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try to let go of stress
      #199257 - 07/08/06 01:23 AM

Stress & Anxiety

Stress Warning Signals

When the body is under stress, it responds with a particular set of danger signs and symptoms that are caused by malfunctioning of the most vulnerable parts of the body. Many of us don't recognize the warning signs when they occur. Physical and emotional symptoms or certain kinds of behavior can be signs of stress. A few are listed below. Think about which symptoms you experience, and add any others that are not on the list.

Autonomic Nervous Response
("Fight or Flight" Response)
# Increased heart rate
# Elevation of blood-pressure
# Secretion of adrenaline and other hormones
# Increased muscle tone
# Pupils dilate
# Perspiration increases
# Increase in oxygen uptake
# Mobilization of glucose and fatty acids
# Release of blood coagulants

Physical Signs of Stress
# Headaches
# Backaches
# Muscle fatigue
# Appetite changes
# Insomnia
# Oversleeping
# Accident proneness
# Exacerbation of present illnesses
# Dryness of mouth
# Stiff neck/shoulders
# Pounding heart
# Hyperventilation
# Fluttering eyelids
# Cold or sweaty hands
# "Butterflies"
# Eye strain
# Teeth grinding
# Indigestion
# Fatigue
# Rashes
# Constipation/diarrhea
# Nervous tics
# Trembling hands
# Frequent urination
# Premenstrual tension or missed menstrual cycles
# Stuttering

Most Common Emotional Disorders Related to Stress
# Alcoholism
# Drug abuse
# Depression
# Suicide
# Marriage/family problems
# Sexual dysfunction
# Neurotic behavior
# Psychosis
# Compulsive behaviors

Physical Disorders Related to Stress
# Coronary heart disease
# Heart attack
# High blood pressure
# Ulcers
# Diabetes
# Allergies
# Eczema
# Asthma
# Chronic Bronchitis
# Colitis
# Arthritis
# Kidney disease
# Sinusitis

Emotional Signs of Stress
# Excessive preoccupation with ideas or people
# Increased absences
# Increased tardiness
# Marked and prolonged indifference in productivity
# Crying episodes
# Sudden angry outbursts
# Mood swings
# Withdrawal
# Isolation from relationships in the work setting
# Inability to concentrate
# Nightmares
# Irritability
# Hyperexcitation
# Impulsive behavior
# Weakness/dizziness
# Disorientation
# Overpowering tendency to run and hide
# Easily startled
# "Floating anxiety" (afraid, but not sure of what)
Ways to Cope with Stress

Let's face it, all of us have lots of STRESS in our lives, especially if we're in college. While we may not be able to fully reduce our stress, we can effectively manage it. The following is a suggested list of ways to enhance our stress management.

Plan Your Time

1. Make time your ally, not you master.
2. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.
3. Procrastination is stressful. Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today, do it now.
4. Be prepared to wait. A paperback book can make a wait at a rail-road crossing, line at the bank, etc. much more pleasant.
5. Do one thing at a time. Trying to take care of everything at once can seem overwhelming, and as a result you may not accomplish anything.
6. If an especially "unpleasant" task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with. Then the rest of your day will be free of anxiety.
7. Don't rely on your memory! Write down appointment times, test or paper due dates, when library books are due, etc.
8. Learn to delegate responsibility to capable others.
9. Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are well to compromise upon.
10. Learn to say no; set limits and priorities. Each of us has our max!
11. Provide quiet, alone time for yourself each day.
12. Take slowpoke training. Slow down. Allow more time for tasks, getting to appointments, eating meals and relaxation.

Take Care of Your Body

1. Get enough rest - 7 hours is good (use a relaxation tape if necessary).
2. Try physical activity. When you are nervous, angry, or upset, release the pressure through exercise or activity. Running, walking, playing tennis, or bike riding are just some of the activities which can relieve that "up tight" feeling, relax you, and turn frowns into smiles. Remember, you body and mind work together.
3. Eat well. Decrease sugar, fat, preservatives, additives, and caffeine. Drink lots of water. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamins A, C, E and Beta Carotene can decrease stress.
4. If you smoke, stop completely.
5. Avoid self-medication. Although you can use alcohol and other drugs to relieve stress temporarily, they do not reduce the conditions that caused the stress in the first place. In fact, they may be habit forming and create more stress than they take away.
6. Seek health and medical care. Preventative medicine is the best kind.
7. Get a massage. It is a wonderful way to get rid of physical tension.
8. Stretching can relieve stiff necks, often caused by tension. Practice simple stretches, such as the "neck stretch"; stretch your neck by gently rolling your head in a half-circle, starting at one side, then dropping your chin to your chest, then to the other side.
9. Take a long, warm, uninterrupted, relaxing bath.
10. It's OK to cry. A good cry can be a healthy way to bring relief to your anxiety, and it might even prevent a headache or other physical consequence.
11. Everyone's body is different. Refuse to compare yours with others. Set you own standards!

