Good-for-You Stress Busters

Monday, November 26, 2012

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Everyone feels stress from time to time. For many women, finding new ways to cope with stress without cigarettes is an important part of quitting smoking. You can’t totally avoid stress, but you can learn healthy ways to deal with it. Here are a few you might want to try:

Step away
Take a few minutes away from it all. Trying taking a five-minute walk or pick up a magazine to skim through the pages or read an article. A mini-break can help you feel more relaxed.

Breathe deeply
Take a few slow, deep breaths. Try to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Long, slow breaths out can lower your heart rate and help your body relax.

Think about a relaxing place
Close your eyes. Imagine you are in a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. It can be a real place or one you make up. Picture the place as clearly as you can. Imagine what you would feel, hear, and maybe even smell if you were in that relaxing place. Let yourself enjoy being there for a few minutes.

Move it
Regular exercise not only can help you reduce stress but also can improve your overall health. When your body is active, it sends out natural chemicals that help your mood and tackle your stress. Even a short walk every day can help put you on the path to feeling less stressed.

Spot check
Your body can hold on to stress and tension. Pay attention to the places on your body that are tight and tense. A few minutes of stretching or gentle rubbing can release a lot of tension from your shoulders, neck, head, and other areas that often get tight. Soaking in a warm bath is another feel-good way to loosen up.

Know your stressors
Stop and think about the specific things in your life that are giving you stress. If you can identify what those things are, you will be better able to deal with them and maybe come up with some new ways to address the stress – whether it’s changing something about the situation that’s stressing you out or changing how you view the situation.

Talk it up
Connecting with other people can help reduce stress. Share your feelings with someone and get their support.

De-caffeinate
The caffeine in coffee, tea, and soda can make you feel tense and jittery and keep you awake when you are tired. This can add to your stress. Try to cut back on caffeine and consider avoiding caffeine in the 6-8 hours before you go to sleep.

Focus on today
A lot of energy can be spent worrying about things that may go wrong in the future and how bad they might be. Instead, try focusing on what is happening in your life now. See if you can identify 1 good thing that’s happening in your life or 1 think you’re thankful for – even if you’re really stressed.

Got a stress buster that works for you? Share it with the community of women who quit. And you might pick up some new ideas from others who are on the journey to being smokefree.   

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