6 Steps for Gaining Control in Your Life

Explore the many ways in which you can manage the impact of stress in your life.

By Edward A. Taub | M.D. from Managing Your Stress in Today's World
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    Get the Sleep You Need

    One of the greatest threats to health in modern society is sleep deprivation. We're so busy with technology or just trying to keep up with our lives that few of us get the deep, restful sleep we need in order for our bodies to carry on the repair work necessary in order to keep us healthy and happy. So getting enough rest on any given night is an absolute necessity for all of us. We also need to eliminate 'sleep stealers' like alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine before bedtime. We need to respect the body's rhythms and find ways to shut down for a day.

    Find a Spiritual Path

    Some people experience discomfort praying to the God of the religion in which they were raised. If you are one of those individuals, you can benefit by redefining God in any way you like ... as long as your definition of your Higher Power comprises love and compassion. By doing so, you can follow one religion, many religions, or no religion at all, as long as you remain in regular contact with the God of your understanding.

    Choose to Do the Right Thing

    Every day we are confronted with moral and ethical choices, big and small -- but we have a choice. We can use our life energy or life force to keep secrets ... or we can use it to stay healthy. Maintaining immunity from acts we know are wrong helps protect us against illness and disease. If we think something is wrong, it's almost always best not to do it.

    Practice Meditation

    We need to meditate because we're always busy in our heads planning, reflecting, worrying, strategizing, or just thinking. Meditation means stilling our thoughts, so we can enjoy the peace of mind that we enjoyed as children. When we meditate, we unchain ourselves from the past and future and instead anchor ourselves firmly in the present. We pass through the gateway of our soul to experience inner peace, a skill that's important when times are good ... and even more vital when times are challenging.

    Learn more: 5 secrets for finding happiness in hard times

    Take a Hike!

    The human body was born to move. Our ancestors did not sit in cubicles for 8 to 10 hours a day, hunched over a computer screen. They were running, chasing, farming, hunting, playing, and dancing -- all the things that we have somehow left behind.

    The good news is that you don't have to do anything radical to get in shape. Exercise increases your immunity to stress, and after a while, you'll find that the things that used to bother you enormously today (not to mention those extra unwanted pounds) will just slide away.

    Learn more: 4 ways to uncover the motivation to lose weight

    Step Into the Sunshine

    Our parents were right when they told us to go outside and play. Moderate sunshine is essential for good health, and vitamin D is best absorbed naturally. Unless it's blazingly hot and sunny where you are, it's important to get out and be in the sun for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day if you can manage it. If it's not possible to get outdoors, do yourself a favor and take a supplement.

    © 2009 Edward A. Taub, M.D., FAAP, Michael Levin, and David Oliphant. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction, in any manner, is prohibited.

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