How to Cope with Everyday Stress: Practice HUGS

Don’t minimize the power of little things to add joy to your life. ~ Joyce Meyer

How’s your day going? Somehow, even the best days have moments that challenge our peace: tight schedules and traffic lights, flat tires and sick kids, appliances that quit (my dishwasher!), plus any number of major and minor irritations.  Often, all at once…

Then, there’s the tough stuff: divorce or death, debt and dilemmas, health and relationship issues. Funny thing, though, no one is immune from life’s challenges. No matter what you are dealing with, look around. Everyone you know is also trying to cope with something.

So, what should you do while you are in the middle of the mess? Well, don’t stew about it. It won’t do any good – but you already know that! Here are my favorite ways to cope with the stresses of life.

HUG. Physical touch is essential to our wellbeing. The problem is that today’s busy world doesn’t provide the personal contact that we used to share. Hugs are comfort. Hugs mean someone cares. Hugs are great stress relievers! At present, I’m at my father-in-law’s. Between meds, meals, and all the care-giver chores, hubby and I meet in the kitchen for a quick hug. It helps us stay centered and aware that we support each other in this current mission. This is comfort without calories! Need a hug? Go here.  

UNDERSTAND. No matter WHAT you are dealing with, know that ‘this too shall pass’. Encourage yourself. One of my favorite phrases is, “Will it matter next Tuesday?” In other words, is there any point getting upset and stressed out about a temporary situation? Even if it will matter next week (or next month), remember Christopher Robin’s advice to Pooh: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Tell yourself so!You should be your own best cheerleader.

GET GREEN. Go outside. Nothing chases the cobwebs and tension like a fresh breeze on your cheek, sunshine on your face, and a blue sky overhead. (Of course, if you live in western PA, you’re likely to need a raincoat!) No matter. Walk away from your desk (or your family) for a few minutes. God’s world awaits you. It will help you calm down and regroup. Watch leaves flutter; listen to the birds. The Universe was created for you to enjoy. Soak up its calmness and beauty. (While you’re outside, give yourself a hug and smile at everyone you meet!)

SMILE. Smiles trigger all sorts of physical and emotional reactions in your body. Try it. Stand in front of a mirror and look at your face. How do you feel? Now smile. Yep, curl the corners of your mouth upward. Makes you look better, doesn’t it? Makes you feel better, too. It’s almost hard to be depressed if you are smiling  – so do it whether you want to or not! Share a smile (and a hug) with someone else who needs encouragement or comfort. They just feel too good to keep to yourself!

One last caution: If your life is so busy that you feel overwhelmed most of the time, then add NO to your vocabulary. You are the only one who can step out of the rat race and re-think your commitments. Having too much to do is the worst stressor because it’s your own fault. Reschedule your life. Make time for yourself, no matter what. 

So, give yourself a Hug, Understand that your situation is not forever, Get out in the sunshine, and Smile! See – don’t you feel better already?

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