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How to reduce stress???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Pamela, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Work is so stressful right now. Ugly politics going on and I'm caught in the middle. And on the home front I have a family member with terminal cancer. Lots of sleepless nights. And, of course, an impending "major milestone" birthday isn't doing anything to brighten my mood.

    How do I de-stress? What works for you?
     
  2. DennisHP

    DennisHP Second Unit

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    Anything that totally distracts you from these things should help. Try a book or a movie. Exercise is supposed to relieve tention but I find there is too much time to think during exercise. Distraction works for me.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    There's stress, and then there's *stress*. I think you deal with them differently, and it sounds like you've got *stress*. While escapist activities can provide temporary relief, I think constructive activities are necessary to help relieve stress in the long-term. Here's some activities I've found helpful:

    - church, prayer, meditation, bible study with friends

    - talking with friends, family

    - group activities with friends (games, sports, movies, dinner)

    - reading

    - exercise

    - movies

    - counseling

    - listening to music
     
  4. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    Talk about it w/ somebody. They can be family close friend whatever. The more you talk the more you clarify things. It's basically therapy on the cheap.
     
  5. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    In the past when I have had higher levels of stress I would use several different activities:

    1. Walking, either with headphones to listen to music or in an area where more natural sounds are available (birds, etc). At first it is hard to sort through the jumble of thoughts but eventually they form into a more coherent and managable jumble.

    2. Reading an old favorite book. A childhood favorite can be particularly enjoyable. For me, this is my Chronicles of Narnia series or the Oz series. Both allow me to relax and take myself back to simpler and quieter times.

    3. In the cases where the stress is making me angry at someone, a physical activity (working out, yard work, chopping wood, etc) can help get the stress out of my system.

    4. Watch a favorite movie. The Last Unicorn is one of my favs in this catagory (although it is not yet on DVD).

    Those are some of the ones I use. Hope that helps.

    Kenneth
     
  6. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    This is the perfect thread for me right now. I'm in a similar boat, not the least of which involves work politics, which are draining however you look at it.

    All good suggestions so far. The best way to relax is to fight the instinct to keep everything on a conscious level.

    I have been coping with pronounced anxiety disorder for most of my adult life, and in the therapy groups they taught us to meditate. Granted, it's different for each person, but it always helps to focus on your breathing. To block everything else out, in fact, except for your breathing. When you breathe in, imagine all the good seeping in, and when you breath out, expel the negative.

    I realize this sounds a bit 'New Age'ey, but it is a good place to start. Sometimes the more we frantically try to organize our thoughts, the more jumbled they become. We fear that if we let those worries, fears, and doubts out, they will never get resolved. Well, the opposite is true.

    Stress and politics at work is almost always caused by lack of communication and misrepresentation. If people would all take more time to let their thoughts and perceptions breathe (and trust that those thoughts will not simply fall into oblivion if we let them go for a while), life would be much more manageable.

    Joseph
     
  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  8. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    Gardening is great, especially if you've got a hedge trimmer and a hedge. (Don't worry - severe pruning won't hurt most of them and you'll work off a lot of stress [​IMG] )
    Exercise works well for me as long as I've got music or TV going to keep my mind from thinking about the stressful issues.
    I also try to relax when I feel stressful. I try to relax every muscle in my body while conciously resolving not to worry over what is stressing me.
    Depending on what's causing the stress, a light book or movie can sometimes be helpful. Sometimes it takes something a little stronger [in my case, watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre, followed by the hedge trimming episode. You can guess what the hedge looked like... ]. But sometimes that won't work and books and movies are worse than nothing at all. But maybe that's just me.
    And finally - talk about it and vent to HTF when it becomes too much [​IMG]
     
  9. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    I would attempt to eliminate a major stressor from your life and since caring for someone with cancer is probably not an option to rid yourself of, I would try to remove yourself completely from the office stress. I mean, as best you can.

    If you can get to a position where you feel - hey, I am done with that...I dont care how mad you are, but I feel better about it...at least then you can concentrate on the other things in your life.

    dont worry about the birthday. Birthdays are a self imposed nightmare - play it down in your mind. its just a day...celebrate your life some other day, any random day later on when you feel better and can enjoy it.

    good luck.
     
  10. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    I find a combination of things works best for me. When I get really stressed I:

    1. Make an effort to work out more (I find that really helps my stress levels, though when you get stressed there is a temptation to skip the gym)

    2. Buy myself a toy (DVDs, computer games, clothes, anything really)

    3. Try to set aside some time to speak about the stress with my fiancee (she always gives me a good perspective)

    Good luck trying to sort out your stuff, I hope some of the advice you'll find on the HTF helps.
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Beer works nicely for me.

    But, as Julie said, talking things out helps--and it looks as if you've started doing just that.
     
  12. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

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    Two things that everyone can do anytime: Slow-methodic stretching of the neck, arms, hands, torso, and legs. Coupled with deep breathing.
    If done right (with relaxing thoughts) it is a guaranteed stress remover! [​IMG]
     
  13. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I pound the crap out of my drums!
     
