Dr. Bakker’s 7 tips for dealing with tension and anxiety
1. Talk it over
Why do you think many people come to see health-care practitioners? This is because every patient will naturally talk about the physical symptoms they have, but will also launch into how they feel emotionally and issues they face with family, friends and employers. Many confide about what is bugging them, and by talking it out it helps to relieve the strain and tension. Communication allows a person to see their worries and concerns in a different light. You may notice that by talking about your worries and problems with somebody you trust you will often begin to see a clear path. Bottling things up only creates destructive “self-talk” with problems going round and round in your head. You will become a lot less tense, stressed and anxious by discussing issues affecting you, so talk it over.
2. Escape for a little while
Have you ever lost yourself in a good movie or book? Escaping mentally is a great way to alleviate mental pressure and stress. If you have a really important meeting or engagement coming up, escaping for 10 to 20 minutes before the event can work miracles in terms of you being more focused and centered on the mental task at hand. A brief trip like a walk in the park or along the beach is wonderfully refreshing and only takes minutes. Why escape with a glass of wine or rely on recreational drugs and physically punish yourself? People want to free their minds, and by allowing your mind to escape with a book, a musical instrument, prayer, a walk or whatever technique you have developed you will have a “pressure release valve” from the stress and strain of day to day living.
3. Work off your anger
Have you ever felt so angry that you hit an object like a cupboard door, or thrown an object down whilst swearing shouting? Well, you are not alone. If you find yourself using anger as a general pattern of behavior, it is important to remember that anger will always leave you feeling sorry and foolish in the end. If you feel like screaming or lashing out at somebody, try to hold off for just a few minutes, and like most strong emotions it will soon pass. Instead of acting out, busy yourself with some physical exercise like gardening, a long walk or a game of tennis. Working the anger out of the system this way, along with talking it over, will leave you much less tense and more prepared to handle your conflicts and problems more intelligently. Stress has a way of working in on the psyche making some people literally snap. If you regularly “defuse” your anger, you will find that you can act calmly and rationally even under the toughest conditions, and better deflect tension.
4. Are you a perfectionist?
Is your way the highway? Then give in occasionally. Have you noticed that sometimes it is just easier to agree with somebody, even though you KNOW they are wrong and you are right? I have, and it has made me realize that winning doesn’t really matter; keeping the friendship does. Do stand your ground on what you believe is right, but do so calmly and make allowances for the fact that you could be completely wrong. The result will be a huge relief from tension along, with the satisfaction of achievement and maturity. In the end, who cares if you really were right or wrong? One of my favorite sayings goes: “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” If you truly care about your own stress levels, be aware that when you engage in conversation with somebody else that their stress levels will very much influence yours. If you stay calm and the conversation remains calm, you both leave calm and stress-free with a lot less tension.
5. Do one thing at a time
We seem obsessed these days with being able to do two or more things at once, and keep lists of all the tasks we want to complete. Many people are so busy with their own lives but manage to keep on saying “yes, I can do that” and later think “why on Earth did I say yes??” So before you promise to do something for somebody else, first look at your time and needs and make sure you can take on extra work without extra stress. To people under tension, an ordinary work load looks so huge that it’s almost painful to tackle. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, try to tackle the most important task first; you will find that rest flows easily. For example: if you have 10 things to do, just write them all down and mark them in priority with 1 being critically important, 2 moderately and 3 can wait a few days to a week. You have just clarified your priorities and set your mind at ease. And doesn’t it feel good when you can cross that list off? Do one thing at a time and do it well, then move on. By learning when to say no and completing tasks you set yourself you have more “you” time to relax. Are you obsessed with checking emails continually? Learn to slow down and be less accessible by way of phone or email. It is important to remember that you need time to work and time to relax. Try not to blur the whole thing; it can get a bit messy that way and you and your family will suffer.
6. Go easy with criticism
How hard and critical are you with yourself and others? I have found that tense people are often critical people. They tend to be hard on themselves and others. Do you expect a lot from others and then get disappointed when they don’t deliver? Some tense people I have observed can even be considered to be “control freaks” at times. Instead of being critical of others, search out and point out their good points and help them develop their weaknesses without exposing them. Nobody likes to be criticized; do you? Emotional stress and tension is often felt subconsciously with thoughts and feelings about events or people, creating mind-body patterns such as jaw clenching, teeth grinding, insomnia and muscular tension throughout the body the next day. In addition, emotional stress also causes adrenalin to be released, causing muscles to fire up and be tense resulting in pain and more anxiety. By being nice to others, they in turn will be more pleasant towards you and will feel more relaxed because less conflict will occur, and the result means less tension.
7. Regular TPM (twenty peaceful minutes) sessions
Here’s where I am asking for a commitment: I would like you to start regular relaxation sessions for yourself at least 3 times weekly for about 20 minutes at a time. Now be honest: is 60 minutes a week too much? Some folk may spend three times this much just doing something frivolous, like watching TV idly, surfing the internet, chatting on the phone or wasting time by procrastinating. How would you like to have a sense of inner calm and reduced tension and irritability like you haven’t experienced for years? It is so simple, just pick a carpeted floor, not a bed, and lie down on your back. Take your shoes off and loosen your waistband. Make sure you won’t get disturbed—no kids or phones around you, etc. I want you to just relax and take a nice slow deep breath in, being sure to breathe in “through your tummy.” Don’t breathe in a shallow pattern. These mini siestas will rejuvenate your energy, allowing you to stay relaxed and focused well into the evening instead of collapsing on the sofa never to stir again until bedtime. The ultimate time to have your TPM sessions are between 2 – 4.00pm. This is because cortisol (a main stress hormone) is at its lowest point of production during the day and you will naturally feel a sense of “three thirty-itis.” With these sessions, your heart rate will drop, your digestion will relax and you will soon start to experience a sense of inner calm. With a sense of inner calm comes a release of tension; you will actually become aware of the muscles that tighten up when you are more relaxed.
I think that it is as important to schedule these relaxation sessions as it is to schedule your weekly business meetings. The most progressive organizations realize that a highly productive workforce is not achieved by people pushing themselves until they drop. You don’t need to lower your performance standards; you just need to recognize that being at home with the kids or being at work and expecting a high level of productivity requires a high amount of energy, which in turn requires your body to recover as well. I “must be available” is the passionate excuse today for having a cell phone or computer with us at all times. Do you “have to” monitor urgent calls, most of which aren’t urgent at all? By making sure you take regular “time out” from your busy life, you will start to begin to replenish your mental and emotional energy levels and actively diffuse tension in your life.
About the Author
Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website: candidacrusher.com You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org Dr. Bakker’s Blog: www.ericbakker.com
Share and Enjoy