5 Out of the Box Ways to Cut Your Stress!

Dramatically Cut Your Stress !

Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day  in the United States. ( It probably has something to do with taxes being due.) And April is Stress Awareness month.  There’s no better time to tackle stress, which is still rampant.  Over $300 billion is lost annually in American business due to stress, in terms of poor productivity, absences and illness.  Over 80% of all doctors’ visits are due to stress.  So what can you do to cut your stress?

5 Out of the Box Ways to Reduce Stress

flowers cut stress1. Flowers in the workplace benefit everyone! Women who receive flowers unexpectedly are happier, even 3days later. Women with flowers have less anxiety and and are more innovative at work, whether the flowers were sent to them or not! (Health.com)

2.  Listening to music 1 hour a day a week reduced symptoms of depression by 25%. Music, especially classical music, can cut stress dramatically. Anxious about an upcoming meeting or project? Listening to Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D helps avoid anxiety and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Music can also elevate mood, improve immune system function, reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people. (Journal of Advanced Nursing study)

3. Screaming kids in the car? Vanilla oil soothes restless children. It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Try this on your next road tri .

4.  Eat walnuts to cut your stress and treat depression. Harvard Science Review published a study citing that walnuts are powerful antidepressants!  Pistachio nuts cut inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve your body’s response to stress. Just 1.5 ounces of pistachios provides a boost of energy and can slow the absorption of carbohydrates when eaten together.

5. Soak your legs to cut your stress and sleep better. A study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that women who soaked their legs up to their knees in hot water for 30 minutes slept better than those who did neither. No time for a bath? Try running warm water on your wrists.

“Stress spelled backwards is desserts.” Loretta Laroche

Yes, we live in a stressful world.  But there are dozens of small things you can do today to cut your stress and the stress of others. Try these and let me know how they work for you.

Snowden

 

photo credit:©Valerie Titoval/Dreamstime.com

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Here’s an Instant Stress Reliever

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressStress is occurring at an alarming rate, and with our 24/7 world. more and more people are experiencing stress, anxiety, overwhelm and depression.  So what can you do, right now?

The Astonishing Power of Breath

Try this. Hold your breath for as long as you can- until it almost hurts to let it out. Unless you are a professional athlete or extreme yogi, you probably couldn’t hold it for long. Without breath, the body, mind and spirit cannot function.

And yet we all forget what an incredible resource this is. Breath literally keeps us alive, fuels our interactions and enables us to function. Without it, we are severally hampered. Having had pneumonia a few years ago, I learned quickly how very debilitating lack of breath can be. We all take it for granted.

The Instant Stress Reliever: Breath

Breathe deeply at least 3 times. Put your hands on your lower belly, fill it up all the way and let it out…slowly. Do this several times to regain control and calm your system. Notice how you feel.

Use breath to monitor emotions. We are not our feelings and when our emotions take over, we are not our best selves. When experiencing anger, upset, frustration, fear, stop and breathe deeply. Visualize a positive scene in nature, perhaps mountains or beaches. Focus on that. Let go.

• Learn how to meditate. Meditation is a powerful healing agent; it:
-lowers blood pressure; increases circulation
– improves immune function and memory
-shortens hospital stays
-decreases insomnia
– helps relieve stress, ADHD
-helps reverse heart disease

There are many different ways to meditate. Here’s one:

Start with the deep breathing above and focus on the breath. If thoughts come up, observe them, let them drift by like leaves in the wind. Picture a beautiful nature scene in a forest, visualize a waterfall. Imagine you are standing in the gentle waterfall and let all your worries and fears wash away. Practice this over and over until you can meditate for at least 10 minutes. It can make a huge difference in your well-being.

You can control your stress rather than having it control you.  Try deep breathing as a solution.  It’s fast, easy and free!

 

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The Absolute Best Stress Reliever

The #1 Stress Reliever: Fun Exercise

smiling dancersWe all know exercise is important, and truly all the research points to exercise as the best panacea for relieving stress, extending life, removing toxins from your body and preventing serious diseases like obesity and diabetes. The key to sticking with exercise is to make it FUN and find a way to squeeze it into your day.

