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19 Suggestions to Help You ReleaseStress: Choose Peace

1.       Choose people and environments that make you feel good.
2.      Let yourself have a good hearty laugh.  Enjoy a funny movie or videoclip; let yourself see the humor in some situation today.
3.      Put your Inner Critic in a time-out.  Even visualize sending him/herpacking for a little vacation.  Give your Inner Mentor a chance to work with you.
4.      Give yourself encouragement for each completed task.    Allow yourself to feel good for each thing you have crossed off the list.  Take a couple of deep breaths,and really feel good for what you have already done.  This will give you energy to do more.
5.      Take a little break from demands every hour or two.  Get some sun; eat some fresh fruit or vegetables, stretch, converse with someone in a positive way.
6.      Connect with your support people:  make sure you are checking in with friends and mentors.  Make a point of scheduling in your support groups and your therapy sessions.
7.      Get a massage.  When your body is relaxed, your mind follows.
8.      Eat well.  This means fewer things that come from boxes or cans, and more fresh fruits and vegetables—organic, if possible.
9.      Spend time in nature.  Breathe. Feel gratitude for the natural world—in the countryside, a forest preserve,or even just enjoying the birds from your window.
10.  Enjoy your relationship with your animal companions.  Studies have long shown that they calm us, lower our blood pressure, relieve depression, and prevent us from getting sick as frequently as people who do not have connections with animals.
11.  Practice standing up for yourself in a firm and polite way, when necessary.  If needed, learn how to do this with appropriate tact, and at the same time, with appropriate clarity.  This will make you feel strong and validated.
12.  Be open to possibilities you may not have considered before.  Black-and-white thinking leads to anxiety over not being able to control people and things.  Loosen your grip, and be willing to see that there are alternative ways to thinking and being.
13.  Breathe deeply, bringing oxygen to your brain.  Observe your breath moving in and out.  Totally focus on your breath, even if just for a few seconds. This will center you.
14.  Exercise:  find something that you like:  swimming, walking your dogs, zumba, yoga,sports—and do it regularly—3 times per week would be a good goal to start with.
15.  Sleep:  you need at least 8 hours.  Reduce caffeine; unplug yourself from electronics and screens at least 2 hours before you need to be asleep.  Have a bedtime ritual, such as:  toast, bath, and reading.
16.  Journal to let out your worries and anxieties.  Journal to daydream and be creative concerning your goals and plans. Journal to express gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life.
17.  Try to multi-task less.  While we think multi-tasking makes us more effective, it actually makes us less so.  It also raises our anxiety level.  Try totally focusing on only one thing at a time, and notice the difference in your ability to feel centered and peaceful.
18.  Take a break from negative news stories and disturbing movies; substitute books/CDs/movies that are inspirational, spiritual or encouraging. Observe the difference in your levels of anxiety vs. peace.
19.  Be as kind and compassionate to yourself as you are to others.  And if you need to increase your kindness and compassion to others, do that, also.  You will find it calming to judge less, and to love more.

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