Dealing Effectively with Negative Stress
Quite simply, lack of sleep decreases our resistance to stress. Problems always seem smaller following a good night's rest.
Follow the dietary suggestions already presented in this book. What we feed our bodies does determine in large measure how they handle the effects of emotional stress. "Eating patterns can be modified in order to help a person cope with the stress of modern day living," writes Gordon Tessler. "A body in optimum health is prepared for stress and able to respond with the needed energy to cope with life."10
Develop Hobbies or Other Relaxing Activities
Find something you really enjoy doing that will remove your mind from your problems periodically. Dr. Tessler predicts that "the doctor of the future will prescribe one hour a day of play to reduce stress and improve health."11
In the midst of our own busy schedules, my wife and I set aside part of one school day each week (usually Fridays) which we call "play day." More often than not we head down to the Goodwill store to hunt for bargains and treasures. We find it physically relaxing, emotionally restorative, and mentally stimulating.
Here's another approach you might consider for handling stress, offered by David Steenblock, D.O. He calls it the "Steenblock Stress Reduction Plan."
- List all your problems.
- List all possible solutions to each problem. (Take your time. Spend one to two days. Let your imagination run wild.)
- Quantify the solutions.
IDEA PRO'S CON'S 1 4 POINTS 6 POINTS 2 3 POINTS 5 POINTS 3 8 POINTS 3 POINTS 4 9 POINTS 1 POINT
- Determine from exercise 3 the appropriate solutions to each problem, or recognize that you can't do anything about the problem.
- Plan a course of action to solve each problem based on your answers to 4. Your action plan should be a well-thought-out, practical, day-by-day, hour-by-hour approach. There should also be an acceptance on your part concerning those problems for which you can do nothing.
2. Gordon S. Tessler, Lazy Person's Guide to Better Nutrition (San Diego, CA: Better Health Publishers, 1984), page 100.
3. Richard O. Brennan with Helen Kooiman Hosier, Coronary? Cancer? God's Answer: Prevent It! (Irvine, CA: Harvest House, 1979), page 166.
4. Nancy Appleton, "Diet, Stress and the Immune System," Towsend Letter for Doctors, August/September 1992, pages 727, 728.
5. Mike Samuels and Nancy Samuels, The Well Adult (New York: Summit Books, 1988), page 51.
6. Tessler, page 102.
7. Ralph L. Woods, ed., The World Treasure of Religious Quotations (New York: Garland Books, 1966), pages 175, 61.
8. Samuels and Samuels, page 44.
9. Samuels and Samuels, page 116.
10. Tessler, page 101.
11. Tessler, page 63.
From HEALTHY HABITS: 20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health by David J. Frahm as used by arrangement with Jeremy P. Tarcher, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2003 by David and Anne Frahm. All rights reserved.
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