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The Cardiologist's Wife - Ways to Relieve Stress
May 20, 2019

Stress is the unseen enemy that negatively affects your mood and behavior and can wreck havoc with your health over time. Unfortunately many people are unaware that stress is the root cause of many of their health related problems. Stress can lead to a long laundry list of symptoms so learning to effectively control your stress will help you to be more in control of your emotions and behavior and alleviate those symptoms. You can take a quiz at https://www.stress.org/stress-effects to check your stress level.

Exercise and meditation are great ways to relieve stress but in the middle of your busy day, those aren’t great options. You may have to get creative to find ways to decompress before you blow your top. Here are a few suggestions if you can’t take time for Shavasana* in your office.

- Perform a random act of kindness. Hold the door open for someone, give someone a sincere compliment or buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Doing something nice for someone else makes you feel good inside and positive vibes benefit everyone.

- Get outside, even if for just a few minutes and breathe some fresh air, look at the blue sky, and stretch your legs during your lunch break.

- Organize! Believe it or not, taking a few minutes to organize your workspace can have a calming effect and you’ll be more productive when you know where things are and things are less chaotic.

- Kick off your shoes for a few minutes. Wiggling your toes and flexing your feet can make you feel less restrained and more relaxed.

- Laughing releases endorphins, those feel good hormones. Take a couple of minutes to watch cute animals on youtube, check out the meme of the day, or visit https://theweek.com/cartoons for current event cartoons.

- Doodling engages the creative right side of your brain and allows you to enter a calmer, almost meditative state of mind. Doodle during a phone call or while waiting at the doctor’s office.

- Take five minutes to stand up and stretch a few times a day. Roll those tense shoulders, stretch your arms above your head, touch your toes, do a hamstring and quad stretch. Sitting in one position can make you stiff and your muscles ache.

- Phone won’t stop ringing? Carve out a block of time to work, say an hour, without answering the phone. Set the ringer to silent and put it in a drawer out of sight.

- Breathe! When we are stressed, we tend to take short, shallow breaths. Take some deep, cleansing breaths while you stretch. Think about relaxing those tight muscles while you breath, particularly in your jaw, neck and shoulders.

- Last, learn to let things go and be forgiving. People make mistakes but nursing petty grievances only hurts you. That jerk who cut you off on the morning commute? It wasn’t personal, he was in a hurry. Your spouse forgot to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home? It wasn’t done on purpose to ruin your day. Decide whether something is going to affect you tomorrow, next week, in 5 years and if not, let it go.

*Shavasana or Corpse pose is a yoga pose done for relaxation in which you lie flat on your back with your arms and legs spread out and your eyes closed.

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