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April is Stress Awareness Month

April is StressStress is a normal part of daily life.  We all experience stress in a number of areas in our life and the right amount can lead us to increased productivity.  However, when there is an imbalance, and we are too stressed, then it is likely that our sleep will suffer.  The approaching tax filing deadline date of April 15th adds additional stress this month!

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to manage stress and maintain a healthy life and sleep cycle.  They include:

Get organized:

Get in the habit of not only writing down to-do lists but also scheduling when you will accomplish your tasks.  There are many different products, electronic and manual, that exist solely to help you stay organized.  Find what works best for you, and what you use most, and stick to your schedule.  Organization goes beyond just your to do list.  Your home can be a great stress inducer if it is too cluttered and disorganized.  Identify where you are lacking organization in your daily life and then take a few moments to problem solve the issue.

Set personal and emotional boundaries:

Stress comes from the narrative that we tell ourselves about what is happening around us.  Be watchful of what your mind is saying and try, as best as you can, to not let stressful thoughts enter your mind.  Try meditation techniques so you can watch your thoughts and visually create ways to let them go or dissipate.  Additionally, there are always tasks that we do ourselves that other people can help us with.  Make a list of those people including people you can hire for assistance.  Above all, it is important to get in the habit of asking.  Remember you are only one person and you have loved ones around you that would be willing to help, so ask!

Set priorities:

Sometimes looking at your daily to do list is very overwhelming.  Instead of writing everything down randomly in one list, make sure to number them and set priorities.  At all times, it’s important to be realistic about what is feasible to tackle in the amount of time that you have.  The most important thing that frequently doesn’t make it on your to do list, is yourself.  So, identify those things that give you a break from your stressors, whether it be a short walk, stretching, meditating or even some light yoga and be sure to schedule time to engage in them every day

Laughter:

We have all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.”  Medical research conducted over the past 25 years, now validates that saying.

While some researchers do not think “definite research” has been done on the health benefits of laughter, they do agree on its social benefits. It is part of a larger picture of being close with family and friends. Being happy can make us feel better and improve the quality of our lives.

Laughter is also fun, free and easy to use!

Spirituality:

Tom O’Donohue in his book Anam Cara says, “We need to practice a new art of attention to the inner rhythm of our days and lives. This attention brings a new awareness of our own human and divine presence.” This awareness helps us attune to our personal connections, our values, and gives context to the meaning of our lives.  This helps with stress reduction by helping us focus on what is truly important and meaningful. A true sense of purpose keeps things in perspective. A true sense of purpose also helps us feel connected to others, providing a great source of comfort especially during challenging times.

 

 

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