Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Coping Up With Life

Nathan Cabello - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — There is a weight that people carry on their backs all the time. And many are bent under the burden. Some are aware of it, others not – but it is there, making life difficult for all.

The weight goes by the name “stress.” Most of the time, it builds up without the person noticing it. Until it becomes too heavy to ignore. At that point, it already presses the person down, undermining his very wellbeing.

The effects of stressful living on people can be so bad; these can bring on both psychological and physical ailments. Millions of people suffer from all sorts of symptoms and ailments emanating from stress. The most common ill effects are headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and lowered immunity.

Chronic stress suppresses the body’s ability to regulate the inflammatory response, which can promote and advance disease, according to the website www.onemedical.com. The website points out that with their demanding, hectic schedules, people may not always be able to control what happens in their daily lives. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively manage stress, which the www.onemedical.com website shares:

Take a breather. Have you ever noticed yourself responding to a frustrating situation with a deep sigh? A deep breath from your abdomen can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in a sense of relaxation.

In stressful situations, take a minute, or a few minutes if you can, to breathe mindfully. Deep, mindful breathing can be a simple but very effective tool to help calm your mind and refresh your perspective. Practice mindful breathing on your commute, at your desk, or while waiting in a long line. Focus all your attention on your breath while you take slow, deep inhalations and exhalations. Consider this exercise in stress management your natural “reset” button.

Go outside. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air. Gain a new point of view. The point is to stimulate your senses and shift your awareness to something other than the stressor. A little break from your current environment and some fresh air and sunlight might be just what you need to refresh your mind.

Help others. Volunteering has been proven to relieve stress. It can be an uplifting way to change how you feel about your life, and at the same time positively impact someone else’s life in a profound way. In fact, “people can experience a ‘volunteer’s high,’” says One Medical Group’s Kristen Scarlett. “This is also seen with random acts of kindness. Volunteering helps people find a purpose and builds self-esteem too!”

Burn off some steam. Exercise! Running, yoga, lifting weights, and playing sports are all great ways to get your mind off of the things that you find stressful, and do something healthy for your mind and body. Exercise decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, which are often referred to as the body’s “feel-good chemicals.” Physical activity releases endorphins and can help boost your mood and energy.

Write it down. Make a list of every frustration, no matter how small, that’s weighing on your mind. Type it up, draft an email, or write it down on paper. The idea is to interrupt the negative and repetitive thought cycle that you’ve been on. Be honest.

After you’ve looked over the list, take a few deep breaths and get rid of it. Delete it or throw it away. And let go of all of the negative feelings that are associated with it.

Think positive. Employ the power of positive thinking. Rather than incessantly worrying about the same things over and over, break the cycle and train your brain to think in a way that is positive and uplifting. One way to do this is to visualize the results that you want, rather than thinking about the results that you’re afraid of. Imagine everything working out. Sometimes, just the very thought of things unfolding in your favor can be truly inspiring.

A similar approach is to practice positive affirmations. Kristen Scarlett shares a few examples of positive affirmations to practice with: “I can let go.” “I embrace this challenge.” “I can overcome this obstacle.” “I can handle whatever comes my way.” “I can find balance.” These affirmations may be said aloud if the situation permits, or silently if you must – and repeated several times.

Indeed, everyone is gifted with the power to be well. It’s only a matter of awakening and putting that power within to good use. Consistent, positive practices are effective ways of coping up with life.

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