Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stress Management Tips (May 31)

Develop An Internal Locus
of Control
Edited by: Pierre Milot, Ph.D.
Research has shown that those with an internal locus of control--that is,
they feel that they control their own destiny, rather than their fate being
largely determined by external forces--tend to be happier, less depressed, and
less stressed. Fortunately, if your locus of control isn't as 'internal' as
you'd like it to be, there are things you can do to change your locus of
control and empower yourself. Here's a process to practice:


A Few

Here's How:

Realize that you always have choices to change your situation. Even if you don’t like the choices
available at the moment, even if the only change you can make is in your attitude, you always have some choices.

When you feel trapped, make a list of all possible courses of action. Just brainstorm and write things
down without evaluating them first.

You may want to also brainstorm with a friend to get more ideas that you may not have initially
considered. Don’t shoot down these ideas right away, either; just write them down.

When you have a list, evaluate each one and decide on the best course of action for you, and
keep the others in the back of your mind as alternative options. You may end up with the same answer you had before the brainstorming session, but this exercise can open your eyes to the amount of choices you have in a given situation. Seeing new possibilities will become more of a habit.

Repeat this practice when you feel trapped in frustrating situations in your life. In more casual,
everyday situations, you can still expand your mind to new possibilities by doing this quickly and mentally.


Notice your language and self talk. If you tend to speak in absolutes, stop. If your self talk is
generally negative, read this article on the effects of
negative self talk and how to make
your self talk more positive.

Phase out phrases like, ‘I have no choice’, and, ‘I can’t…” You can replace them with, ‘I choose not
to,’ or, ‘I don’t like my choices, but I will…’ Realizing and acknowledging that you always have choice (even if the choices aren’t ideal) can help you to change your situation, or accept it more easily if it really is the best of all available options.

Your attitude affects your stress level more than you may realize. This article can help you to learn
more about mental and
personality factors that influence your stress level, so you can make changes to keep stress down.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The 5 Minute Meditation: an efficient stress management tool

Practice 5-Minute Meditation

Meditation has many wonderful benefits.  However, many people don’t try meditation because they believe it’s difficult to practice, or only effective with regular, lengthy sessions. Not true! You can
receive the biggest gains from meditation with frequent practice, and just 5 minutes of meditation actually can bring quick stress relief. So if you only have 5 minutes for meditation, here’s how to make them count:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 5 Minutes!

Here's How:
Set a timer for 5 minutes, so you can relax and not worry about staying in meditation for ‘too long’,
missing appointments.

Sit on a chair, close your eyes and relax. Take a few deep breaths from your diaphragm and release
the tension in your body.

Clear your mind of thoughts. Rather than focusing on ‘thinking of nothing’, focus on counting your
breaths, starting from 1 to 10 and then start over and over again.  When thoughts enter your mind, gently acknowledge them and let them go, returning your focus to counting your breaths again.

Continue this for 5 minutes, and return to your day feeling more relaxed and refreshed. Try this
meditation regularly, and you should feel less stressed overall.

Be sure you’re in a comfortable position; little nagging discomforts like scratchy clothes or
an awkward sitting position can be a distraction from meditation.

Don’t get too focused on whether or not you’re ‘doing it right’. (This can actually make meditation
more stressful!) Thoughts may often enter your head, but the process of redirecting your focus to counting your breaths is where the benefit comes from.

Playing relaxing music through earphones (if you're at work) can enhance your practice. It is not
necessary, but it can add to your experience if you can incorporate it.

Meditation has been used for both short-term calming (it can reverse your stress response pretty
quickly) and long-term resilience (regular practice can help you become less reactive to stress!), so frequent meditation is a wonderful and effective
stress management tool.

For best results, try to fit in longer meditation sessions (like 20 minutes or more) a few times per
week. Then, you will be more practiced with meditation in general, and these 5 minute sessions will have more of an impact when you need them!