Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Kick stress to the curb
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
Uh Oh! Stress has arrived on the scene. You know it, and because it is an unwelcome visitor, you would like it to leave immediately. Some obvious physical signs may have resulted in its arrival: headaches, fever blisters, diarrhea and blemishes. Or, you may have realized you have emotion-overload: anger, tearfulness, distractibility, depressed mood, frustration and weariness. STRESS is never invited in; it seems to just bust down the door of our serene lives. When this intruder arrives, consider:
- Detox: Whatever is unlovely, unhealthy, or emotionally/physically draining without merit needs to be eliminated. Being busy, negative thoughts and self-condemnation (“stinking thinking”) have no place in the temple we inhabit. Rather, fill your mind with healthy messages from inspirational books, movies and speakers. Also, surround yourself with winners.
- Decentralize: When your workload begins to feel overwhelming, delegate. At work and at home, enlisting help from others will not only lessen your burden but will brighten their day as they sense the community and warm feelings that come from helping a friend.
- Decline: Sometimes too many responses, such as “yes,” “sure” and “of course,” can end up being our worst enemy. It is always OK to have boundaries, to be discerning, to be choosy with your time and energy. Being able to help others, to come alongside a friend in distress, to take on a project that has worthwhile meaning to you, will be much more fulfilling and positive if you already have not suffered from overload in the areas you should have declined.
- Defend: Be willing to carry an armored shield when it comes to protecting your “first team.” Because our real treasures are at home, never fret about placing the BEST of your energy, attention, time and love into what matters most … those at home. The stress that accompanies feelings of guilt can then be escorted out the door.
- Design: Be proactive with your life to repel the unwelcome, bully visitor – stress. Design your life to have balance, boundaries, serendipity, enjoyment, fun and laughter. The best antidote to stress? Being in the driver’s seat.
Stress is an intruder, an interloper, and a bully. It’s time to kick it to the curb and resume living without the tension or sense of feeling overwhelmed. And, while we’re at it, let’s review some little things that can help to wash away stress:
- Slow down
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep
- Don’t sweat small stuff
- Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual
- Leave for work or school 10 minutes earlier than usual
- Divide and conquer … the chores
- Keep a spare house and car key in your wallet
- Eat a hearty breakfast
- Pack a cookie in your purse or backpack
- Pet a puppy
Choose to enjoy the lazy days of summer, as well as the busy and full ones, without that heinous intruder … STRESS!