This week I am not going to talk to you about exercising or
nutrition. No, this time I want to discuss your emotional
health. I'm talking about stress. You may not realize it but
your emotional health directly affects your physical health.
So in addition to making sure you are eating healthy and
using a fitness program, you have to maintain a healthy
emotional state. (Goodness, taking care of your inner and
outer beauty is turning out to be a lot of work, isn't it?)
When I first spoke to Debbie Milam of Creating Peace Project
www.creatingpeaceproject.org, an occupational therapist,
about stress, I fully expected her to tell me all the bad
things about stress. But to my surprise she said, "stress is
a vehicle for us to look at our lives and ask what we need
to do. It's a catalyst for change and can be used for good."
And all this time I thought that stress was just an
indication to let me know my life sucks and there is no
hope. Go figure.
At one time or another, we have all felt stress. Heck, you
might be stressed out right now. You're worried over your
financial situation —I'm right there with you—, you're
nervous about upcoming graduation, job interview, or
contemplating what you are going to do with the rest of your
life. I'm here to tell you that it's okay to stress out, but
just don't let it overtake you. If you don't deal with the
stress, it can cause physical ailments such as digestive,
urinary tract and bladder problems, rashes, heart disease
and much more. (Anyone else notice that everything causes
Unfortunately, in our society, we always have the quick fix.
If something is wrong with you, take a pill. Feeling
stressed? Take a pill. Can't get it up? Take a pill. Well,
you can take a pill for stress but you are not dealing with
what's wrong, and on top of that, you are suffering from
those horrible side effects such as insomnia, diarrhea, dry
mouth, sexual side effects, drowsiness, decreased appetite,
and that is just a sample of the list. So you keep feeling
stressed and keep popping the pills, making yourself
physically ill when all you have to do was confront what is
Nowadays, people are just filled to the brim with stress so
just one more thing will set them over the edge. Such is the
case with road rage. When the car that has been riding the
shoulder, while you have been sitting in traffic, decides to
cut you off, you lose it. Yes, it could really make you mad
because you were sitting in traffic and here this idiot
comes along and cuts the line, but just get annoyed and let
it go. Chasing the guy down or running him off the road and
getting into a physical altercation is just not necessary.
It shouldn't be that deep for you.
So, instead of loosing your cool, try to start your day off
peacefully in a matter of three ways.
1.) Milam suggests
that in order to be free from stress you must first meditate
or do a moving mediation such as yoga or tai chi to lay a
peaceful foundation. Any act that you can put your full
focus on the can be a meditation. Now, I have heard of
meditating but I never seriously considered it, mostly
because I had no idea of how one goes about doing it. But
Milam told me that to do it right, you must sit up straight
with your legs crossed. Breathe through your nose and fill
up your belly like you are blowing up a balloon. Then exhale
while concentrating on the breath. At first, it will seem
like you can't clear you mind but that is what is supposed
to happen. Meditation is the art of emptying the mind. "When
all the thoughts come to the surface, imagine them being
surrounded by a bubble and float them away," says Milam. It
may happen that every 30 seconds more things come rushing to
your mind, that's okay because it just means you have a lot
on your mind. You can't hold on to that stress, you have to
let it all come out.
2.) Find an outlet for your emotions.
One thing that I found helpful, when I used to do it, is
keeping a journal. By writing down your emotions, you are
letting go and releasing the stress. You could also try
exercising or going for a walk. "The key is to make time to
de-stress. Fill yourself with inspirational words and
beautiful music," suggests Milam.
3.) "Be proactive," says
Milam. "Organize your life so that you don't get
overwhelmed." You can keep on top of your game and limit
stress when you plan and organize each day.
Sometimes stress can be overwhelming and no matter what you
try, you can't seem to relieve it. If this is the case, you
may want to seek help from a professional counselor,
therapist, or specialist. A professional can help you with a
number of methods to decrease the symptoms of stress and
also help you eliminate the stress in your life.
But the most important thing right now is to you enjoy this
time. Sure I know it is stressful, but this is the time that
we are supposed to be making a mess, so that when we get
into our thirties we've been there, done that and learned
Q-Tip is a good choice for an acronym that’s going ‘round in motivational workshops these days: Quit Taking It Personally! I have a jar of those little white-tipped tools on my vanity, and every morning they remind me to use this quick-and-easy stress reduction technique: Q-Tip It!
Let the Holidays Be
Though the holiday season is supposed to be a time of celebration and love, it often brings with it stress and anxiety beyond what we experience during the other ten months of the year.
ChaChanna Simpson is the publisher and editor of
Twentity.com, the free ezine for twentysomethings,
featuring cheap and free events every Wednesday. Subscribe
today at www.twentity.com.