Posts Tagged ‘Stress relief’

by twm1340

Fun with Food.  Okay, so I was like totally tired, overworked and mentally exhausted at lunch today.  So what did I do?  First I closed my eyes and willed myself to relax and take a few deep breaths.  Then I started eating.  It was kind of boring; a roast beef sandwhich and some grapes.  I had a lot of grapes.  So of course, I started playing with them. 


Grape Toss.  First I tried to toss a few and catch them in my mouth.  Man is that hard to do!  I kept missing.  They were bouncing off my cheek and going down my shirt.  It was hilarious.  Then I noticed that I could see my reflection in the candy machine.  I used my reflection to judge distance, but still couldn’t get it right.  Then I practiced moving the in one smooth motion from the container into my mouth.  After a few practice runs, I did it halfway and tossed it the rest of the way.  Success!  I stopped on that high note.  (Well, it was that or have the people passing by in the hallway notice what I was up to.)


So next I put a bunch of grapes on my paper towel to see how many letters of the alphabet I could shape them into.  That was fun, but not giggle-worthy like the grape toss.  I squished one in my hand just to see what would happen.  (It just dripped some juice and got a little messy – no squirting across the room or anything.)  Finally I hit upon a great idea.  Grape dodgeball!  Sure – line up 2 sides of players.  Use a slighter bigger grape to be the ball.  Using a man from Team 1, hit it toward a player on Team 2.  If it hits them, that player is eaten!  Keep going until all team members have been taken out.  I accidentally ate the ball and not the player on the first game.  But on game 2, Team 2 was Victorious.  (Which is a good thing, because I think Team 1 won game 1, but I ran out of time to play the tie-breaker game).


I think that was one of the most fun lunch times I’ve had in quite a while.  I wonder what suprises tomorrow’s lunch might hold?


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by Bill Gracey

Today is Global Belly Laugh Day. At 1:24 p.m. on January 24th (1/24) you can stop and have a good deep belly laugh.  Laughing is good for you.  It lightens even the most solemn moods and can even help lower your blood pressure.

With today’s pressures, many of us find it hard to have the lighthearted spirit needed for a really deep belly laugh.  You know, the kind that has you gasping for air and clutching your stomach as you loud ha-ha-ha’s fill the room – or even the entire house.

Make the decision to find time for laughter.  That’s why silly holidays like these can be so important.  Today I was not feeling like laughing, especially at work.  But I saw this holiday listed on my calendar and checked out the web site. As I scrolled down and saw the video for “Can’t stop laughing” I stopped and watched it.

When the best man lost his pants at the wedding, I couldn’t help but giggle.  When the groom continued snickering, I began to laugh a little more, but when the groom, his bride and the crowd all started chuckling, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Of course I shared the video with my coworkers and we all started laughing.  One giggle led to another, and then another, and soon we were all having a great time.  This is the magic of laughter.

If you make time to visit funny web sites, read humorous emails, watch sitcoms, or any other activity that strikes your funny bone, you’ll feel better. It will invigorate your mind and body.  Suddenly you don’t feel quite so tired anymore.

One of my favorite activities is watching children.  It can be in the grocery store, at home, or even on TV.  Ever see a child in a shopping cart making faces at people as their mother shops? Or a 5 year old making clucking sounds to the delight of his baby sister?  Children are full of the enthusiasm that laughter brings.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Read the funnies – newspapers comics are still a great source of laughter
  • Play with a puppy
  • Read a great bit of Giggle Poetry
  • Smile at everyone you see
  • People watch at your local mall – guaranteed to find you something funny
  • Visit You Tube
  • Have a Tickle Fight
  • Have a Laughter Yoga session and “fake it until you make it”

Have a great Global Belly Laugh day, and discover the magic of laughter for yourself.

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AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by WTL photos

In the middle of a savage zombie invasion, your heart beat increases, adrenaline flows through your body, and your muscles stiffen in anticipation of a possible impact to the body.

Luckily for most of us we won’t face the zombie apocalypse anytime soon.  But sometimes we can experience this same stress response in our daily lives.  One big problem, or a barrage of smaller ones, add up and overload both mind and body.  While we can recover from a day or two of such stress, week after week of “fight or flight” can leave us feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.

Why does this happen?  I know I’m not the only one waiting on hold forever, in endless line, or getting their paperwork wet in the rain that curses the fact that they got out of bed this morning.  On days like this, I don’t laugh off my over-reaction to muddy dog prints on the floor, I yell at the dog and angrily wipe them up while silently contemplating if anyone I know would like a new pet.

Recognizing this build-up before it gets to the blow-out point can be a lifesaver.  A good way to do this is to teach yourself to take a break each time you notice the worry, frustration, and anxiety are building up.  When you feel too busy to stop, that’s a good sign you need to slow down.

