We’ve all felt it at some time or other—that huge knot that builds at the back of your neck, sucks up your shoulders, and drives pain to your brain. Stress! It’s everywhere, and it’s difficult to deal with. Our technological world has made us instantly available to others, and whether it’s the Internet, cell phones, or our own personal life, stress can eat us alive if we let it.
If you’re feeling stressed, there are some simple steps to take and some activities to try that can ease the pain in a fun or relaxing way:
- Juggle. That’s right, juggle. The rhythmic slapping of the balls, clubs, or rings on the palms of the juggler has a soothing effect. The arms are in constant motion, which can produce a good aerobic workout (especially under the leg and behind the back moves!). Mentally, your focus is on the activity itself, so it can temporarily take your mind off other problems—and of course, you are never finished. There is always another trick, another prop, another challenge to work towards (if you want it). Laurie Young at Laughways teaches a seminar in juggling for Alzheimer’s patients, because in her words, “the use of play in maintaining healthy older brains is just [now] being medically recognized.”
- Joke. Tell jokes. Have some fun. Pull a prank. Have a pajama day at work. Laughter is therapeutic. If you don’t believe me, check out an in-depth study done by Christine Puder, a hospital-based child life specialist. In her report, she identifies ways in which laughter heals physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Laughter really is the best medicine!
- Gyrate. Dance therapy is alive and well. According to a report by the American Cancer society, “clinical reports suggest that dance therapy helps in developing body image; improving self-concept and self-esteem, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, decreasing isolation, chronic pain, and body tension, and increasing communication skills and feelings of well being.
- Genuflect. Many people have suspicions of the positive effects of meditation and prayer, but there are scientific studies that back it. If you’re curious, you can find summaries of eleven such studies at Scientific Studies Proving the Power of Meditation and Prayer. For another look at prayer, check out the article GET A Faith Lift!
- Journal. Writing about those stress-building events of your life actually reduces stress, in a few different ways. First, it takes it from inside you and moves it outside, onto paper. There, you can look at it, examine it, and deal with it, WITHOUT reaching for an antacid tablet. For an in-depth look, check out The Center for Journal Therapy.
So juggle, joke, gyrate, genuflect, and journal your way to a new stress-free you! Not only will you find relaxation, you’ll enjoy the process too!
But don’t try to do them all at once. If you happen to see someone kneeling by the side of the road, swinging back and forth, juggling with one hand, journaling with the other, and laughing out loud, I don’t suggest you try to do the same . . . GET into a new habit! GET Stressless!