Preventing Stress Through A Healthy Lifestyle

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Title:
Preventing Stress Through A Healthy Lifestyle
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Creator:
Smith, Suzanna
Publisher:
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status:
Published
General Note:
"11/91"
General Note:
"HE-2090"

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Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID:
IR00004585:00001


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FactSheetHE-2090 November1991PreventingStressThroughaHealthyLifestyle1 SuzannaSmithandJoePergola2MAINTAININGGOODHEALTH"Lifestyle"referstopersonalbehaviorsandhabits suchasexercise,eatinghabits,cigarettesmoking, alcoholanddruguse,safety,andstressmanagement. Expertssaythataperson'slifestylehelpshimorher resistthenegativeeffectsofstressandpreventsstress frombecomingaproblem.Youmaywanttofollow theLifestyleGuidelineslistedbelowtomaintainyour healthandpreventstress: Avoid cigarettes .Cigarettesmokingisthesingle mostimportantpreventablecauseofillnessand earlydeath.Theeffectsofsmokingcanbe reversed. Exerciseregularly .Regularexercisehelpspeople ofallageslookandfeelbetter.Differentkinds ofexerciseprovidespecifichealthbenefits. Eat sensibly .Anutritiousdietisessentialfor maintaininggoodhealthandproperweight. If you drink ,drink only in moderation .Alcohol isfrequentlyusedtoreducestressbecauseithas arelaxingeffect.Regular,heavyuseofalcohol leadstodisease.Drinkinganddrivingoftenleads tofatalorcripplingaccidents. Usecare in taking drugs .Althoughdrugsmay providetemporaryrelieffromstresssymptoms, theymaynotsolveongoingproblemsand tensions.Excessiveorcontinueduseofeither prescriptionorillegaldrugsmaycausephysical andmentalproblems. Be safety -conscious .Livingsafelyathome,work, andontheroadpreventsaccidentsandinjuries. Learn to manage stress .Stressisanormalpart ofliving.Threemajorstepstokeepdailystress frombecomingaproblem:taketimetorelax,talk withafriend,andlearntokeepapositive outlook.KEEPINGAPOSITIVEOUTLOOKHaveyouevernoticedthat,whileonepersonsees asituationasaproblem,anotherviewsitasa challenge?Researchshowsthatadultswhoare optimisticmaintainhigherlevelsofmentaland physicalhealththanthosewhoaremorenegative. Thereseemstobeaself-fulfillingprophecyatwork: Whenapersonseesastressorasaproblemorcrisis itislikelytobecomeacrisisbecauseheorshefeels unabletocope.Butwhenapersonseesaneventas somethingthatcanbemanaged,heorsheislikelyto actquicklytosolveaproblembeforeitexhaustsher orhisenergy.Inotherwords,howpeopleperceive thesituationinfluenceshowtheyreact. 1.Thisdocument,FactSheetHE-2090,waspublished11/91,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService.Formoreinformation,contactyourcounty CooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. 2.AssistantProfessor,HumanDevelopment,HomeEconomicsDepartment;andMulti-CountyFamilyLifeandChildDevelopmentSpecialist, HillsboroughCountyExtensionOffice,respectively,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences(IFAS), UniversityofFlorida,Gainesville,Florida. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/JohnT.Woeste,Dean

