LAUGH AND SMILE
Research shows that when we laugh or even smile, blood flow to the the brain is increased, endorphins (that give us a sense of well being) are released, and levels of stress hormones drop which allows an increase in white blood cell production which increases immunity. Stress causes blood flow to slow by 35% while laughter increases it by around 22%. (study at Uni of Maryland, Baltimore USA)
RECOGNISE THE SYMPTOMS AND TRIGGERS
Be aware of exactly what effect stress has on your body and your cognitive powers. Once you recognise your response to stress you can develop strategies to regain control. Keep a record of stressful events for a few weeks and record the trigger, symptom, your thoughts (feelings) when and what level of stress you felt.
BE AWARE OF STRESS TRIGGERED COMPULSIONS
Unhealthy and destructive urges are sometimes triggered by stress. Excessive eating, drinking, smoking, unnecessary risk taking, reckless driving etc.
DO A "REALITY CHECK"
Check that goals / expectations are realistic and can be achieved within the given time frame. Allow a margin for the unanticipated beyond your control.
DO A "WORST CASE SCENARIO" CHECK
In relation to the thing that is stressing you,what is the worst that will happen if ............? In almost every case the effect of your stressing is worse than the consequence.
Exercise regularly. Take a walk, go for a swim etc.. Work off tension, care for yourself.
Notice your breathing patterns and practice uninterrupted breathing. Breathe from your diaphragm.
Shake your body and release your tensed muscles. "Bounce" (bending the knees) to ground yourself.
GET RID OF ANGER AND PENT UP EMOTIONS
Find ways (preferably non violent) to clear your baggage. You may need to be direct, assertive and forthright (tactfully). Writing down your feelings helps you to objectify and clear them. Visit a counsellor or hypnotherapist.
PAUSE, TAKE A BREAK, TAKE A HOLIDAY
Slow down, pause for a few seconds before you respond or involve yourself in an activity. Take regular breaks and time out and relax and refresh.
EAT GOOD HEALTHY FOODS AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Avoid sugars and fats. Avoid junk foods that are high in simple sugar as this stimulates the release of epinephrine and intensifies the stress reaction. Cut down on caffeine.
More tips for managing your stress see: "Relax - the eyes have it ' page.