Contact Physical Activity Services
If you have questions about physical activity or exercise, call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C. Our qualified exercise professionals are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm Pacific Time. You can also leave a message after hours.
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HealthLinkBCâs qualified exercise professionals can also answer your questions by email.
Make Time For Fun And Relaxation
It is important to include time for fun and relaxation in your schedule. These are important for helping you to feel good generally, and that in turn reduces stress, and keeps you healthy. Looking forward to doing things that you enjoy, and that give you pleasure, helps when you have to cope with less pleasant aspects of life. Whats more, laughter has huge positive benefits for both mental and physical health.
If you are working hard, and are conscientious, however, it can feel wrong to take time out to relax and have fun.
It is therefore important to remember that you and your health are important. You should not ignore your physical or mental health in favour of more urgent activities.
If you consciously put relaxing or fun activities into your diary, and think of this as a way to keep yourself healthy and able to work, you are likely to feel much more positive. This, in turn, will mean that you feel less guilty, and therefore stressed, about doing it.
The Important Take Away
Today, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the various activities and responsibilities which we deal with. Our professional and personal lives have a lot of activity going on and sometimes we feel like we cannot handle them. The tips above can help you to overcome stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed. They are informative guidelines which will definetely bring a positive impact to your life if applied consistently.
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Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
Divide And Conquer The Factors Which Are Overwhelming You
When we feel overwhelmed, it is often because we feel that there is so much to do yet so little time and resources to do it. An effective way of preventing this feeling is identifying the overwhelming tasks, dividing them up into groups and tackling each group individually. This form of organization allows you see the work more clearly and helps you to create a strategy for completing it.
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The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
Whats Causing Your Stress The Common Culprits
My recent research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done, said Dr. Heidi Hanna, an integrative neuroscientist and executive director for the American Institute of Stress. People have more demand on their time and energy than they have capacity, and constant connection to technology aggravates the situation.
Research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done.
She explained that many people also fail to realize that internal stress has a tendency to make external circumstances much more difficult to deal with. For example, if youre not catching enough ZZZs, eating crummy food or living a sedentary life, your nervous system is more agitated and more likely to respond hastily to perceived stressors or threats in your environment.
With all the advances in technology, its easy to forget that were still dealing with a very primitive brain pattern that is hardwired to protect us at all costs, said Dr. Hanna. If we think we dont have enough of something whether its time, energy, money or other resources like social support the stress reaction system is activated.
Other common causes of stress, outside of not being able to get it all done, include our finances, health and relationships. These things tend to be at the forefront of our minds anyway, but are exacerbated when were facing an obstacle.
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Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
“People are asking me for answers,” says Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of just released Success Under Stress. “Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy.”
Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Melnick offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.
Act Rather Than React
Take A Deep Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. “It’s like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk,” she says.
Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take a break.
- Ask for help.
- Try Deep Breathing – sit tall and comfortably, breath in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth while counting to yourself.
- Reframe problems – pause, regroup and look at the situation from a positive angle. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, enjoy the alone time.
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Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.
Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It
Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.
StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.
Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .
Rethink Advice and Information Service
Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email .
Specialist mental health services
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Read These New Thoughts Until You Start To Believe Them
These new thoughts are just as likely to be accurate as the ones that you initially wrote down in step 3. In fact, now that youre thinking with a clear, rational mind, your new thoughts are much more likely to be right on point.
Read your new, positive thoughts and say them out loud until you start to believe them. Write them out a hundred times if you have to.
Make a conscious effort to use these new phrases when you talk to others about your situation. Notice how good it feels when you say them out loud.
And, as if by magic, all of your stress will start to melt away!
Now for a little reminder: how will this 5 step technique help you eliminate stress forever?
As we said earlier, your emotions are controlled by your thoughts. And youre in control of your thoughts. Therefore, challenging negative thoughts and beliefs is all it takes to say goodbye to stress and anxiety for good and hello to joy and contentment.
Its for this reason that CBT techniques have been shown to:
- reduce the time it takes to get back to work after a traumatic work experience ,
- support people in overcoming addictions, such as smoking , and
- minimize social anxiety symptoms .
If you keep practicing these 5 steps during every stressful situation you find yourself in, youll start to re-program your brain so that you start to think more positively all the time.
Then, you wont even need to use this technique anymore because you wont feel stressed! Ah, the wonders of neuroplasticity.
