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Take a Load Off Your Heart: 109 Things You Can Actually Do to Prevent, Halt or Reverse Heart Diseaseby Joseph C Piscatella
Action Steps to Manage Stress
1. VOLUNTEER. Helping others makes it harder to dwell on your own problems.
2. KEEP A JOURNAL. Try to write everyday and make sure to focus on feelings, not just facts.
3. BREATHE DEEPLY. Take a deep breath through your nose with your mouth closed. As you inhale, push out your stomach. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then expel it slowly through your mouth with you lips pursed, as if you were whistling. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes to create a state of calm.
4. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. Build a cushion into your day for the unexpected. Instead of cramming your schedule, fill it to 80%, leaving 20% for traffic jams, family illness and other surprises.
5. TRANQUILIZE WITH EXERCISE. Regular exercise burns up stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins and other chemicals linked to energy, mood and attention.
6. LAUGH. A good laugh - like a good workout - releases tension, produces a sense of well-being, and creates a different perspective on life and its challenges. Cultivate friends who smile and joke, put playfulness into your relationships, and leave work concerns at the office.
7. MEDITATE. Use this centuries-old technique to clear the mind and anchor it in the present. Assume a comfortable position in a quiet spot, close your eyes, and focus your mind on a word. Any word will do. Take a deep breath and slowly repeat the word in your mind, over and over again. After a while, the mind becomes quiet and a state of deep rest and relaxation is created.
8. PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF-TALK. Each of us is continually involved in self-talk, a running internal conversation that interprets events and actions. This conversation influences emotions. If the talk is negative with harmful put-downs, stress is heightened. But if self-talk is positive, it allows us to better manage stress.
9. DEVELOP RESILIENCY. No one can be successful in everything. But don't let failure define you. It isn't the failure that is important; it's how the failure is handled.
10. PRACTICE YOGA. Yoga's stretching, strengthening and meditative exercises encourage a focusing that results in reduced tension and stress.
Adapted from chapter 2 of TAKE A LOAD OFF YOUR HEART
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