Real Stress Management:
What Does Stress Management REALLY Mean?

Stress can be managed…but can it be cured?

The term “stress” has become a badge of honor in our current world of faxes, e-mail, and back-to-back schedules. When asked how we are doing, we inevitably answer, “Oh, I’m so busy; I am so stressed-out.” To imagine answering: “Just feeling relaxed and enjoying today’s workload,” would inevitably mean being labeled a slacker, or at best, odd.

In developing a stress management program we often mean exercise, eating differently, meditating, and getting enough sleep. It may be more useful to ask why these things would have to be “managed” or even mandated by a physician. Why do we have to take a class to do these things?

The answer is likely that you do not see yourself as a priority. You have not incorporated into your to-do list that you are also an important relationship that needs attention. You are a valuable tool in your life and you need to be “recharged” if you are to effectively run that life.

Once you see yourself as valuable and irreplaceable, you will naturally and effortlessly begin to maintain and exercise your body. You will not, however, follow your best friend’s regimen or the latest infomercial’s suggestion. You will find what works for your body, your life, and your abilities. You will like what you do to make sure your body is moved regularly and fed correctly.

While fat is stored, fitness is not. Natural principles govern our bodies, like the notion that we are not built to sit behind a PC all day and in front of a TV all night. Stress isn’t something to be fixed or cured, but an indicator that you are not listening to your body, and that you are not listening to yourself.

Are You Worth the Maintenance?

What happens when we finally make up our minds that we are a valuable tool in our own lives? That we need the same type of preventive maintenance as our computers or our cars? What might our activities look like once the thought that we have individual and unique value and should be treated as something with value has settled-in for good?

Perhaps your activities will look something like this:

*When you decide to eat differently, it will not be just to lose weight and then resort back to family-sized bags of potato chips in one sitting. You will eat what you like and you will eat what makes you feel good afterward (instead of tired or nauseous). If you do not like low-fat rice cakes, find what you DO like--and what you know is quality fuel---and eat that instead.

*You will sleep because it’s fun to sleep. It feels good to wake-up rested. To see how much sleep you need, it is recommended that you note the time you go to sleep on a day when you don’t have to be up at any particular time. Once you awaken naturally, note the time and the number of hours you slept. This is the correct amount of sleep for you.(see NOTE below for more info).

*Take time to slow down and check in with yourself, silently and often. You may write or just close your eyes and breathe, but do not let your day get away from you--through others’ demands or your own unreasonable expectations--without checking-in with yourself.

This is ultimately stress management.

*NOTE: Normal sleep times vary from six to ten hours. Experts typically state eight hours as the norm because it falls in the middle of these two extremes. You may need more. How do you know if you’re sleep deprived? One clue: you don’t remember your dreams.

For a truly unique look at handling many stress-causing areas (not just those that are work-related) will benefit from visiting...

...Strictly Stress Management.

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