Live More, Stress Less

David Walsh takes a moment to decom-stress.

By Abigail Pettigrew

Belle Glade Campus Editor

Many health professionals will tell you that identifying the source of your stress
is the first step towards managing it. However, with the many problems
bombarding us today, this may not always be possible. Many times the stress we
are dealing with may be something we are not conscious of. Do not despair. When
your head pounds, your back hurts and you feel as if the only thing left to do
is scream at or tackle someone, try these tips to help you regain control.

  1. Take a break and listen to some soothing music or calming nature sounds, such as the
    ocean. Just relaxing and letting the sound of music fill your mind will help
    lower your blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels (a hormone linked with
    increased stress).
  2. Close your eyes and imagine you are in a place where pressure and worries are no
    more. Along with listening to music, visualization can help you relax and take
    your mind off present worries. It can block off sensory reception from
    surrounding stimuli that may be causing you distress.
  3. Avoid stimulants and drugs. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine may seem to be excellent
    short term solutions to stressful problems. However, these not only cause more
    problems, but they do not rid you of your stress—physical or emotional.
    Caffeine might seem to get you through a rough spot; however, at the end of the
    day, it may leave you with a bundle of nervous energy that is hard to get rid
    of and that may deprive you of much needed sleep.
  4. Deep breathing can never be recommended enough. This normally works 90 percent of
    the time when you’re ready to break apart. Close your eyes, relax your
    shoulders, and slowly exhale. Take deep breaths that fill your chest and
    abdomen and then exhale again slowly. Concentrate only on your breathing
    exercise and think only of inhaling and exhaling your next breath.
  5. Call a friend you trust and vent. This usually helps to put things in perspective,
    especially if you have smart friends who know how to listen and when to talk.
    So cultivate friendships with sensitive and trustworthy individuals. You will
    be surprised to know how a good talk can calm you down and take you safely
    around a particularly dangerous curve in life.

Using these techniques
are just a few ways of how you can take a breather and relax when trying to
relieve stress. Blowing off some steam can mean the difference between having a
better day or going down the drain with a bad one. So the next time you are a
having a bad day or a stressful moment: take a minute, sing a song and find
some inner peace that will help you get through the rest of the day.

Palm Beach State College’s South Campus has a number of reflexology and massage
services in its Massage Therapy student clinic for minimally less than private
offices. For more information, call the program office at 561-862-4722.

The Dr. Oz Show also offers five tips to relieve stress in less than 5 minutes on
his web site, The show airs on WPBF 25 weekdays at 4 p.m.