The Huffington Post/ Nov. 4, 2016/ No. 1 Way to Reduce Stress: Keep it in Perspective/ James Porter
THERE ARE FIVE STAGES OF BEHAVIORAL CHANGE:
1. In the first stage, you simply become aware of the need to change. (Back in the 1950s, few people had any idea that smoking was harmful, so in the 1960s the government started insisting that tobacco companies put health warnings on cigarettes.)
2. In the second stage, you learn about why you should change. (The government soon realized that just telling people that smoking "was hazardous to your health" wasn't enough to get them to quit. That's in part why government agencies heavily funded Prochaska's research, which began in the 1970s.) What Prochaska discovered was that people need LOTS of reasons why they shoudl quit, such as: you will live longer, your house won't smell of smoke, your teeth will be whiter, you'll sleep better, etc.
3. In the third stage, you consider how you want to change. This is where you develop a plan for exactly what you are going to do next.
4. In the fourth stage, you take action: carrying out the plan - that up to now - you've been only thinking about.
5. The fifth stage is where you try to maintain your healthy behaviors. This is a crucial step. People seldom realize that relapse is part of the process. This is important to realize so you don't beat yourself up when you inevitably take a step backwards.
Let's assume that we all accept that step 1 and step 2 and we are ready to focus on developing a plan for reducing stress in our lives. When considering changing your habits around stress, ask yourself: what if my own "peace of mind" was really my highest value? Let's start to create some healthy habits to reduce stress. Here are 5 simple ideas that don't require a a big commitment.
Can you commit to one or more of these 5 stress reducing ideas for ONE DAY?
STOP RUSHING. Try to spend one day where you don't rush anywhere. Get up earlier than you need to. Allow extra time doing everything. Enjoy just one day at a leisuraly pace--even if it's your day off.. Take time to stop and smell the roses and notice how you feel for just one day.
ARRIVE EARLY. In attempting to arrive places on-time, we're often late because we don't build in enough extra time for traffic jams, accidents and delays. When you plan to arrive early, you not only allow for these circumstances, by your travel time is more enjoyable because you're not spending the entire trip stressing.
CREATE A COMFORTABLE MORNING ROUTINE. When you start off your day arguing with your spouse or roommate, hurrying your children or family members and trying to get yourself dressed, you almost certainly begin your day feeling stressed. To prevent this, get things ready the night before: put out your clothes, make your lunch, take a shower before bed. Do anything you can ahead of time, so your morning "rush" won't be so jam-packed.
GO TO BED EARLY AND DON'T WATCH THE 11:00 NEWS. The 11:00 news is full of stories designed to catch your attention by making you feel anxious. This is not good for your serenity. Turn off the TV and go to bed an hour earlier - or read something inspirational or meditate and thing about what you are grateful for.
GET ORGANIZED. Spend at least one day a month simply organizing your life. Or the next time you can't find something, instead of wasting time feeling frustrated and looking everywhere for it, just start cleaning and organizing your space. You'll probably spend about the same amount of time cleaning as you would have wasted searching and you'll almost always find the lost item in the process.*
* WELCOA/ Stop Stress This Minute/ James Porter/ Pages 78, 84-85
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