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Who is under stress? Here is how I got myself out of a mess

Years ago, I was struggling working 55+ hours per week with two toddlers at home and I thought I was going to lose my mind! I was not enjoying the gifts God had given me like I knew I should.  I was short tempered and impatient and simply not happy.  I went to my first holistic conference where they discussed stress management and I was convinced I didn't have time to do it.

After realizing I was the debbie downer, I decided I needed to make a change.  The world was going to go on with or without me so how could I change my perception of the world around me so I could be more present and enjoy it and not let life bring me down.  After I followed the following steps, within two short weeks, I was no longer waking at 2-3 am wide awake.  Bedtime was spent reading and enjoying my girls instead of griping at them to go to sleep.  That meant they went to sleep easier since I wasn't stressing them out which meant I was able to go work downstairs more efficiently because I was less stressed out.  That meant, I finished my work earlier and I went to sleep more peacefully.  By just changing my perception of the world around me, my sleep responded, my work was more efficient, I was calmer and more importantly, my girls were happier and bedtime was more fun.

Stress Management Rx

  1. Yoga/tai chi/stretching - You cannot have a flexible mind when your body is tense.  My favorite yoga video is "Kundalini Yoga Ultimate Stretch Workout"-Ana Brett and Ravi Singh.  It is very Americanized and you can do it in portions.  Start slow and easy and try 20 minutes to start.

  2. Deep breathing- there are so many techniques-it stimulates the "chill out" nervous system to lower stress hormones which helps lower your blood pressure, pulse, weight loss.  One technique-sit straight, legs down, eyes closed and breathe in the nose 4 seconds, 7 seconds out of the mouth.  Do that 2-4 times when stressed, to start the day, before work, during lunch etc.  It takes less than a minute.  Another one is to hold your thumb to one nostril and breathe in, then let go of the thumb and put the pinky finger to the other nostril and breathe out.  Alternate and do several breaths like that.

  3. Daily Gratitude Journal - 3 one-liner blessings for the day.  No repeats allowed making you really figure out your blessings.  Before you know it, you will be looking for those blessings and turn the cup is half empty to the cup is half full.  Life is full of blessings, hidden and in plain view.

  4. Guided Meditation - If you have Insomnia and need help falling asleep, consider a guided meditation CD. Check out CD's on or apps on smart phones.  You can find one that suits your needs including Christian based ones.  It will help you reign in those wandering or racing thoughts that I call monkey brain.

  5. Daily Exercise - All of the above will take 30 minutes or less a day but if you can, also add in aerobic exercise which has been proven efficacious for depression.  A study showed that exercise alone was superior to an antidepressant or antidepressant plus exercise!! (not saying there is never use for medicines).  Aerobic exercise increases your feel good hormones.

I hope these techniques can help you on your health journey just like they helped me!

Peace and love,

Dr. Benton


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