by Dr. Oz
Change Your Thinking About the Importance of Stress
Your thoughts play a crucial role in stress management. The brain is a key activator that, at both conscious and unconscious levels, disposes us to disease or tilts us toward health. The consequence of too much stress is wear and tear on the body. That in turn can play a role in the development of such conditions as obesity, type-2 diabetes, brain atrophy, heart disease, loss of sexual function, high blood pressure, loss of muscle and bone strength, suppression of the boy’s immune system, and depression. In many ways, de-stressing is as important as diet and exercise. The goal here is to reduce stressors in your life for health and longevity.
- I suggest you approach de-stressing this way:
- Think about a computer that’s overwhelmed by too many complex tasks at once; it will crash.
- Think about you under stress: Don’t you feel as if your effectiveness has frozen up, too?
- Find ways to reboot.
Here are some different ways of thinking about our life.
- Find quietude. The human body is better able to counter or reduce the ravages of excess stress if you find the opportunity to escape the tension for a time. Exercise seems to be doubly effective in reducing stress when it is paired with such relaxation techniques as deep breathing, self-hypnosis, yoga, meditation. While training sessions, books, and other forms of guidance are available to help body, but an engagement with family, friends, and community can be life enhancing for the very old, the old, or those of us wondering at the impact of aging.Borrowing from the life facts of Kirk Douglas’s career, think of your life you master specific techniques, you may already know how to find the calm you need. Once you identify it, take regular recourse to your personal place of escapeSet limits. Establish reasonable limits for work or other commitments; you cannot do it all. At the same time, allow for opportunities to pursue your own pleasures.Reframe. Look at your life through a different window. More than a few of the pressures you feel weighing on you are self-generated; rearranging your priorities may shift the burden. At times are you, metaphorically speaking, trying to move an object you know full well to be immovable? If you can’t move the cliff face, perhaps you can find a boulder to roll? Try to step back from the noise and clutter and look at things from another angle. You can find elements to change or eliminate that are not necessary and that are not making your life better.
- Do not insist on perfection. Recognize that perfection is not always a reasonable or desirable goal either for you or those around you.
- Keep a journal. This may be news to you, but, according to several recent studies, putting your thoughts and feelings on paper is good for you. People with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis have been found to experience a lessening in symptoms when they write about their stress; another study found measurable decreases of stress hormones and fewer doctor visits among journalers. You may not be able to make your frustrations go away, but thinking them through and confiding them to a diary delivers benefits. You do not have to worry about getting a grade; there are no minimums or maximums. One common approach is putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) for fifteen minutes, say, three times a week. Get it off your chest. Today’s problems, yesterday’s complaints, long-ago torments, and tomorrow’s worries are all fair game. You may find opportunities for change, but even if you do not, understanding and accepting are in themselves healthful.
- Skip the caffeine. Less caffeine means less stimulation of your central nervous system. Keep in mind that caffeine is found in a number of products, including coffee, cola, chocolate, some teas, and many over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. There are many people who swear by herbal teas such as ginseng and chamomile, but avoid teas that are billed as energizers, such as those containing ephedra.
- Relinquish control. As a control person, you know who you are.
- Listen to music. Loud, up-tempo music may not be the way to go, but that does not mean you have to settle for elevator music. You know what sort of music gives you a sense of ease. Let it take you for a ride–to someplace other than the “I must, I can’t, I’m late, Oh, no!” world of the overstressed.
- Get enough sleep. For most people, that should mean seven to eight hours a night.
- Reduce multitasking. One of the great stress-inducers of modern times is the common compulsion to work, communicate (cell phone, text, e-mail), and manage your life all at once. You will be more efficient–and less stressed–if you segregate times and tasks.