Like any other skill, it takes practice. There are several strategies you can use to do this.  One is to set times during the day to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. If for example, you notice at your 10:00 break that you are feeling worried, overwhelmed or upset, you can take a few minutes to do some deep breathing, put on some fun music or take a walk to change your focus. If you’re feeling fine, you can simply continue with your day.

You can also teach yourself to stop for a few minutes whenever you feel stressed. This is harder to do, as you have to consciously realize that you are feeling stressed.  Once you recognize the signals – shallow breathing, stiff shoulders or back, headache, tired eyes, etc, you can take a few moments to recover. Close your eyes and simply sit still for a few minutes.  If your mind is racing too much, count backwards from 50 to 1 or 100 to 1 until you are breathing deeper and feeling calmer.

Amazingly even 1-2 minutes of deep breathing can improve your mood. You’ll find longer lasting relief by taking a 10-15 minute break, but any break at all will help you refocus your attention, breaking the cycle of worry, complaining and anger you feel.

Because it’s hard to think of ideas to break your negative thinking while it’s happening, here are few ideas:

  • Relax. Close your eyes.  This rests your eyes and your mind.  In the fluorescent jungle the lights can dry our eyes and cause eyestrain bringing on a headache.  Taking a few minutes to rest can stop a headache before it starts.
  • Refocus. Keep some pictures, quotes or other inspiration material around.  Take a few minutes away from what you’re doing.  Let yourself just “be” for a moment.  Even 5 minutes of refocusing time can make a huge difference.
  • Change perspective. Play some music.  Classics can be soothing and calming, while rock, pop or disco are upbeat and energetic.  Chair dancing to some fun tunes can liven up almost any task.
  • Wake up. Get some air.  It’s surprising what a little fresh air can do for you.  You’ll breathe deeper, blink a little in the bright light, get your blood flowing by walking around and go back to work feel much more refreshed.
  • Fun. Do something fun for a few minutes.  Talk to a coworker, share a joke, read the comics or watch a cartoon on your MP3.  Doing something you enjoy can lighten your mood and when you return your hurdles won’t seem insurmountable anymore.
  • Get some support. Talk to a friend.  Give them a call or send an email.  Hearing a friendly voice or venting a little can take the stress down a level.  Knowing someone cares helps you feel loved and reminds you of your strengths.

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As you may already know, April is National Humor Month. I haven’t been feeling quite so happy myself, so I conducted a little research online.  There are loads of fun, playful, humorous people out there if you know where to look.

One of the first things I found was the National Humor Month web site of Steve Wilson. Steve Wilson is a great inspiration for humor.  He is the found of the World Laugher Tour.  The Laughter Tour’s mission is to bring health, happiness and peace through laughter. His Certified Laughter Leader Training is a program for professionals of all walks of life.  Counselors, therapists, corporation CEO’s, anyone would wants to use the positive benefits of laughter in their life. 

Another great hero of the ha-ha is Dr. Madan Kataria or Dr. K.  He is the founder of the sensational Laughter Yoga. Based in India, this giggling guru teaches us all to let our laughter fly. His laughter clubs have spread throughout the world and have been featured on several TV shows and magazines.  Laughter clubs are free for anyone to join, and if you have a lack of laughter in your life, joining with other funny folks can help you reconnect to the joy and passion of laughing for no reason at all.

Yet another fantastic place is Giggle Poetry.com.  This silly site will have you chuckling in no time. Full of poems from great writers like Bruce Lansky, Kenn Nesbitt, and others, these witty rhyming romps will have you laughing and singing along.  Try the Battle Hymn of the Repulsive by Michael Bowman (sung to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.)  Or try Parent-Teacher Conference by Darren Sardelli.  It will remind you of the ups and downs of school life.  (And maybe make your own job seem just a bit better.)

Check out this article for more ideas to celebrate National Humor Month.  The time is upon you to find your fun.  Get out there and laugh your butt off!

Picture by American Toycoon

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Monkey stress

Photo by scragz

We all need it.  Even when things are going well, we are often busy with one task after another, going from work to taking care of the kids and keeping the house in order.  Some stress is good, but often when we are working hard and things are great, we think we can handle even more and thus we tip the balance of work and play.

Stress relief is important because left unchecked, stress produces harmful changes that can lead to health problems and depression.  If we want to be happy it’s important to take care of both mind and body.

To reduce stress we need to have a method or set of steps to follow to feel better when we’re tired, overworked, feeling ill or sad. We need a way to give our body and mind a rest, a chance to recover from the symptoms like pain, headache, poor sleep or unhealthy eating.  To relax and rejuvenate so we’re ready to tackle a new day.