Relax and Enjoy Life

1. Laugh at yourself and situations. Humor melts stress.
2. Make time for fun. Schedule time for both work and recreation. Play is just as important to your well-being as work; you need a break from your daily routine to just relax and have fun.
3. Get involved! One way to keep from getting bored, sad or lonely is to go where it's all happening. Give volunteer work a try - you help yourself when you help others.
4. Change the scene. Reading a good book or playing beautiful music can create a sense of peace and tranquility.
5. Deep breathing. While sitting, lying down, or standing, close your eyes and breathe in slowly. Let the breath out for a count of 5-10 seconds. Take ten of these super-relaxers any time you feel tense.
6. Do something you love! When you enjoy yourself, whether it's working outside, going to the beach or seeing friends, you relax your emotions.
7. Let go of things you cannot change or control. (Try the A.A. Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.)
8. Be gentle and giving of yourself - accept yourself and your limitations.
9. Connect with nature. Take walks, go hiking in the woods, work in the garden. Nature is healing.
10. Be positive - negativity can drag you down.
11. Relax: try yoga, meditation, relaxation tapes, visualization, or prayer - whatever works for you.
12. Pamper yourself. Take a bubble bath, or soak in a hot tub.
13. Engage in creative pursuits and open yourself up to new experiences. Try doing things you have never done before, sample foods you have never eaten, go places you have never seen. Find self renewing opportunities.
14. Surround yourself with cues that affirm positive thoughts and positive approaches to life which will remind you to relax and unwind occasionally (pictures, posters, calendars, etc).
15. Find some time every single day --- even if only 10 minutes --- for complete privacy. Create a "comfort zone" where you can escape to just to relax and unwind.
16. Reduce or eliminate television watching.
17. Reward yourself.

Think Positively

1. Change your perception. We can't always change the stressor, but we can change how we perceive it or react to it.
2. Eliminate negative self-talk: "I'm too old", "I'm too fat", "I'm too thin", "I can't possibly do this"...
3. Talk nicely to yourself!
4. Recognize that stress is only temporary.

Create a Healthy Work Environment

1. Engage in meaningful, satisfying work that you enjoy.
2. Do not let work dominate your life.
3. Do not become lopsided in any one area of work; seek rewarding experiences in a variety of dimensions.
4. Jealously guard your free time at work (lunch, breaks, etc). This helps break up your day, and allows time for a mini-relaxation break.
5. Review your work from time to time. If you're not happy - change jobs.
6. Interact with people whom you do not work with.

Evaluate Your Interactions With Others

1. Refuse to take on other people's problem over which you have little or no control.
2. Don't compete with everybody doing everything.
3. Be able to say "no" and feel good about it.
4. Express your feelings: anger, fear, love, etc.
5. Share your stress. It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries. Perhaps a friend, teacher, family member or counselor can help you see your problem in a different light.
6. Must you always be right? Try to compromise.
7. Walk away from quarrels, fights, or squabbles when tempers are touchy. Wait for things to cool down and then discuss, not argue.
8. Be casual and comfortable with people. Accept and enjoy them as they are.
9. Get out of the human judgement business. Why add to your stress level by useless critical opinions of others?
10. Have a forgiving view of people. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.
11. Form at least one or two high-quality relationships with people you trust and can be yourself with.
12. Do not drift along troublesome and stressful situations. Rehabilitate a bad relationship or end it. "Fire" those friends who are not really your friends.

The Art of Letting Go...

1. TO LET GO does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do for someone else.
2. TO LET GO is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another.
3. TO LET GO is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
4. TO LET GO is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself.
5. TO LET GO is not to care for, but to care about.
6. TO LET GO is not to fix, but to be supportive.
7. TO LET GO is not to judge, but to allow others to be a human being.
8. TO LET GO is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their destinies.
9. TO LET GO is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality.
10. TO LET GO is not to deny, but to accept.
11. TO LET GO is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
12. TO LET GO is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
13. TO LET GO is not to criticize and regulate anybody, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
14. TO LET GO is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
15. TO LET GO is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
16. TO LET GO is to fear less, and love more.

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