Stop Complaining About Things That Cant Be Changed
There are always going to be people elected into office whom you dont like, taxes that you dont want to pay, idiot drivers who refuse to move out of the left-hand lane, and a person ahead of you in the check-out line who wont stop chatting with the clerk.
The great benefit of being human is that we get to experience all of what life offers us, the good, the bad, and the ugly. To live stress-free is to learn to deal with this fact.
Dwelling on your frustration with a situation, person, place, or thing that cant be changed doesnt do anything other than drag you down. You are the only person who is will ultimately choose to decide how to respond to that which is.
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Stress Weakens Your Immune System
The connection between mind and body is often underestimated. But everyone has experienced a cold when they can least afford to.
Thats because the high demands stress puts on the body make the immune system suffer, which makes you more vulnerable to colds and infections.
The American Psychological Association recommends calming exercises, as well as social outlets, to relieve stress.
Anger Is One Of The Strongest Negative Feelings
According to Charles Spielberger, a psychologist specializing in anger studies, this can range in intensity from irritation to intense anger and a desire for revenge. Like other emotions, anger is accompanied by psychological and biological changes. When it breaks out, the blood pressure and heart rate increase.Anger is a transient hatred or at least very similar to it. definition by Robert South
Anger can be caused by both external and internal factors. We can get angry from almost any event or situation with a negative connotation . It can also be triggered by an inner conflict, such as a traumatic or unpleasant memory that haunts us today.
Numerous psychological tests have been performed on people with potential serious heart disease. It turned out that those who experience more frequent feelings of anger, have the highest blockages of the arteries. The group of people who show less emotions of anger had the lowest blockages.
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Have An Active Lifestyle
We all know that exercising is great for our health, but it can also have positive effects on your psychological health. It stimulates different chemicals that leave you relaxed, less anxious, and in a good mood. If you have a very busy schedule and think that spending an hour or two on exercising every day is just not possible, then dont worry, all you need to do is be more physically active, this doesnt mean you have to get a gym subscription and start lifting weight. Something as small as a morning run can make all the difference. Start with adding a small run to your daily schedule and see what happens.
Stress Can Ruin Your Heart
Stress can physically damage your heart muscle.
Stress damages your heart because stress hormones increase your heart rate and constrict your blood vessels. This forces your heart to work harder, and increases your blood pressure.
According to the American Institute of Stress, the incidence rate of heart attacks and sudden death increases after major stress inducing incidents, like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
In the ancient days of hunter-gatherers, harsh conditions forced people to eat as much as possible when food was available in order to store up for lean times.
That compulsion lives on inside us, and comes out when we are stressed.
Researchers at the University of Miami found that when people find themselves in stressful situations, they are likely to consume 40 percent more food than normal.
Those scientists recommended turning off the nightly newscast before eating dinner, to keep bad news and overeating at bay.
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Improve Your Time Management Skills
Not being able to manage your time can be a big source of stress for most people. It is rather difficult to not get stressed out when youre running against time to meet a deadline while juggling a million things together. So, it is important that you make use of your time efficiently without overburdening yourself. Some ways to improve your time management skills include learning to prioritize things, breaking your work down into small steps, accepting help from others, and not over-committing yourself.
Stop Focusing On What You Dont Have Instead Of What You Have
The easiest way to stop focusing on what you dont have is by not watching television commercials. Marketing teaches us to focus on what we dont have, and advertising campaigns spend millions of dollars convincing us that we must have what we dont yet have.
Can you think of a marketing campaign that teaches you to enjoy what you already have without buying something to enhance it? Odds are you cant.
In a world dictated by Super Bowl commercials and Facebook ads, it takes stalwart focus to recognize what you have more so than what you dont have. If you want a stress-free life now, get stalwart, and stop letting other people dictate your focus.
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Ways To Manage Stress
Acute stress is a normal part of life. Acute refers to the kind of stress that results from having to run to catch a bus. Almost everyone experiences this kind of stress from time to time.
Stress can be good in small doses, though. When your body is under stress your brain releases special hormones. These hormones cause your brain activity to increase, raise your pulse, and cause muscle tension. Stress is your bodys way of giving you an extra edge in a difficult situation. However, sustained stress, or chronic stress, can have negative health effects. Thats the kind of stress we experience when every day includes a long commute, negative interactions at work, worry about ongoing problems, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the demands of life.