress

August 16, 2007 at 12:09 am (advice, alcohol, forgiveness, happiness, Health Tips, humor, joy, simple, talk)

When it rains, it pours. I’m not a big supporter of cliches, like the “pot calling the kettle black” and such. Seriously, what the heck does that mean? But, sometimes these little annoying words can really just fit. I like to piece together sound bites to enrich and simplify your life, but also to bring laughter. Today’s piece is a bit more serious as stress from difficult life events is no giddy matter. And as hardship is often oddly twinned with other difficulties, coping skills must be bolstered. So, here are my top 7 tips for getting through it all.

1. Look for joy in little things: It may seem silly to enjoy the warmth of a cup of coffee or tea first thing in the morning or the smell of fresh sheets, but happiness isn’t about large chunks of money or the largest house on the block. It is simply a string of moments and simple joys. If you don’t appreciate and notice these tiny bits of fun, they will pass you by. And if you are a cranky monkey, or unimpressed unless huge successes happen, life will be dull. Especially in times of stress and difficulty, these itty bitty things will gather weight and all together can outweigh the nastiness.

2. Surround yourself with people who love you: Unless you are a leper or have banished all people from your life due to extreme rudeness or bad behavior, you most likely have at least one person in this world who cares about you. This would be the person(s) who would call you after 48 hours of non-communication, suspecting you have fallen in the bathtub and can’t get up. These people who love you get great joy when you share your woes, not because they are sick but because giving provides more than receiving. You are providing them with a special gift: the joy of feeling useful and close to you. Reach out. Trust me you will be glad. If you have burned bridges due to some stupid misunderstanding, suck up your pride and wave the white flag of surrender.

3. Distract yourself: As much as it is important to deal with the raw pain of adjusting to a loss or change, it is also important NOT to continuously steep yourself in misery. You need a break from obsessing and complaining and talking about what is bothering you. Not only do your friends need a break, but talking about seemingly unsolvable situations can often fan frustration. And a break can result in a different kind of release. There is more than one way to solve problems or get through adversity, so going to a movie, exercising, playing music, cooking a meal, blogging your brains out…all help you cope. This break will allow you to see that the sky is not falling (gaining perspective), and as your brain is an amazing organ, it may generate fresh ideas when on a proverbial vacation.

4. Laugh: While laughter may seem callous in a serious time, it is important not to forget this pleasure. You must remember that dealing with the issue at hand is necessary and sadness might be all around you, however watching a funny movie, reading a Far Side cartoon, or watching Elaine dance for the 101th time, will help you feel up, even if it is momentary. If you lost someone dear to death or separation, or have a tough boss who just fired you, or you have taken ill, laughter is the best medicine. Again with the cliches. But again, this holds true. The following is an example of what you need to be watching. This young fellow has a penchant for Olivia Newton John.

5. Talk about the problem: While I suggest having momentary lapses of avoidance (if you can), dealing with the problem at hand is absolutely essential. Some like to write in journals, pouring out their heart to a fictitious reader. Others prefer to bend the ear of a loved one. Whatever is most comfortable. Try to get out your feelings without much order at first. Eventually you may get to the point where you feel you are going in circles. Where the venting stage seems almost depressing in itself, you should move to thoughts and ideas about action. Bounce your ideas off of good friends and family, but it is supremely important to ensure you are making your very OWN decision. Analyze your moves and your motivation. Are you trying to seek approval by making a decision? Does this friend truly have your best interest at heart? Hand in hand with this solution is also reading about your specific problem. This may involve a self-help site on the web or chatting online or in support groups in person or reading a poignant book. You will find your way.

6. Avoid substances to “dull the pain”: While drinking 10 cosmopolitans may seem like a good idea at the time, doing so to get over pain is not only damaging to all your internal organs and your belt buckle, but it does nothing to solve your problem. Differing from watching a movie and other distractions, this will dull your senses AND your judgement and you may end up making choices that will only complicate your life further. Perhaps you decide to “hook up” with that good-looking office mate who actually looks like Quasimodo in reality. Now you have an awkward work situation, a gossip train started and potentially VD. Perhaps you decide to get in a car and drive and you hurt someone. Now you complicate not only your life, but you have caused irreparable pain to another person, which is far greater than your problem. And, to boot, alcohol (specifically) is actually a depressant, so you will be digging yourself out of an emotional dungeon the next day or so. Just don’t.

7. Finally, forgive yourself: You are invariably carrying around a laundry list of should-have’s, could-have’s and would-have’s. Regrets are only useful if you learn from your mistakes. Accept what you have done or not done, forgive yourself, and move on by making a concerted effort to do things differently next time. You can start today by fixing a problem that is actually fixable, by allowing yourself to move on, and to accept certain details that are actually out of your control. Take a reality check and focus on the good you have done, and then, where you are going starting this very moment.

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