 
For my husband and me, the big three are salsa dancing, bicycling, andyoga.  And when we don’t have time for anything else, walking for 15 minutes will do.
 
How to Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Day

I recently started a short-term consulting project that takes most of my day, and it means my healthy habits have been pushed aside for meetings, etc.  I’ve been trying to incorporate more exercise into these busy days and here’s what I have learned so far:
 
– take the stairs whenever possible
– park far away from the entrance to increase your walking
– get up every hour from sitting (sitting too long is sooooo bad for you)
– go to bed earlier and do an exercise video before work; often it is 20 min of yoga
– take a long walk at lunch time
– find an exercise class at lunch or early morning.
 

(And if I plan ahead and take a healthy lunch to work, I am less likely to eat the wrong things.)

 
What do you do to sneak exercise into your life?  Love to hear from you – please share any suggestions you may have.  Email them to me at orders@firedupnow.com and with your permission, I will share them in future posts.

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©2013 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

Do You Live In One of America’s Most Stressful Cities?

Here’s What To Do if That’s the Case

Stressed out Woman from Fired Up! and Stress ExpressA new study ranks the most stressful cities in the US, based on divorces, commutes, unemployment rates and crime.  The most stressful cities are Tampa, Las Vegas, Miami, Jacksonville, and Detroit.  The least stressful are Pittsburgh, Virginia Beach, Cambridge, Mass., Nassau-Suffolk,  NY, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

So what can you do if you live in a stressful city?

Implement one of these top 5 stress relievers:

1. Get more sleep- you need at least 7 hours a night every night. Less is a carcinogen according to the WHO.

2. Go on vacation at least 2X a year without cellphone& laptops.

3. Exercise daily for at least 20 minutes. It’s a terrific stress reliever & keeps you healthy.

4. Drink lots of water throughout the day.  40% of North Americans are dehydrated.

5. Volunteer- giving back gives your perspective, changes your focus, and helps you appreciate your life.

For more tips and to read a free chapter from Stress Express: 15 Instant Stress Relieversgo here:https://firedupnow.com/graphics/StressExpressfreechapter.pdf

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©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Are You Out of Time?

Time Management for Superstressed People – Part I

Stressed out Woman from Fired Up! and Stress ExpressIn this age of constant information, over scheduled lives and frenetic activity, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that you DO have control over your own time.  If you’re a parent, you probably don’t feel that way, but there are definitely steps you can take to make the difference in your life and schedule.

First, as Tony Jeary writes in his book, Finding 100 Extra Minutes a Day, ask yourself “What is the greatest use of my time right now?”several times throughout the day.  Make sure it is the highest leveraged, biggest ROI activity you can make it. And that does not mean necessarily a financial ROI.  It could be an emotional ROI where you spend much needed time with a neglected loved one.

Prioritize your week’s schedule according to your top priorities, which have the biggest leverage.  Make everything else work around those priorities, whenever possible. If you know you have to take your son to soccer practice two days a week, plan to bring your laptop or iPad and do work while waiting.  Maximize your time so when he comes off the field, you can focus on him.

Get in the habit of saying no.  Don’t over schedule yourself.  My brother had been shuttling his son to 2-3 different sports throughout the week, taking up way to much time.  They let him pick the sport and now it is down to one.  My brother and his wife have much more time to tend to their priorities.  You will, too, once you make decisions that support what is best for the entire family.

Part 2 on Wed.

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. 
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More Vacation Days = Better Productivity

More Time Off  Means Better, Happier, Healthier Workers

Did you know that if women aged 45-64 took two weeks of vacation a year, they would cut the incidence of heart attacks in half!  That’s right, the simple act of going on vacation can save your life. (Boston College study)

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!According to Expedia, 34% of employed Americans  return from vacation feeling better about their jobs and are even more productive.  53% say they come back feeling rested and rejuvenated.

