Monday, December 25, 2006

Relaxation techniques

Stress-reduction techniques must be applied according to the situation and the cause of your stress. In fact, we can distinguish two types of stress : long-term stress, caused by lifestyle and environment, and short-term stress, involved by special events or sudden anxiety.
Long-term stress reduction

Reducing long-term stress often implies a change in your lifestyle and organisation :
Very busy people are often subject to stress.
To keep control of your life, you need a good time management method : anticipate problems by planning your schedules, use the goal-setting method to improve and motivate yourself.
Try to work and live in the best environment possible (establish a pleasant personal space, reduce noise, air, keep everything clean enough)

If your job is stressful, try to have some peaceful moments out of work (reading, listening to music, walking…)
Your attitude in life has a great influence on your stress : always try to find the positive side of things (view mistakes as gaining experience, minimize your problems by putting them into perspective), don't be hostile to change (anticipation, adaptation), try to have good relationships with other people (give a positive self-image, be assertive, pleasant, sincere, try to understand the way other people think).

Avoid bad habits (caffeine, smoking, alcohol, too much sugar…), prefer a well-balanced diet complemented with exercise, aromatherapy and other techniques to be in good health.
Short-term stress reduction
Mental techniques to reduce short-term stress are essentially stress anticipation techniques :
Learn to anticipate stress, so you can avoid it or at least control it : you have to know yourself, your negative thoughts, your stress factors...

Try to reduce the importance of events in your eyes (speech, meetings…)

Use imagery to relax (imagine a peaceful scene or place) or to prepare an important event (practise it in your head).
Reduce incertainty (about your future, what your boss thinks about you, unclear instructions) : the best way is to ask for information !
Try to think in a rational and positive way, even use self-suggestion : be convinced that you are capable, try to increase your self-confidence and your motivation ("I CAN do this!")

On the other hand, physical techniques will prepare you to face stress situations, and reduce the effects of stress when necessary (muscle tension, adrenalin effects).The best way to physically reduce stress is to regularly take exercise : it relaxes tense muscles, improves your health and helps you to sleep better. But you have to adapt your type of exercise, in order to enjoy it and keep doing it! You can also use different relaxation methods to remove body tension and stress : see our page about relaxation !

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