From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook March 1999:

Getting A Handle On Stress and Distress

from Rambling Rosebud; via Oklahoma City Ostomy News

  1. WORK OFF STRESS: If you are angry or upset, try to blow off steam physically by activities such as running, playing tennis, or gardening. Even taking a walk can help. Physical activity allows you a "fight" outlet for mental stress.

  2. TALK OUT YOUR WORRIES: It helps to share worries with someone you trust and respect. This may be a friend, family member, clergyman, teacher, or counselor. Sometimes another person can help you see a new side to your problem and thus, a new solution. If you find yourself becoming preoccupied with emotional problems, it might be wise to seek a professional listener, like a guidance counselor or psychologist. This is not admitting defeat. It is admitting you are an intelligent human being who knows when to ask for assistance.

  3. LEARN TO ACCEPT WHAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE: If the problem is beyond your control at this time, try your best to accept it until you can change it. It beats spinning your wheels, and getting nowhere.

  4. AVOID SELF-MEDICATION: Although there are many chemicals, including alcohol, that can mask stress symptoms, they do not help you adjust to the stress itself. Many are habit-forming, so the decision to use them should belong to your doctor. It is a form of flight reaction that can cause more stress than it solves. The ability to handle stress comes from within you, not from the outside.

  5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP AND REST: Lack of sleep can lessen your ability to deal with stress by making you more irritable. Most people need at least seven to eight hours of sleep out of every 24. If stress repeatedly prevents you from sleeping, inform your doctor.

  6. BALANCE WORK AND RECREATION: "All work and no play can make Jack a nervous wreck." Schedule time for recreation to relax your mind. Although inactivity can cause boredom, a little loafing can ease stress. This should not be a constant escape, but occasionally, you deserve a break.

  7. DO SOMETHING FOR OTHERS: Sometimes when you are distressed, you concentrate too much on yourself and your situation. When this happens, it is often wise to do something for someone else, and get your mind off of yourself. There is an extra bonus in this technique--it helps make friends.

  8. TAKE ONE THING AT A TIME: It is defeating to tackle all your tasks at once. Instead, set some aside and work on the most urgent.

  9. GIVE IN ONCE IN AWHILE: If you find the source of your stress is other people, try giving in instead of fighting and insisting you are always right. You may find that others will begin to give in, too.

  10. MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE: When you are bored and feel left out, go where the action is! Sitting alone will just make you more frustrated. Instead of withdrawing and feeling sorry for yourself, get involved. Is there a play or musical coming up? Chances are they will need help backstage. Get yourself back there and somebody will probably hand you a hammer or paint brush.

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Content last revised 1999-03-12