11. Put It on Paper
Writing provides perspective, says Paul J. Rosch, M.D., president of the American Institute of Stress in Yonkers, NY. Divide a piece of paper into two parts. On the left side, list the stressors you may be able to change, and on the right, list the ones you can’t. “Change what you can,” Dr. Rosch suggests, “and stop fretting over what you can’t.”
12. Count to 10
Before you say or do something you’ll regret, step away from the stressor and collect yourself, advises Dr. Cooper. You can also look away for a moment or put the caller on hold. Use your time-out to take a few deep breaths, stretch, or recite an affirmation.
13. Switch to Decaf
Wean yourself slowly, or you might get a caffeine-withdrawal headache that could last for several days, cautions James Duke, Ph.D., the Fulton, MD, author of The Green Pharmacy (Rodale Press, 1997). Subtract a little regular coffee and add some decaf to your morning cup. Over the next couple of weeks, gradually increase the proportion of decaf to regular until you’re drinking all decaf. You should also consider switching from regular soft drinks to caffeine-free ones or sparkling mineral water.
14. Just Say No
Trying to do everything is a one-way ticket to serious stress. Be clear about your limits, and stop trying to please everyone all the time.
15. Take a Whiff
Oils of anise, basil, bay, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose, and thyme are all soothing, say Kathy Keville and Mindy Green, coauthors of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art (Crossing Press, 1995). Place a few pieces of rock salt in a small vial, then add a couple of drops of the oil of your choice (the rock salt absorbs the oil and is much less risky to carry around in your purse than a bottle of oil). Open the vial and breathe in the scent whenever you need a quick stress release. Look for the oils in your local health food store, or try one of the following mail-order companies: Aroma-Vera, 5901 Rodeo Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90016, 800-669-9514; or Leydet Aromatics, P.O. Box 2354, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, 916-965-7546.
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