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Friday, April 20, 2012

Stress: 5 ways to rid your life of it - By DeAnn Sicard

The following article was first used in the Feb issue of MRW Impressions, newsletter for the Midwest Romance Writers. It may be reprinted by sister RWA chapters with proper credit to chapter and author. Bloggers are welcome to link to it but not republish.
We live under a perpetual cloud of stress each and every day, whether it's from the holiday seasons, financial, family, health, work and so on and so on.  I'm sure you get the picture.
If we're not careful, all this stress can lead to health and emotional issues.  Stress may be a part of our lives on a daily basis but that doesn't mean it has to rule our lives.  We can combat stress in simple and even fulfilling ways.  Our biggest challenge (another type of stress) is to find the technique that will work in our lives.
Here are five strategies to help you reduce the stress in your life.  Pick one or all to help you relax and find more peace in your life.
1-      Filter the negative aspects of your life.  Try limiting your media intake.  Since the news focuses on all the bad (with tiny doses of uplifting stories mixed in) you are adding to the burden of worry you already carry around.  Don't let toxic relationships tarnish your outlook on life.  If possible limit those relationships or learn how to block the harmful aspects of them.
2-      Try changing your diet.  Don't stress yourself out by trying to change all of your eating habits at once.  Instead, try making small changes in the beginning.  Find foods and drinks that are beneficial for your health.  Find foods that increase your metabolism.  Cut back on the foods that offer quick fixes, such as caffeine and sugars.  Increase fruits (oranges and blueberries are great stress-busters) as well as vegetables.  Foods high in vitamin B have a soothing effect on you system.  Allow yourself to become comfortable with the changes as you either eliminate or add to your diet. 
3-      Meditation and exercise go hand and hand.  Again don't overdo it.  You know your limitations and you know what you can achieve.  Don't stress yourself into thinking that if you can't get up an hour early every morning and run around the block you aren't accomplishing anything.  Do things slowly, find your pace, one that works for you.  You can find just about anything on the internet.  Do a search, read up on relaxation exercises.  Tai Chi and Qi gong both offer natural stress relief exercises.
4-       Write, write, write.  If your stress comes from NOT writing, STOP.  Give yourself permission to step away from the writing you feel you are supposed to be doing and write about something totally different.  It doesn't matter if you are writing a 'to do' list, menu for the coming week or jotting down something as simple as "Today I accomplished…"  Do prompts, small bits of writing that have nothing to do with your work in progress.  This is your key to keeping the momentum going.  When you are ready you'll know that you've been putting pencil to paper (fingers to keyboard), so all isn't lost. 
5-      Build your network.  This is one of the most important keys to stress reduction.  Friends can and will always be a source of insight into what you need.  Whether they know it or not, they offer you something you would not have sitting all alone. They provide a sense of connection.  Through them, you'll find laughter, tears, inspiration and so much more.  If you're feeling cut off and want to find a way to connect, join online groups, find classes or organizations in your area that are of interest.  Be willing to smile, encourage and offer a sympathetic shoulder when needed.  By helping others you help yourself.
Stress can and will inhibit your creativity if you let it.  It's all up to you.  With a positive attitude and a willingness to try something new you'll manage the stress in your life and come out a winner.
DeAnn Sicard is a former Golden Heart nominee. She writes contemporary romance and short stories.

1 comment:

  1. DeAnn, what a great post. Thanks for all the wonderful advice.