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PreventingStressThroughaHealthyLifestyle Page2Itisnotclearwhatenablessomepeopleto "seeaglasshalffull"whileothers"seeithalfempty." Outlookmaybeaffectedbytheperson'ssenseof autonomyandcontrol--feelingindependentandin controlofdailylife.Peoplewhofeelincontrolare morelikelytobelievetheycanhandleasituationand areabletopreventitfrombecomingstressful. Peoplewholookatasituationassomethingthatcan behandledareconfidentthatitwillberesolvedand takesstepstoconfrontorsolvetheproblem;thismay preventthesituationfrombecomingworse. Althoughitisimportanttomaintainautonomy andcontrol,itmayalsobeimportanttorecognize whensituationscannotbecontrolled.Thisavoids increasedfrustrationandtension.Whenasolutionis outofreach,themosteffectivecopingstrategymay betochangeyouroutlookby"lettinggo,"ratherthan byforcingasolution.Relaxationexerciseshelpin releasingtension. Anotheroptionistoreframethesituation,thatis, tolookatitinadifferent,morepositivelight.This techniqueoftenhelpsapersontoacceptandtofeel betteraboutthesituation. Toreframeasituationmeanstolookatwhatis happeningwithadifferent,morepositiveattitude. Whenindividualsandfamilieskeepapositiveoutlook theycanstanduptostressmoreeasily.Some examplesofhowyoucanreframecertainsituations appearinTable1.Addyourownexamplesatthe endofthelist. Therearetimeswhenreframingdoesn'tfitthe Table1. Reframing NEGATIVEOUTLOOK POSITIVEREFRAME stubborn determined stingy thrifty bossy aleader loud uninhibited shy quiet picky attendstodetails won'tfollowrules creative/innovative talkstoomuch outgoingsituation.Therearealsotimeswhenitseemsalmost impossibletofeelpositive.Youmaynotbeableto changethesituationoreventolookatinapositive light,butitmaybehelpfultotakewalksoutdoorsand totrytoappreciatetheenjoyableaspectsoflife. Sometimestakingstockofpersonalandfamily strengthsandassetshelpsustoappreciatethe positive. Makealistofthethingsyouenjoyaboutyour life. Withyourfamily,discussthethingsyouenjoy aboutbeingtogether,andthethingsyoulike abouteachother. Talkaboutthethingsyouandyourfamilyare lookingforwardtointhefuture--events,activities, celebrations.Explorewaysyoucancontinueto showyourappreciationforyourindividualand familystrengths.RELAXATIONEXERCISESRelaxationexercisesareeffectivetechniquesfor reducingstress.Theseexerciseshelpyoutofeelless tenseandmorerelaxed.Theresultisagreatersense ofphysicalandemotionalwell-being.Abrief relaxationactivityrequires60to90seconds,soitcan bedoneeasilyandquicklyonthejob,inthecar,or inafewminutesoffreetimeathome. Step1.Assumeapassiveandcomfortableposition. Althoughsittingmaybemostconduciveto relaxation,youcandotheseexerciseswhile standing,ridinginacar,lyingdown,oras youprepareforananticipatedstressfulevent. Step2.Practiceoneormoreofthefollowing activitiesseveraltimeseachday.Thiswill helpkeepyoucalm,andwillreducetension whenitoccurs. Deepbreathing: Exhaleslowly,andtellallyourmusclesto relax.Sayasyouexhale,"Ifeeltensionand energyflowingoutofmybody".Repeatthe aboveexercisefiveorsixtimesandyou'll becomemorerelaxed. Wholebodytension: Tenseeverymuscleinyourbody,staywith thattension,andholditaslongasyoucan withoutfeelinganypain.Slowlyreleasethe tensionandverygraduallyfeelitleaveyour body.Repeatthreetimes.Noticehowyour feelingschange.

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PreventingStressThroughaHealthyLifestyle Page3 Shouldershrugsandheadrolls: Trytoraiseyourshouldersuptoyourears. Holdforthecountoffour,thendropyour shouldersbacktonormalposition.Rotate yourheadandneck.Varythisbyrotating yourshouldersupanddown,andheadand neckaround--firstoneway,thentheother, thenbothatthesametime. Imagineairasacloud: Openyourimaginationandfocusonyour breathing.Asyourbreathingbecomescalm andregular,imaginethattheaircomesto youasacloud--itfillsyouandgoesout. Noticethatyourbreathingbecomesregularas yourelax. Somerelaxationexercisesworkbetterforsome peoplethanothers.Practicewhateverexercisesseem tofityoubest.(Theseexerciseswereadaptedfrom StressandHowtoLiveWithIt .CherylTevis,Ed MeredithCorp.1982.)