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Have you ever met a "naturally tense" person? That used to be me! I'd get so wound up about things that I would feel as though my heart was pounding through my chest or I'd suddenly come down with a debilitating migraine, usually over something out of my control. I'm a perfectionist by nature, but learned over time to relax, focus on what's really important in life and let go of what I cannot control.

These are my easy, self-proven strategies for busting stress, no yoga or meditation necessary:

1) Breathe. Like the song goes, "just breathe."
2) Laugh. Share a joke, read the comics, watch a funny movie.
3) Stretch. Shake out your tensions and do some gentle stretches.
4) Clear the clutter. Chase away the feeling of being overwhelmed by clearing out a drawer or cabinet.
5) Exercise. Do some gardening or take a brief walk.
6) Go mindless. Clear the clutter in your head, listen to soft, calming music or sounds.
7) Socialize. Call a friend, chat with a neighbor. Positive interaction breaks tension.
8) Create. Busy fingers refocus your mind on positive activity.
9) Quiet the noise. Light a fragrant candle, turn off the TV, savor a cup of herbal tea.
10) Hugs. Hugging someone or your pet is better than chocolate.*

*Someone just told me that there's nothing better than chocolate. OK, so let me clarify - hugs have 0 calories, and it should be dark chocolate you reach for, lol!

February 5, 2008 - 6:40am


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