Managing stress in these tough times can be a challenge. Turning off the TV will help you avoid being bombarded with upsetting news, but invariably you’ll get wind of something that troubles you – from economic reports to relationship challenges.
Three stress experts offer the following tips on how to cope.
1. Detox your diet. Eliminate what does not nourish you, suggests Wendy Hurwitz, MD, a mind/body and energy medicine expert in New York City who provides personal consultation lectures and workshops across the country. Sometimes what we turn to in times of stress, such as alcohol, tobacco or sweets, actually impairs our ability to cope.
2. Conserve your resources. This applies not only to money, but also to time and energy. Focus on what you have and what you can do with it, Hurwitz says.
3. Live in the moment. You’ll want to avoid the Chicken Little syndrome, mistakenly believing that the sky is falling, says Loretta LaRoche, a stress-management author, speaker and adjunct professor at the Mind/Body Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who specializes in the use of humor. Chances are, you’re not headed for ruin, so focus on what’s real – and positive – right now.
4. Be more fun. Don’t wait for enjoyment to come to you, LaRoche says. Make a conscious choice to bring laughter and camaraderie into your life. Invite a few friends over, no matter how messy you think your house is, or have dinner out with friends, no matter how much you feel like staying home and sulking.
5. Breathe deeply. Concentrate on making each breath slow and measured, suggests Nisha Manek, MD, a rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Most people who are stressed have erratic breathing, and deep breathing causes you to feel more relaxed.
6. Go with the feeling. Pay close attention to the unpleasant sensation in your gut – sometimes described as “butterflies” or “a sinking feeling.” As you focus on the discomfort, remind yourself that the situation is temporary, and you may find that the feeling goes away.