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Stress relief tips

In today's face-paced, hectic world, stress-related illnesses are more common than the common cold. We all face it, but how we deal with it makes the difference between being healthy and being sick.

When you are feeling besieged, whether it's a boss breathing down your back or your child screaming for dinner, the best way to deal with the stress is to step away from it. Since it's not possible to walk away from your job, or leave your child alone screaming, you must learn to step away mentally when you can't physically. The greatest way of dealing with stress is with humor. Again, if you can't verbalize, internalize. When your boss is demanding the impossible, try remembering the time when he had broccoli stuck in his teeth or his tie was caught in his zipper. This alleviates the inner-tension you are feeling as well as putting your boss in perspective he's just as fallible as the rest of us.

Many times using humor can relieve tension and stress. In the midst of a heated argument with your spouse or even your child, saying something funny and totally off the wall can transform the domestic dispute into a "family moment".

We are all overwhelmed by the chaotic times in which we live. We are always running, dropping kids at day care, car-pooling to baseball games, going to meetings, and we know all too well that this constant rush to be somewhere ten minutes ago can lead to road rage. First rule of thumb: when you're late, you're late and there's really nothing you can do about it. Beeping your horn, looking at your watch, and trying to change lanes isn't going to get you there any faster. If you have cell phone, call and explain your situation, then sit back and relax. Take a deep breath and always keep an "emergency" cassette tape in your car. Make a tape of your favorite, upbeat songs, that you can listen to and sing along with while you're stuck in traffic, or make a tape of your favorite stand-up comedian to listen to while all the other drivers around you are busy fighting. Tune them out, turn the music on and relax.

When family and work responsibilities overpower us, we are useless to everyone, especially ourselves. To deal with the huge amount of responsibilities we face on a daily basis follow the three "ize"s. Prioritize, compartmentalize and visualize.

Since we can only do some many things at one time, prioritize. If you have a report due but promised to take your child to the playground, chance are you can do both. Work on your report while your child plays in the sandbox. On the other hand, if you have an important presentation due next week, a business trip next month and a sick child today, compartmentalize. It's useless to worry about next week today. Take care of your sick child today and do not think about next week or next month. Worrying about what will happen, what could happen or what won't happen will only lead to nothing at all happening!!

When in a stressful situation totally beyond your control, visualize. Close your eyes and picture yourself lying on a beach, or strolling through a field of daisies. This visualization has an extremely calming effect; you'll feel the tension melting away be you will be prepared to face pressures head-on.

Remember also to make time for yourself. Treat yourself each day to something special - a hot bubble bath, an ice cream cone, a trashy novel. It doesn't have to be elaborate or take a lot of time, it just has to make you feel good and relaxed. Unfortunately, stress has become a necessary evil in our lives, but with the right attitude, it won't engulf us. Remember, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

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