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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Is Stress Making you Tense?
Practice “Calm Response”

Today has been an extremely stressful day for me – actually it was the fourth stressful day in a row. Lot’s of things going wrong that I can’t fix or control. Have you had days like that? Back in the good old morbidly obese days I would have been over the top with my food intake – but that just isn’t an option after gastric bypass.

Not long ago I came across a chapter in “Prevention’s Ultimate Guide to Women’s Health and Wellness” about dealing with stress. I wrote on a little card the behaviors suggested for self-calming in times of stress. Today I used the hints on that card and they helped me feel calmer and more able to cope. See if you’d like to try “Calm Response” on your next stressful day:

Breathe Deeply: People under stress breathe shallowly – this creates discomfort. Take a moment to drop your shoulders (very tense place for me), breathe deeply and let go of some of the tension.

Visual Vacation: Take 30-seconds and visualize yourself in a place you find calming, safe and relaxed. (I visualized a Nordstrom shoe sale!)

Get some Sunshine: Exposure to sunlight increases levels of serotonin, a natural hormone that reduces stress and imparts feelings of calm and well-being.

Be Socially Engaged: Call your best listener and share your troubles. I talked with Kim Stover, one of our lovely contributors here and she was wonderfully empathetic and understanding without fueling my stress. Thanks Kim for being your wonderful self.

Accept the Circumstances. Some types of stress you simply cannot solve. Deep breathing and mental vacations can ease stress, but not take away the circumstances. Understand that stress is, in fact, a part of being engaged in living.

Here’s wishing you the best of times and the ability to practice “Calm Response” on stressful days.



Diane; AL said...

These are wonderful suggestions. They follow the same teachings I learned years ago. For those who aren't familiar with me, I suffer from Bipolar. My psych doc was the one who suggested I have this surgery.

These ideas of dealing with stress get me through everyday. Most people don't realize just what stress is. Every life changing event causes stress. Even something you perceive as good, like birth of a baby. Or for us, the loss of all that excess weight. Stress is stress. It has the same effect on your body whether it's good or bad stress.

I especially like the visualization or mini vacation. You can wisk yourself off to far away places. So if you are stuck there in traffic going nowhere, turn off that radio and let your mind take you to some secluded island with a handsome cabana boy to do you bidding.

Kaye Bailey said...

Great feedback, Diane. And it is very good to point out that weight loss - massive weight loss - comes with a bunch of stresses we don't anticipate before surgery.