CHLOE Magazine Spring 2014 Volume 4 Issue 4 - Page 156

THE SIX’S OF STRESS MANAGEMENT Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Run down? If so, you’re certainly in good company. Stress has become an unfortunate unifying force in our society, with 76% of Canadian adults reporting feeling “overwhelmed by stress in their life”. words by Nikita Stanley illustration by Hiroyuki Kikuchi Perhaps even more shocking is that according to a new Ipsos Reid survey, a whopping 90% of Canadians between ages 18 and 24 report having “excessive stress” in their lives (1). Those are some pretty disconcerting statistics considering that stress can have multiple health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications. Yikes - Houston, it looks like we have a pretty serious problem. As far as I see it, it’s time we take the reins and show stress who’s boss once and for all. After scouring book shelves and medical websites, I have compiled a collection of stress busting tips for you that I like to call: The Six ‘S’s of Stress Management. They are simple, effective, totally cost free and can be done right in the comfort of your own home. Sayonara, stress. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. 1. START BY STOPPING Schedules fill up. Obligations multiply furiously. Work deadlines loom. And before you know it, you’re barreling through life as if someone just shot you out of a canon! Well my friends, now is the time to stop, breathe and reboot. If you want to conquer stress, you must first identify the stress causing culprits. So in a calm manner, take inventory of your worries. Decipher what is in your power to control from what is out of your hands. Let go of what you can’t control and create a plan to tackle problems you are able to influence or prevent. Now you’ve taken the first step toward controlling stress rather than letting it control you. 2. STRETCH Stress manifests itself physically within the body in the form of muscle tension - specifically in the lower back, and neck. According to Dr. Oz, stretching stimulates receptors in the nervous system that decrease the production of stress hormones (2). If your memory of basic stretches from high school gym class is a bit foggy, turn to YouTube for some great instructional videos. Throw some deep breathing in the mix and you’ll be feeling Zen in no time! 3. SMILE This might be the easiest stress-buster of all. Turns out your mom was really onto something when she told you to turn that frown upside down. It just so happens that smiling is not just a result of happiness, but it can actually activate neural messaging that releases the happy hormones (serotonin, dopamine and endorphins) in your brain; thus, relaxing your body and lowering your heart rate and blood pressure (3). So smile on and let your stress melt away. 4. BE SELFISH