There is a huge variety of stress busting techniques available. They range from the ordinary to the unusual.  Since we’re all different, using an assortment of ideas and methods to match our individual styles is highly beneficial.

Some of my favorite stress relievers are meditation, music, dance, exercise, reading, chocolate, TV and laughter.  Other people enjoy gardening, painting, basketball, bubble baths, a glass of wine, playing with the kids and playing video games.

There is not right or wrong way to take a break.  If you can’t remember what it is you enjoy doing, now is the time to make a list. Get a sheet of paper and list 10 other things you ‘d rather be doing right now; fishing, taking a nap, watching a movie, bird-watching, yoga, laughing with friends, visit a museum, play the guitar, get a manicure or go to beach.

A great way to add to your list is to include things you like to do on vacation. See if there are ways to do the same things at home.  If you golf, maybe you can mini-golf with the kids; if you love the ocean you could join a gym with a great pool.  The wonderful thing is we can continue to add new ideas to our relaxation list until we have so many ideas we couldn’t possibly do them all.  Maybe you could start a monthly spa day with the girls!

Here’s a list of a few more relaxing/fun ideas:

  • Go cloud watching.
  • Ride a bike at the park.
  • Rock in the backyard hammock.
  • Ride an ATV.
  • Light some scented candles.
  • Jazz it up with some upbeat contemporary jazz music.
  • Play squirt gun tag.
  • Dance like a ballerina.
  • Cook an elaborate dinner.
  • Watch lightning bugs flash in the dark.
  • Close your eyes and pretend you’re a tree.
  • Throw a barbeque party!
  • Do some wood working.
  • Treat yourself to some fresh-cut flowers.
  • Write a letter of love to your mom.
  • Build a tree fort retreat.
  • Trade massage treatments with your spouse.
  • Listen to classical music as you clean.

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paperworkPaperwork by anomalous4

Stress in small doses can be invigorating and challenging, pushing us to do our best. But how many people do you know lately that have only a small dose of stress?  Not many I’ll bet.

So how do you find ways to combat the effects of stress?  Those tense, tight shoulders, stiff neck, and jaw-clenching reactions to being worried, angry or just generally overwhelmed.

Here are a few quick tips to help you feel better right now. Do them one at a time, or put a few together, just be sure to try them all so you know what works best for you.

  1. Breathe. Take a few deep relaxing breaths, inhaling deeply, expanding your belly outward like a balloon, and deflating again as you push the air out through your mouth.  Do this 5 – 10 times for an instant lift.
  2. Stretch. Have a sore back or achy muscles?  Try a quick stretch break.  Stand up and reach high above your head.  Bend down and slowly touch your toes letting your spine realign into a more natural position.  Here are some simple stretches you can do right at your desk.
  3. Use aromatherapy. It doesn’t have to be elaborate.  Keep a pine-scented car air freshener hanging near your desk.  Put in a Glade scented oil plug-in if there’s an outlet nearby.  Lemon and citrus scents energize tired minds and especially useful at work.  Or use scented lotion and gently massage tired muscles.
  4. Quiet time. This is an easy one to overlook.  Taking as few as 5- 10 minutes alone in a silent, peaceful location can revive an overworked mind.  Take a few minutes of calm to retreat from the pressure and come back more focused and relaxed.
  5. Prioritize. When we need fast relief, nothing is quicker and easier than a good to-do list.  Often tasks get added to our day and we feel overwhelmed and frustrated.  When things are piling up, take a step back and list what you have to do.  Organization will make your day easier and you’ll get more done.
  6. Happy List. Take a few minutes and list things that make you happy – even if they’re not happening right now.  Reliving joyful memories – thoughts of kids, your spouse, a favorite fishing hole or even hitting a great sale can give you a positive boost.  See an example here.
  7. Get outside. If you can manage it, go outside for a few minutes.  Listen to the birds, smell the flowers, watch the clouds roll by.  Nature’s slower pace is soothing and the change of scenery helps take your mind off your worries.
  8. Funny pages. Most everyone has a newspaper handy and can read their favorite comic strip.  You can also find the on the Internet at Go comics.com. Keep a list of jokes in your desk drawer or a use a 365 day calendar.
  9. Music. Music calms the savage beast.  Remember that old Bugs Bunny cartoon with Bugs soothing Taz with music and song?  It works on the rest of us just as well.  Whether calm and restful smooth jazz or loud and fast rock n’ roll, music affects our mood.  So put on your favorite CD and enjoy!

The best stress relief tip is simply to begin. Relaxation can be as simple as taking a hot bubble bath or as complex as planning a week-long spa retreat.  Make a list of the ideas that sound good or work best for you and start rejuvenating your mind and body today.

Here are a few other web sites to help you get started:

Stress Relief Tools

Tranquility is Yours.com

Relaxation Techniques and Tension Tamers

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