Combat Stress

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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It has become an almost iconic sign of our times the dreaded stress word, yet it is still an epidemic that nobody seems to know that much about. The Central Statistics office in Ireland reports that 13, 000 people in the Republic of Ireland suffer from stress, depression or anxiety. Pretty much everyone seems to have it, yet nobody knows exactly what causes it, or why, and there is as yet no magic pill we can pop to make it go away! The general consensus, however, is that it is our bodies non-specific reaction to the demands put on it. Stress seems to affect everyone in different ways from tension headaches to spot outbreaks and constant runny noses. So, what can we do about it The answer is easy though not always so easy to attain and it is to slow down. That s why we ve put together these top tips to help you acquire a stress-free life in our fast-paced world.

1 Slow Down
Take time out! Stress creeps up on us because we are run ragged doing too many things. All work and no play is no good at all everything in moderation is the key to not letting things get on top of you. You should make time for exercise and social outings with friends in the same way that you make time for work pressures and household chores. It is just as important for you to chill out and relax as it is to meet that pressing work deadline s o be sure to make time for both!

2 Make A List
If you feel that there are too many things to do and not enough time and this pressure is causing you stress then don t panic. Instead, make a list of all the things you have to get done and then examine it. Work out which tasks are urgent and which ones can wait. Prioritise the things that need doing urgently and then take a break.

3 Write A Diary
Try to get into the habit of writing down your thoughts and feelings when you are feeling a bit stressed or anxious about all the things you have to do. Not only will this prevent you from bottling up negative emotions it will also help you work out what causes you to feel stressed and how you might alleviate this in the future. Analyse your diary extracts and ask yourself if there is a pattern regarding when and why you become stressed. If there is, you should think of ways in which you can take control of the situation and prevent yourself getting stressed about it again. For example, if you find that you always seem to be stressed on Tuesdays because you work late and have to pick up the children from after-school classes and later take them to music lessons, maybe you should consider seeing if you could finish work earlier or get somebody else to bring the children to their music lessons This way you give yourself the time out to recharge and relax while everything still gets done.

4 Exercise
Exercise is a great stress-buster! Not only does it give you more energy and release happy hormones (endorphins) it also helps clear your mind and relieve built-up tension. As if that isn t enough to get you on the treadmill, taking regular exercise also serves the purpose of giving you time-out from everything else. Just going for a walk in the fresh air on your lunch break can put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. Classes such as yoga are specifically designed to help you relax, helping you to achieve a sense of harmony between mind, body and soul.

5 Enrol In An Evening Class
Learning is relaxing as well as informative, especially if the course you choose is of personal interest. Perhaps you ve a hobby that you don t always make enough time for From cake decoration to painting, dressmaking to photography, or floristry to pottery, you ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which class you ll enjoy the most! What is for certain is that you ll either learn a new skill or improve on an existing one while making plenty of new friends with whom you can share your new passion! Moreover, it s the perfect way to banish stress for good by turning to your new hobby to put you in a positive and calm frame of mind.

Frank Bolger

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