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While there are thousands of books that teach people how to reduce physical and mental stress, it would be fair to say that most of these techniques aim at teaching people how to relax their bodies and minds, recommend routine moderate physical exercise, maintain a well balanced diet, get enough sleep, and think positive thoughts.
Each person must pick the appropriate stress reducers that work. However, a few simple things that can help make life a bit less stressful in Israel are:
Driving While driving in your car, reduce the number of times you look in the rear view mirror to a minimum so that you don't have to see the tailgater behind you as often.
Play relaxing music or even listen to relaxation tapes of the sea or wind.
A lemon fragrance in the car can also help to keep the driver alert and more relaxed.
When the other driver beeps the horn to intimidate, think of this horn as a frustrated musician trying desperately to get a part in a band, but keeps on hitting sour notes.
When caught in traffic, try using deep breathing exercises to relax and change you maladaptive thought â‚¬Å“my whole day will be ruined â‚¬? to a more positive thought, â‚¬Å“there is nothing I can do so I may as well listen to some relaxing music, â‚¬? or think of a nice image while your are waiting it out.
At work Take breaks from routine jobs or even non-routine tasks. Stretch your arms, back, legs and shift your attention away from your work for a few minutes by thinking of a nice place you would like to be.
Count to 10 taking a slow, deep breath. Hold the breath for one count. Then breathe out slowly, again as you count to 10.
Don't over work. People who put more balance in their lives between work, family/personal, and play/recreational are more relaxed and live more healthy and productive lives.
Personal Take vacations or get away on weekends (Don't say to yourself, I don't have time to get away).
Read a good book
Begin a hobby like stamp collecting or gardening. A colleague of mine went back to his childhood hobby of collecting and sorting out stamps to help him relax while recovering from a heart attack.
Listen to some good music.
Take a walk on the beach or in your favorite park.
Take a hot bath or soothing shower.
Don't strive for perfection-no one is perfect and trying to live up to perfect ideals increases tension and stress.
Spiritual prayer and religious observance give many people relaxation.
Deep breathing relaxation exercise This is one of the simplest relaxation methods based upon a meditative, deep-breathing technique. There are five things you need to do to prepare for this exercise.
Choose a quiet, comfortable environment where there are few distractions and you won't be disturbed.
Choose a time of day when you won't be disturbed and that you can give this activity its full attention.
Choose a word or phrase that you can repeat, either silently or aloud, while practicing your relaxation. The words on or calm are easy words to use, but any simple word will do.
Develop a passive, let it happen attitude, while practicing the technique. Don't worry about distracting thoughts, when these happen just go back to repeating the word or phrase.
Select a comfortable position. This helps to prevent undue muscular tension. It's better to sit rather than lying down.
Sit quietly in the comfortable position. Close your eyes. Relax all your muscles. Breathe easily and naturally through your nose. Each time you breathe out, say the word or phrase you selected quietly to yourself. Continue this for about 20 minutes. When you're done, open your eyes and sit quietly for several minutes.
Dr. Mike Gropper is an American trained psychotherapist and marital therapist, and the director of SmokeQuitters (www.smokequitters.co.il Contact him at Golan Center, Ahuza 198, Ra'anana, (09) 774 1913, or Shalom Mayer Center, Diskin Street 9A, Kiryat Wolfson, Jerusalem, (02) 563 6265, firstname.lastname@example.org
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