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A Simple Science for Reducing Stress…

31 March 2011 No Comment

african american mother stressed out

Not too long ago, I did a Blog Talk Radio show called Simple Steps to Reduce Stress, but since stress is such an in-depth concept that effects ALL of us in EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES, I’m blogging about it again here…

steps for black women  to handle frustration and stressAs a simple definition, I think of stress as intense pressure, worry or other feeling of overwhelm and taxation that’s inherent to 21st-Century society and linked to ill things like:

>> chronic depression,
>> panic and anxiety,
>> immune-system deficiency and even
>> deterioration of our chromosome strands

So yeah, it’s THAT serious…if you don’t believe, watch National Geographic’s Stress: Portrait of a Killer and let me know what you think then.

stress portrait of a killer break down and guide

So let’s start with a quick inventory – something to give you an idea of where you stand and, after that, some things you can start doing right now

I gave a this out on the newsletter a while back…I always hook the email list up with information first (preview-content while it’s in mid-process), so if that sounds good to you, sign up for it and get two FULL chapters from the book for free in the right sidebar (below the video) ——>

———— A Quick Stress-Assessment Questionnaire ————-

Choose the number intuitively (1 means never, 2 rarely, 3 sometimes, 4 often and 5 almost never) and then tally your score after the fact…

1) I get angry or irritated when I have to wait in line:
{rate yourself 1-5}

2) I get irritated or annoyed when someone speaks to slowly:
{rate yourself 1-5}

3) I have trouble doing special things for myself:
{rate yourself 1-5}

4) I bring work home with me:
{rate yourself 1-5}

5) I find myself eating rapidly to get back to work:
{rate yourself 1-5}

6) I interrupt what people are saying when I think they’re wrong:
{rate yourself 1-5}

7) I take almost everything I do seriously:
{rate yourself 1-5}

8) I find myself being picky and analyzing small details.
{rate yourself 1-5}

9) I need to do more then one task at a time in order to feel productive:
{rate yourself 1-5}

10) I work much better under pressure or when meeting deadlines:
{rate yourself 1-5}

black man learning about stressReally, this is more of a stress-PRONE questionnaire: it’s more about discovering your personality type to see how geared you are towards stress, burn-out and other states of overwhelm.

A score of 35-50 is type A,
a score of 26-35 is a balance between, and
a score of 10-25 is type B

Type A, is more aggressive, active, competitive and always in a rush (and therefore more prone to stress) and Type B, is more calm, relaxed, focused and patient (and therefore less prone to stress).

So the higher you’re up on this ranking, the more you’ll need to ACTIVELY tend to this area of your life…

———— Basic Strategies ————-

Here’s a few of the tips I gave out on the list yesterday…

>> Focus on listening more then communicating your own ideas: empathize and connect with other people and work to figure out where THEY’RE coming from first and communicate in a less aggressive way.

Actually try saying “If I understand you correctly, you said this, that and the third,” (especially if you’re talking to a Mother…they’re usually so stressed it’s not even funny) because feeling connected and understood releases an enzyme called telomerase said to reverse some of the biological consequences of a high-stress lifestyle, and the dynamic works both ways.

black mothers guide to stress

>> Bring work or reading with you in case of long lines or traffic: this is essentially a time-management technique, and it works because one of the major causes of stress IS poor time-management.

It’s simple really. Feeling more productive = feeling less stressed.

>> Stop taking everything so seriously: This one is self-explanatory. Yesterday I posted a quote by Richard Carlson saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s (almost) ALL small stuff.”

>> Catch yourself comparing your progress to other people: this is another one we’re all familiar with…when you compare yourself to other people, you feel behind, and when you feel behind, you feel like you have to do MORE in order to catch up.

Naturally, always feeling like you have to do more makes you feel overwhelmed, drained, stressed and even futile (there’s a serious link between stress and depression mind you), so compete against standards, not people, congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished so far and just focus on getting a little better each and every day.

black woman's guide to stress>> Eat your food slowly: I know those doritos are good, but chill out. Use eating (and anything else really…walking, reading, etc.) to practice patience.

Get at least 20 chews in for each bite – this mindfulness and intentful-ness will transfer into other areas of life. (Letting your body actually digest what you’re eating doesn’t hurt either.)

>> Take time to completely DETACH from work and allow your mind and body to naturally renew itself. This was a big one for me.

Basically, you’re mind and body has the natural mechanics for renewal already in place, but since most of the work we do is mental now (we’re what’s called “knowledge workers,” in that we work with our minds and no longer our hands) it’s more difficult to ascertain what’s productive and what’s not, or when we’ve accomplished enough and it’s time to stop.

When you force yourself to take frequent breaks (and at least one day off completely detached from your major work), you allow yourself to re-energize your systems and therefore prevent burnout.

This is more of a long term issue of health & wellness here, and it’s probably the most important out of this list…

and here’s a few more to wrap things up…

black man clearing clutter>> Categorize Your Worthless Crap, and let’s be real – a majority of the stuff you have laying around your apartment or on your computer (yes, digital clutter does exist) IS worthless crap: it’s completely useless and draining on you in more ways then you probably realize

Clean your desk off, organize your closet, have a system in your kitchen, etc. etc. and keep it that way. You’ll know what I mean when you do it. Here’s an in-depth guide to help you through this process…

>> Breathe from your stomach: talking about meditation seems so cliche now, but you know the deal. Practice mindfulness, and lastly

>> Practice saying no: it’s fun, it feels good and keeps you from being over-taxed with obligations.

Valuable friends don’t care if you won’t come to their event or help them sell their daughters next batch of girl-scout cookies. Valuable friends respect your space and care about your well-being…

Hope this helps….leave a comment letting me know what you think, or anything you do personal to relieve yourself when you get too stressed out. Don’t forget about that classic radio show too.

blog talk radio show on stress


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