Monday, December 30, 2019

"Handling Stress"

"5 Tips For Handling Stress"
by AARP

"Are you stressed? Who isn't? At one time or another, we're bound to feel stress from work, family, finances, social situations, or illness. It might be acute, short-term stress which comes from being stuck in a traffic jam or your boss confronting you at work. Or it could be chronic, long-term stress, the kind that comes from being in an unhappy marriage or taking care of a sick family member for a long time. At times, some stress is motivating, like when it helps you win a competition or meet a deadline. But we mostly think of stress as a negative or uncomfortable feeling that we associate with sweaty palms, a racing heart, and feeling out of control. Different things can trigger stress in different people. For instance, planning a big house party or having to give a speech might delight you but totally unnerve a friend. How you respond to stressful situations depends on several things, including your:

• view of the stressful situation – How bad is this? Can you get through it?
• general outlook on life – Do you tend to be more positive or negative?
• general health and well-being – Are you well-rested or sleep-deprived? Do you have a healthy diet or live on junk food?

Do you get enough exercise or is there never enough time to fit it in? Are you healthy overall or do you have chronic health problems? Many people who never seem to get stressed have learned to cope successfully with stressful situations. Any stress that keeps occurring can lead to getting sick more often; problems concentrating, sleeping and eating; high blood pressure and heart disease; and anxiety and depression. In other words, left alone stress can be bad for both your physical and mental health. That's why you want to get control of your stress before it controls you. The time and energy you spend managing your stress will pay off in the long run by promoting health and happiness. Here are five steps to help you get started:

1. Make a list. Think of the things that cause you the most stress. Write them down, along with the level of stress they cause (off the charts versus a great deal) and how they affect you (keep you awake at night, make you feel shaky inside, etc).

2.Take control. Decide which things on your list you can do something about. Remember that you might not be able to control everything on your list. For instance, your children leaving home or traffic jams are the trying parts of life. Even though you can't control these events, you can control how you react to them. Instead of getting worked up during morning rush hour traffic, use the time in your car to listen to a book on tape or a morning radio show. Even small changes can make a difference and help you feel more in control of your life. Pick one or two of these suggestions and try them.
• Assign some of your household chores to other family members.
• Sign up for community services to help you care for a sick parent.
• Start planning early for the holidays – create a budget and stick to it.

3. Unload and learn to say "no." If there are things at home or at work that you just can't or don't want to do, let them go - cross them off your list if you can. And don't commit to new things just because you feel you have to. Say "no" to heading up that new project if you already have too many duties at work. Let someone else run the church bazaar this year. Learning to say "no" might take some practice. It might feel uncomfortable at first. But taking on too much and failing is more stressful than "passing" on a request in the first place.

4. Work on shedding the "perfection impulse." Don't expect perfection from yourself or others. For some things, doing an okay job is just fine.

5. Practice setting limits. The key to setting limits is to first set priorities. Decide what is most important for your family and you, and set time aside for those things, such as family meals, fun time, or retirement planning. For everything that falls outside your priority list, ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that would happen if I didn't do this?" If you can live with the answer, then drop it from your 'to do' list.

Learning to manage the stress in your life can help you live healthier and happier; enjoy your job, family, and friends more; and focus your energies on the things in life that really count."
- http://www.aarp.org/

"Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song 
Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent"
By Melanie Curtin

"Everyone knows they need to manage their stress. When things get difficult at work, school, or in your personal life, you can use as many tips, tricks, and techniques as you can get to calm your nerves. So here's a science-backed one: make a playlist of the 10 songs found to be the most relaxing on earth. Sound therapies have long been popular as a way of relaxing and restoring one's health. For centuries, indigenous cultures have used music to enhance well-being and improve health conditions.

Now, neuroscientists out of the UK have specified which tunes give you the most bang for your musical buck. The study was conducted on participants who attempted to solve difficult puzzles as quickly as possible while connected to sensors. The puzzles induced a certain level of stress, and participants listened to different songs while researchers measured brain activity as well as physiological states that included heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top song produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date. In fact, listening to that one song- "Weightless"- resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants' overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates. That is remarkable.

Equally remarkable is the fact the song was actually constructed to do so. The group that created "Weightless", Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener's heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

When it comes to lowering anxiety, the stakes couldn't be higher. Stress either exacerbates or increases the risk of health issues like heart disease, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, and more. More troubling still, a recent paper out of Harvard and Stanford found health issues from job stress alone cause more deaths than diabetes, Alzheimer's, or influenza.

In this age of constant bombardment, the science is clear: if you want your mind and body to last, you've got to prioritize giving them a rest. Music is an easy way to take some of the pressure off of all the pings, dings, apps, tags, texts, emails, appointments, meetings, and deadlines that can easily spike your stress level and leave you feeling drained and anxious.

Of the top track, Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson said, "'Weightless' was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous." So don't drive while listening to these, but do take advantage of them:

10. "We Can Fly," by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
9. "Canzonetta Sull'aria," by Mozart
8. "Someone Like You," by Adele
7. "Pure Shores," by All Saints
6. "Please Don't Go," by Barcelona
5. "Strawberry Swing," by Coldplay
4. "Watermark," by Enya
2. "Electra," by Airstream
1. "Weightless," by Marconi Union

I made a public playlist of all of them on Spotify that runs about 50 minutes (it's also downloadable)."

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