On July 23, 2010, I wrote an article entitled “Anxiety and Depression”. This article emphasizes the connection between anxiety and depression. Those who experience anxiety often experience depression and vice versa.
On August 17, 2010, I presented a tool that assists people in rating their level of anxiety. The article is entitled “Stress Inventory Tool and How It Can Help You Assess Your Physical and Emotional Health”.
Today I want to focus on positive interventions that can be used to lower your stress level. Part of the information that I will use was obtained from a pamphlet entitled “Relief from Stress”. The authors are Mardi Richmond and Melanee L. Barash, MSW. The copyright is held by 2002 Journeyworks Publishing and was reviewed in 2009.
In this pamphlet, stress is defined as …”how your body responds to demands. Events, both good and bad, cause stress”. The goal of the brochure is to present steps that will help you to feel better when you are stressed.
***1. Look for Causes – This step challenges you to identify exactly what causes stress in your life.
***2. Make Changes Where You Can – Please note the words “where you can”. Often, events occur, such as accidents or death, that are beyond human control.
***3. Organize – If you keep your environment organized, you can more effectively deal with stress. This is my favorite preventative measure. Anyone that knows me knows that I function poorly in an unorganized, chaotic environment. Once I was asked to replenish first aid kits. The supplies were thrown into two huge cardboard boxes. I emptied the contents onto a large table, sorted supplies into piles, then filled all of the kits.
***4. Take Care of Yourself – This is very good advice. Often, we feel that all of the demands in our lives are more important than we are. To maintain proper health and be able to deal effectively with stress, we must eat regular, nutritious meals, get adequate rest, exercise regularly, treat ourselves to something fun at least once a week, and refrain from using alcohol or other drugs to relieve stress.
***5. When You Face Difficult Times – Remember that some stressful situations are beyond your control. Use friends and family members as a support system.
***6. Use Relaxation Techniques – This can include visual imagery, deep breathing, or meditation. Visual imagery is the process of closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a beautiful, calm environment. Deep breathing is breathing in through your nose until your stomach expands, then slowly exhaling through your mouth. Do this 3 or 4 times until you can feel your body physically relax. Meditation involves physically relaxing in a calm environment. You can purchase tapes or CDs that contain relaxing music or sounds.
***7. Talk It Over – Again, friends and family members are excellent sources of support. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, you should seek professional help.
If you have a Primary Care Physician (PCP), you can discuss your level of anxiety with him or her. If your PCP feels that you need further evaluation or treatment, a referral can be made.
If you do not have a PCP, ask co-workers, friends, or family members to make a recommendation. By obtaining information from a reliable source, you may have a positive experience sooner than you would by attempting to choose an expert yourself.
A valuable resource in Lexington (and surrounding areas) is Comprehensive Care Centers. In Lexington, Comprehensive Care is located at 1351 Newton Pike. Their phone number is 859-271-9448.
If you are interested in ordering a supply of the pamphlet “Relief from Stress”, contact Journeyworks Publishing by using their toll free number of 800-775-1998. Their web-site is www.journeyworks.com.
Another excellent brochure is entitled “Stress Free: Your Guide to Leading a Stress-Free Life”. It is published by the Wellness Council of America. Their phone number is 402-827-3590. Their web-site is www.welcoa.org.
Whatever your decision, do not suffer from anxiety in silence. You have only one earthly body. Take care of it and enjoy living !!!