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Lori Hanson: Mind your own business to reduce stress

Learn 2 Balance

Posted: June 17, 2010 6:13 p.m.
Updated: June 18, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

What are you stressed out about today?

Is it the same thing that stressed you out yesterday or something different? Are you in the habit (or trap) of being stressed out by some issue daily? Does your life equate to drama?

Maybe you're addicted to stress. Your brain just might be hooked on that flood of adrenaline it gets whenever you go into a panic, start worrying or become anxious.

We can get addicted to just about anything. Look at what's happened with cell phones. Every time I travel, I'm astounded at the number of people who are incapable of just sitting for a few moments without texting, calling or doing something on their phones.

We are now in an age that provides 24-7 entertainment, information and disruption. I was in the Atlanta airport last month, and they had television in the baggage claim area. Do we really need to be entertained constantly?

Unfortunately, all of this "do, do, do" and "go, go, go" lifestyle has significantly increased the stress level in our daily lives and society in general.

I don't need to tell you - you know - but do you ever think about it? Do you ever consider going "unplugged?"

What will happen if you aren't tuned in electronically 24-7?

Life will go on, just as it always has. Really, what do you gain by always being accessible - is it an ego thing?

Another avenue for stress is the pressure we receive from people we interact with in our lives.

If you're a young student, you may be pressured from your parents and teachers to perform. You may also feel pressure from your parents as to which sports and activities to participate in.

If you're a parent, you may feel pressure by your significant other, your boss or friends. How often do you put pressure on someone else to get what you want? You may even do a little begging, pleading, flirting, and manipulation to coerce someone into meeting your desires or demands.

The way we process situations in life is important. Do you view problems as a challenge to be solved, or opportunities you can use to grow? Fortunately, we always have a choice about everything. Yes, I said everything. Even when you don't feel you have a choice about something, you have a choice in how you respond.

Here are three quick tips you can use to reduce stress in your daily life:

1. Unplug and take a "timeout" every day
Realize your body and brain need a rest from constant electronic input and stimulation. Turn off your cell phone, computer, TV and radio.

Go to the park (or sit outside) and eat your meal. Take a walk with the dogs or play with your kids. Have dinner with the family (no cell phones allowed) and have a conversation over dinner.

Schedule time to do something special you've wanted to do and just haven't found the time for. Do five minutes of deep breathing before you sleep to unwind and relax your brain. The cool thing is, as you begin to take time out to do this - you'll find you have more time (and patience) in your day to get everything done.

2. Prioritize your tasks the night before
Take a few minutes before you go to bed to think about what has to be done the next day.

Write down all of the tasks on a white board or piece of paper.

Then prioritize the list by what absolutely has to be done tomorrow and what can wait until another day.

This will help in two ways - first, you'll eliminate stress by shortening the "to do" list to what is essential; and second, your mind will begin taking care of tomorrow's tasks while you sleep. The next day you will get through your list quickly and accomplish more in less time.

3. Mind your own business
Don't worry about everyone else's problems and don't add stress to your life by trying to "fix" everyone and everything.

Realize we are all extras in everyone else's play. And consider the thought that what other people think of you is none of your business - what matters most is what you think of yourself.

Lastly, find three things every day that you do for someone else to make them feel good.

Give a genuine compliment, go out of your way to do something for someone else and embrace the attitude of "How can I help:" instead of always thinking about "What's in it for me?"

Lori Hanson a leading authority on eating disorders, a nationally known speaker, award-winning author of the Balance Books Series ("It Started with Pop-Tarts" and "Teen Secrets to Surviving & THRIVING") and eating disorder coach. Visit www.Learn2Balance.com for more information.

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