Health Corner: Put stress in its place

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

To combat stress, you may set aside blocks of time throughout the week for exercise. That’s a good start.

Whether you go to the gym or take a brisk walk, the activity itself has a relaxing effect. It helps connect the body with the mind, producing an empowering blend of thoughts and emotions that can strengthen the immune system and enhance brain function.

Develop daily coping mechanisms built around resilience. If you allot 10 minutes to meditate each morning, you can displace anxiety with a more balanced, self-possessed mindset.

Begin by taking off your shoes and sitting with your feet flat on the floor. Breathe slowly and deeply. Focus on each inhale and exhale.

As much as you try to cleanse your mind of distracting thoughts, they may creep back in. If so, stay attuned to your breathing.

“Whenever your anxious thoughts take over during the workday, shift your attention by concentrating on more positive thoughts,” says Madeleine Van Hecke, a clinical psychologist in Elmhurst, Ill.

Snack well and take a nap

Acknowledge stress-induced reactions in a straightforward, non-judgmental manner. You might tell yourself, “My brain is acting with a primitive fear response, but I’m going to step back and regroup.”

Characterizing your anxiety in neutral terms can strengthen your stress resistance, says Van Hecke, author of Blind Spots.

In addition to focusing on more positive mental messages, upgrade your commitment to nutrition. Snack on fruits, nuts and cheese in moderate amounts and eat less food with processed sugar.

A more unconventional stress reducer is to take a short midday nap. A 30-minute snooze can help you regain your mental edge.

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