Top Ways to Manage Stress & Lead a Healthier Most Positive Life

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A few more tips..Part 2

We all have stresses in our lives…but if those stresses are positive and stimulating, we are productive, interesting and ultimately satisfied.   It is also important to recognize that stress that can be overwhelming but if you adopt the appropriate strategies you will be able to cope and conquer stress.

Here are a few more tips to manage stress.

Change your behaviour

Get organized—poor organization is one of the most common causes of stress. Prioritize your objectives and your duties and activities to make them more manageable and achievable.  Good organization will help to avoid personal and professional chaos and protect against “out of the blue” problems.

Vent–A problem shared is a problem halved. Develop a support network through friends or colleagues to talk with. It’s not always events that are stressful but how we perceive them. Often friends add new perspectives that could lessen your stress.

Use humor—cliche as it might seem, laughter is the best medicine. It is a good stress reducer at home and at work and it relieves muscular tension, improves breathing, pumps those good endorphins into the bloodstream.

Take time out—Get away from things that bother you and give yourself time to reduce your stress level and calm down to think logically.

Be assertive

Assertiveness helps to manage stressful situations, and will, in time, help to reduce their frequency.  Lack of assertiveness often shows low self – esteem and low self – confidence.

Time Management  

Make a list.  What MUST be done vs. What SHOULD be done vs. What would you LIKE to do? Cut out time-wasting and unimportant activities. Learn to drop unimportant activities

And JUST SAY NO.  Plan your day. Set achievable goals. Don’t waste time making excuses for not doing something

Change your lifestyle

Diet.  Nutritional stress is actually a major type of physical stress in today’s 2.0 world.  Are you eating chemically and toxin loaded food and expecting your body to cope? Are you smoking and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol?

Exercise.  Exercise.  Exercise.

Exercise uses up excess energy released by the “Fight or Flight” reaction. It helps improve blood circulation and pumps those feel good endorphins into your bloodstream. We are less stressed, less fragile, when we feel strong and healthy.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for adequate brain function. Often when people are stressed they lose sleep. One great way to purge your body of stress so your mind can relax is to learn progressive muscle relaxation and deep muscle relaxation techniques. Meditation is also a valuable tool to relax your body and quiet your mind — it can easily transition you into sleep.

It’s not too late to get the flu shot!!!

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The flu is hitting Toronto and other parts of the country hard, with an earlier than usual start to the season! And there has been a big spike in the number of cases according to Flu Watch, the national surveillance system that monitors its spread.  Flu Watch reports that as of December 15th, there were 3,557 cases reported in Canada, compared to the same period last year of only 188.

In Ontario, Toronto Public Health reports there have been 238 hospitalizations and 15 deaths.

What this means is that if you haven’t gotten a flu shot, it’s not too late, you should get it.  With so many people getting ill this season, it only makes sense to make the effort and help reduce both your chance of illness, as well as reducing the chance of spreading the disease

In Ontario, flu shots are available at pharmacies as well as your family physician’s office. And in Ontario, the Ontario Health Plan covers the shot for all ages.

The Flu is not the same as a cold although some of the symptoms may be the similar.With the flu, you usually develop a fever of 38 C (100F) or higher.  While you feel feverish, and you can also get the chills, body aches and you may experience headaches. Generally you are tired and may have a cough and a sore throat. You may feel nauseous.

The best care is to stay home until your fever has been gone for 24 hrs. You need to drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and gargle with salt water. Avoid contact with others and wash your hands often. And get plenty of rest.  There are antiviral medications that are sometimes advised, particularly in the elderly and high-risk patients.  The medications may help to shorten the course of the infection

If you’ve had a flu shot this year, but still get the flu, chances are it will be much less severe than if you were unprotected.  So you are less likely to need the emergency room and in hospital treatment.  And that’s what it’s all about.  We can’t avoid every case of influenza, but we can decrease our chance of a serious episode!

 

Your Comments and Topics Welcome

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As the Toronto Branch President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, I am very active in efforts to raise awareness for women’s health. I  am also a family physician in Toronto and Vice-President of Medisys Corporate Health.

My blog is about highlighting  important issues in women’s health, health promotion, and disease prevention, as well as keep you up to date with new research and changes in recommendations and guidelines related to these topics and as a resource for both patients and physicians looking for a credible source of information.

Most importantly this blog is for you.  Thanks to a comment by a reader who wanted to know how to suggest topics- I want to remind you to post your suggestions on topics by submitting them in the comment part of my blog posts. I will do my best to follow up.

I also want to say hello to readers at www.menopauseandu.ca- a website of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada where this blog is also featured. I look forward to your comments and feedback as well.

Start the New Year Off Right-Lead a More Postive Life by Managing Stress

shutterstock_610994792Top ways to manage stress and lead a healthier and more positive life
Part I

You don’t have to look farther than the nightly news to see the effect stress can have on an individual than to look at US President Barack Obama.  His hair is graying, he looks thinner than usual and more tired than he did almost five years ago when he took office. It seems however, that whatever physical signs we may see, President Obama has a number of coping strategies to manage his stress such as working out, eating a proper diet, and strong close connections to his family and friends.

However, if your stress goes unmanaged and is excessive it can affect your immune system and lead to cardiovascular problems, contribute to premature aging as well as mental health and illness issues.

What is stress?  

Stress is the “wear and tear” our minds and bodies experience as we attempt to cope with our continually changing environment.  Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. Stress occurs when the pressure is greater than the resource.

When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger.  But this can also be a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something internal or emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. People often are stressed about things they cannot control. It can make individuals feel panicked, depressed, anxious, frightened, tense, fatigued and unmotivated. Whether stress is internally driven or externally focused most stress is self-generated.

 

Top Ways to Manage stress:

1.  The most important step is to do a reality ‘Awareness’ check.

What causes you to stress? Has there been a change in your work environment, are you over worked?  ? Is there uncertainty or are you facing conflicts.

What’s going on at home and in your personal life? Are you facing a major life event—marriage, divorce, a new baby, financial issues?

2.  Find Balance.

There is a fine line between positive / negative stress Determine how much can you cope with before it becomes negative? Are you stimulated or overwhelmed?

3.  Control: If you have reached the breaking point then it is time to take control of the situation.  What can you do to help yourself combat the negative effects of your stress?

4. Re-frame: Use reframing, which is a technique to change the way you look at things to feel better about them. There are many ways to interpret the same situation. Re-framing does not change the external reality, but helps you view things in a different light

5. Positive thinking

Forget powerlessness, dejection, despair, and failure.  Stress leaves us vulnerable to negative suggestion so focus on positives.  Focus on your strengths. Look for opportunities to focus on positive events in your life.