Understanding and Managing Stress
Eight Proven Strategies for a Happier Life
Three reasons we live with stress:
- Habit — “I don’t feel stressed.”
- Heroism — “I have way more stress than you.”
- Happiness — Eustress is “good” stress
Find exercise and movement that you enjoy, be it competitive, rhythmic, resistance or integrative.
2. EATING SMART
Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods.
Attend to cravings as signals:
- Sugar craving? Are you bored? Mentally fatigued?
- Thirsty? Choose water.
Laughter shuts off the flow of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight compounds that swing into action in our bodies when we experience stress, anger or hostility.
Take a breath and trust your heart’s wisdom. Recognize the imbalance between what was being asked of you and what you could deliver. Be comfortable with your choices.
Sleep deprivation leads to stress.
Sleep debt leads to:
- Poor performance
- Increased risk of accidents
- Minor medical illnesses like colds and flu
- Psychiatric illness like depression and anxiety
Best Sleep Hygiene Practices:
- Make a ritual for letting the day go
- Unplug and unwind
- Set a schedule, limit naps
- Limit your intake of sugar, alcohol and stimulants
6. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
- Get a massage
- Take a break
Reframe a situation or event that is causing stress:
- Play worst case scenario
- Practice gratitude meditation
- Ask, “Will this matter in a year?”
Get outside for:
- An instant endorphin surge
- A drop in blood pressure
- A boost in brain health
- Regulation of hunger hormones
ICAA conference 2014
Connie Schrader, MA; BCIA
Kathie Garbe, Ph.D