Posts tagged: family problems

Dealing with Stress

By | November 3, 2012

Stress? My! Talk about stress! My friend, nearly out of her mind, contacted me yesterday. Three generations of her family were dumping their problems on her and demanding she fix them. Yet they were unwilling to take either personal responsibility or her suggestions.

After we discussed the family, which she can’t fix, I talked with her about dealing with something she can do something about: her own mental, emotional and physical self. It is amazing how these three vital elements intertwine–and sometime become horribly tangled and knotted.

I gave her a procedure that should immediately start untangling the knots and provide some relief. I won’t deal here with the spiritual factors: relationship with God, prayer, meditation, etc. but there are several…

Key facts to consider:

1. Your body reacts to your emotions. 2. Your emotions respond to what your mind visualizes. 3. What you tell yourself about your situation determines the mental  pictures you see. 4. What you say to yourself  when you’re under negative pressure tends to create what I call “Movies of ‘The awfuls'” that you play in your head. And you react, mentally, emotionally and physically to those awful scenes!

What can you do to control the movies, even change the scenes?

What factor easiest to affect?  The physical! You can immediately begin to trigger mental and emotional relief by doing something about your physical state. That can begin the process that will turn off the movies or at least tone them down and minimize their destructive effects.

If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there doing replay after replay of “The Awfuls”! Get up and do some mild exercise. Walk. Stretch, jog in place. Bend. Squat. Anything to get your body to signal your brain that you’re not giving up, but are moving forward.

Here are some steps to induce physical and mental release of stress: Sit upright in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands in your lap, palms up. Clinch your hands into a tight fist. Hold for a slow 3-count. Unclinch them. Take two slow breaths. Do this five times, then relax the hands and shoulders. Notice the warm glow in your hands. Stretch your arms straight in front of you palms facing away from you. splay your fingers as widely as you can as if signaling, “Ten to go!” Now, keeping the fingers splayed but relaxed, your palms facing away from you, shake/wiggle your hands vigorously from the wrists for a twelve-count. Now place your hands back in your lap, palms up. Relax hands, arms and shoulders.

Close your eyes. Breath in slowly and deeply through your nose–breath out slowly through your mouth. Repeat. As you continue to breathe slowly, imagine the most peaceful and pleasant scene you can think of. Imagine yourself there. Enjoy it. Feel the warm sun and gentle breeze. Hear soft sounds of nature. Feel you face relaxing and becoming soft. Feel the tension in you neck and shoulders letting go. Beginning with your scalp, imagine any tension is melting like butter and flowing gently down the back of your neck, across your shoulders, down your arms, into your hands and evaporating into the air through your palms. Enjoy the relaxed feeling as you continue to breath deeply and slowly. Enjoy this for as long as you wish.

Now sit up straight,  lift your shoulders gently up toward you ears. Roll them forward a few times. Now, roll them backward a few times. Notice how loose they feel as you continue to slowly breath. Let your face feel a gentle smile. Enjoy the relaxed feeling for as long as you like. When you’re ready, sit up, stretch, lift you hands up, stretch upward as you “reach for the sky,” let your arms down, stand up, twist and bend a bit, shake out an tension that’s left and notice how much better you feel. Now go on about your activities with a much greater sense of peace and calm.

If you will follow this little routine when you’re feeling stressed and uptight, I know it will make a difference.

Would you like me to make a recording to guide through the routine?  Send me an email suggesting it: If there is sufficient interest, I may do so.

Disclaimer: I’m not an M.D., psychiatrist, or medical practitioner of any type. I’m just a happy old-timer who has had a world of experience in dealing with life and in helping others through life’s mazes. My suggestions are just that: suggestions. You are responsible for your own behavior and how you react to the suggestions. Take into consideration your physical condition. You should reject any idea that is inappropriate because of your condition. You should consult with your physician or other health professional about any change in exercise or physical activity. Nothing I write has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration, The American Dental Association, the Environmental Protection Administration, The Girl Scouts of America, Hillary Clinton, or Sarah Palin. But I think you’ll find some helpful ideas. Surely hope so!

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