Life for us humans on planet earth is becoming ever increasingly stressful. Many of my clients complain of feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. They complain that at work they are expected to do more with less frequently meaning longer hours, more work, the lack of adequate supervisors, challenging co-workers or subordinates, and the resulting feelings of overwhelm.  This stress is amplified with the worries of maintaining a lifestyle that is becoming ever more expensive. Just turning on the news in an attempt stay up with the latest from Washington, let alone the world, adds to this stress load. In addition, our individual stress impacts the quality of our personal relationships compounding the overwhelm and anxiety we are already experiencing in our lives.

We are a stressed-out society, and stress is a killer.  Stress eats up our limited resources spiritually, emotionally and mentally, as well as wearing down our physical body.

Stress is the silent virus. Its symptoms mirror real physical and emotional ailments.  Physically it shows up as digestive issues (irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux), fatigue, or headaches. Mentally it reveals itself as forgetfulness, poor concentration and focus, confusion, and negative thinking. Emotionally it manifests as lack of enthusiasm, motivation, and irritability. Apathy, burn-out, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are spiritual symptoms of stress. Stress can intrude on our relationships in the form of nagging, bickering, blaming and intolerance.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Stress makes coping with normal daily activates increasingly difficult. There are several things you can do, however, to cope with stress.

1. Schedule time daily for some extra self-care – a soothing bath, reading just for pleasure, a walk – especially when it is sunny out, a cup of tea while gazing out the window thinking of absolutely nothing.

Here is a recipe from Dr. Lisa Moore, my Network Chiropractor and aromatherapy instructor.

• 6 drops lavender (Lavender angustifolia)
• 2 drops clary sage (salvia sclareaI)
• Dim the lights, light a candle, and soak in this soothing bath while taking deep relaxing breaths. You can add some relaxing music if you like.

2. Schedule something pleasurable each week – a hike in nature, a trip to the ocean, a massage, an afternoon just for you, or a special outing with a friend or a special someone.

3. When stress starts to build take a few minutes to relax. Relaxation can help you release, re-focus, and renew. One simple relaxation exercise that I share with my clients is:

• Close your eyes and imagine you are in a beautiful spot – the ocean, redwood forest, a beautiful mountain meadow
• Take three deep breaths, exhaling slowly
• Count backwards from 10 to 1 while imagining you are sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation
• Relax all of your muscles
• Relax your mind
• Then visualize being in that beautiful spot, breathe in the fresh air, absorbing the serenity and peace around you
• Then when you are ready count yourself back from 1 to 5

(Click HERE for the audio file of this simple relaxation for your enjoyment.)

Take a few minutes and try this on you own or to listen to this visualization! You can do this simple relaxation exercise in just 5 to 10 minutes. Afterwards you will feel more relaxed, you will have greater clarity and focus, and you will have an increased ability to cope with whatever comes your way.

If you are experiencing symptoms of physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and/or relational stress and need help finding relief, then please contact me and come in for a complementary 30 minute phone consultation to find out how you can cultivate more peace and calm in your life.  415-819-8769 or email joy@joyreichard.com.

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