Reducing Stress

Stress has a negative effect on your health, and your ability to navigate your day to day life. Stress activates fight or flight responses which dumps stress hormones into your body, which can override the brain’s pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain which makes rational choices. If you are reacting badly to stress, the stress tends to escalate, especially when you are going through a divorce, or having significant disagreements as to parenting and parenting time.

  1. Create and maintain support network. Electronic networks are great. You have many more contacts with people that you might not otherwise have, and the feed back is certainly much faster. I get 50+ birthday wishes from Facebook friends, and it feels great! However, nothing beats personal contact – a telephone call, spending face to face time, making that personal connection.
  2. Make decisions to curb worry: Many of our decisions do not require extensive information or have long term consequences. Yet we often time spend too much time and emotional energy NOT making decisions. Where are you going to go to lunch? What are you going to eat for dinner? Are you going to that event? These kind of decisions should be made, and then move on, allowing you time and emotional energy on decisions that do require thought and reflection, or even not having to make decisions and enjoy being in the moment.
  3. Focus on gratitude. I sometimes get irritated when people are too cheerful, talking about all the great things, when in fact I know things are not all great all the time for them. It’s a form of denial of reality, and avoiding dealing with the real issues. However, even when you are dealing with a lot of stressers, finding “one good thing” out of a situation can allow you to not feel so overwhelmed by all of the stressers, and you physically feel better. I have done this in groups before, and the initial reaction is that it’s silly, but then people start to do it, and end up saying “I guess it is not all bad.”
  4. Practice mindfulness. Spend 10 minutes a day clearing your mind, focusing on breathing. There are physical benefits to take a mini-break to get your head cleared, and your mind centered.

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