At Red Frog, the CEO gives his employees unlimited time off.  That’s right- unlimited time off.  And it’s never abused or taken for granted.  Because more time off means greater productivity.  You have time to recharge and renew; creativity abounds and you return to work with a good attitude, ready to take on challenges.

In 2011, 70% did not take all their allotted vacation time.  Managers: take note- this is not a good idea. Encourage your people to take all their time off, and consider giving them more.  You may just find you have even greater success and better results.

 ©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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The Single Most Important Health Action You Can Take

Just 15 Minutes a Day Can Save Your Life

According to the former US Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, 60% of all Americans do not get sufficient exercise to strengthen their own immune system.  Exercise helps release “feel-good” hormones like serotonin, beta-endorphin, and dopamine into your system.  According to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, even a “sometimes workout” can reduce the risk of heart failure by 18%.  And according to many other wellness sources, 15 minutes a day of some kind of exercise is a huge stress reliever and path to wellness.

So what does that look like? It could be 15 minutes of walking with a few quick sprints thrown in, 15 minutes of dancing, 15 minutes of yoga or tennis playing, 15 minutes of basketball.   The key to exercise is to make it fun and having an exercise buddy will help. Even modest exercise like standing an extra 30 minutes a day can add three years to your life!

So find something that works for you and do it regularly. You;ll live longer, be healthier and have much less stress!

 

 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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Stress Tip: Use Music to Relax & DeStress

It Can Also Fire You Up!

A 2006 Journal of Advanced Nursing study showed that listening to music one hour a day for a week reduced symptoms of depression by 25%.   Music, especially classical music, can also serve as a powerful stress-relief tool.  Listening to Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D major while preparing to speak publicly helps avoid anxiety and lowers heart rate and blood pressure.

I use different CD’s in the car.  When I need to get Fired Up!, I have energizing, upbeat music that empowers me.  Right now, it’s the soundtrack from Glee 3D.  When I need to relax, I listen to soft jazz and soothing instrumentals.  Try this yourself, especially if you spend hours in the car each day.  Make custom playlists on your MP3 player, for working out, for energizing you and for unwinding in traffic. It can even help you destress during the holidays!

 

Motivational Gifts for $30 or Less
Check out the holiday flyer with sales specials.  Many items can be downloaded over the internet with a gift PDF. Holiday Flyer

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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Stress Express Tip: Get Lost in Someone Else’s Life

Relieve Your Stress by Being  Present in the Moment

When your life is too much to take, whether from business pressure or challenges at home, go visit a friend and be totally present for them.  Spend time helping prepare a meal, rebuilding a shed, playing with their children or pets- step into their lives for a day.

I did this when I went out of town to lead a stress management program.  A  friend of mine kindly let me stay at her home.

Giggling, bouncing 7 and 9 year old girls greeted me along with a very friendly golden retriever and a clever black and white cat. ( This cat can open doors by turning the doorknob!) They wanted to connect with me and I enjoyed meeting and learning more about them.  I forgot everything else in my life, came present and just enjoyed the moment.  And as I drove off to “Reignite the Fire” of others, I realized I had not thought about my life, my work or anything else but my friend and her family for several hours.  Refreshing & revitalizing!

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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Fire Up! Your Employee Success

Stress Express Tip:  Give Crystal Clear Expectations to Your People

Stressed Out man is overwhelmed and burntout

Welcoa leader David Hunnicutt says that only 10% of all employers have crystal clear expectations for their employees. That’s especially astonishing when you need them to perform at high levels under significant pressure. If they don’t know exactly what is expected of them, how can they succeed?

David suggested managers sit with every employee and take out two 3×5″ cards.  Each one write down what they think is expected of that employee.  If the two cards don’t match, management needs to clarify.  Otherwise your people will burn out quickly and be unhappy. 80% of the American workforce says they are burnt-out. Help prevent it by clarifying your expectations of your people.

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    © 2011 Snowden McFall, President Fired Up! and Brightwork Advertising and Training, Inc. All Rights  Reserved.  You may reprint this only with full acknowledgement of author and source.