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Discussion Topic

4 Free and Easy Ways to Ward Off Stress

Stress is normal in today’s fast-paced society where we are all trying to be richer, skinnier, healthier, more powerful, learn more languages, raise perfect children, you name it. The pressures of life can weigh down on us and cause significant distress.

Many of us just grit our teeth and do whatever needs to be done. However, this can be dangerous to our health, both mental and physical. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s no surprise that David Danskin from Kansas State University estimates that 85% of doctor visits are due to stress-related causes. It can cause problems in our relationships, affect our productivity at work and school, and just make us miserable in general.

Here are four free, easy ways to ward off stress.

1. Exercise.

There is tons of literature about the benefits of exercise. You don’t need to go to hot yoga or run a marathon to reap the effects. Exercise releases many feel-good chemicals in the brain that help us to feel good and relaxed. It is also good for our bodies. Exercise with a friend and you also reap a social benefit. So instead of spending 30 minutes shopping online for clothes, find a video to dance to or go outside with a friend and take a brisk walk.

2. Pray/meditate

Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Harvard Medical School, documented the potential healing benefits of spiritual practices, such as prayer and meditation (as well as hypnosis and other relaxation techniques). Benson demonstrated that our bodies respond to these activities by a “relaxation response.” (Dossey, L. 1993).

Taking time each day to sit in silence to pray and/or meditate can help us to relax, recharge and rethink for clarity of mind and a healthy body.

3. Change the way you think

Sometimes we don’t realize how our own thoughts are hurting us and causing us anxiety. Perfectionism is a perfect example. Internal statements like, “I MUST have a clean house at all times” or “I MUST be on time, all the time” or “I MUST be a size 0” are potentially harmful statements we tell ourselves because let’s face it, none of us are perfect–we have messy houses, we are late sometimes, we eat chocolate cake once in a while. Living up to a standard of “perfection” can end up weighing us down, and causing us undue stress. ┬áThat to me is less than a perfect life.

4. Rethink your priorities

I know it’s important for many of us to be financially stable. But do you really need five porsches? No one ever looks back on their lives and says “boy I wish I worked more” or “boy, I wish I had just one more Porsche.” Maybe some of us need to rethink our fast-paced lives and ask what we really want out of it and make the changes necessary to live it out.






Lia Huynh, MFT
545 Los Coches St. Suite112
Milpitas CA 95035
(408) 599-1413
Counselor and Psychotherapist serving the Milpitas, San Jose and Fremont areas