  14. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Sex? Smoking? Drinking? [​IMG]
    Actually, I've found the most stressful situations aren't really all that stressful, they just "seem" that way in your own mind. Now the family member with cancer, that's real and is just a horrible situation. Work stress, hey it's there in some form, but you know what, it's not worth it to let it rule your life (the stress), it's only a job, do the best you can and ignore the politics, if you can't ignore them follow the simple 3 letters CYA (cover your ass) and you'll come out fine. And hey, there are tons of other jobs out there if it does become to much to deal with.
    Also, keep in mind that no matter how bad you have it now, somebody somewhere is going through a lot worse of a situation (shitty thing to say, but it's still true).
    As far as removing stress, most of the above mentioned things work, but are more short term things. Of course therapy and shrinks can do a lot to help talk out problems and such, and is definately worth a look if it becomes to much.
    Life is to short to be living in misery.
    Andrew
     
  15. DaleR

    DaleR Stunt Coordinator

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    my fiance takes long baths. living with me she takes lots of long, long baths.
     
  16. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    Talking helps me a lot but what helps me most is practicing karate. You get good exercise, you're too busy to "think", and you get to hit people or practice bags. Sometimes I practice a lot.
     
  17. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Let me try a "Dr. Phil" approach-
    1. Work Politics- why reduce yourself to this petty crap? I REFUSE to play politics at work, maybe because I am simple-minded. Try simply refusing to partake, or be a part of anyone's petty issues.
    2. Relative with Terminal Cancer- are you a doctor that nearly, but not quite, has developed a cure? No? Then, there is nothing you can do to help the terminal case. What's important is that you and your loved one spend time together, enjoy it, reflect on the good stuff, and let them go when they are ready.
    3. Major birthday- I used to tell my students in Nuclear Power School (a very arduous and fast-paced schooling, with a high attrition rate), when they complained about being stressed over the next test, that "stress is that which we create, within ourselves, over things we haven't done. No one, in the history of man, has become stressed over accomplishing TOO MUCH." One might assume that could be the case here. Make a list- and get busy checking it off.
    I am not without compassion on the cancer thing. I lost my mother to cancer a month before my 5th birthday (and everyone else on that side of the family, except my uncle, since then). I can remember time with her vividly, and she always had a smile for me when I went to visit at the hospital (she was in and out for a year, and stayed for the last six months). I am grateful that she was my mother for that time, and remember her as the nicest person I've ever known. I can never remember a time when she had a cross word for me (I've always been a "good kid," so maybe that's why). When I needed a bit of discipline, she would take me to my grandma's house. I remember touching her hand, in the coffin, just before they closed it. I also remember not crying, but just accepting it for what it was- oh, to be able to go back to that way of thinking! I don't wish it would have happened any differently, simply because that is desparately futile. The one thing that I do wish, is that just for an instant, my 10 month-old daughter could meet the wonderful woman she is named for.
    Sorry for the ramble, and thanks for letting me share. Live your life, change what you can, stop trying with what you can't. Hakuna Matata, Carpe Diem, and all that good stuff, you know.
    Todd
    P.S. I'm an engineer, and troubleshooter/problem solver by trade. I tend to see things in black&white, cut&dry, what is the underlying issue to the symptoms, etc. As such, you may find my advice utterly useless and full of crap.[​IMG]
     
  18. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Wow! So many great replies. Thank you! I don't mean to wallow in self pity. Actually, I was gonna title this post, "Does anybody want to give me a good, swift kick in the ass?" I think Todd just gave me a little boot! [​IMG]
    I'm going to take all this advice and process it. And I'll make it a point to include the sex, alcohol and smoking!
    Truth be told, I've got a big ol' bottle of Bombay Sapphire waiting at home with my name on it!
     
  19. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

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    How to reduce stress???
    GET LAID! [​IMG]
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Do something different!
    I rarely drink (alcoholic beverages). After my brother died, I had to run out with a good friend, pick up some cheap wine (Boone Farm's Strawberry, I think) and some wine coolers, and had a few drinks with my dad and friend. No big deal, but it was out of character for me, and helped me relax a bit.
    I've also picked up new hobbies in dealing with stress the past few years -- initially escapist activities, that I turned into constructive past-times to help me ragain focus on more important things in the thick of troubles.
    Tell jokes. Tell funny and embarassing stories with family and friends about your ill loved one (seriously, dark humor is very therapeutic [​IMG] )
    Tell a friend to plan your birthday party (requring it to be fun) and then forget about it.
    And, of course, work to get perspective and remove the stress. Is the work stress actually a big deal? Can you get out of the struggles, or work as the peacemaker to resolve the problems? Can you get a new job, if it's really bad?
    Birthday? Celebrate your wisdom, life, and have a big party! Focus on the celebration and not the imagined negatives.
    Sick loved ones? That's really hard. Get help dealing with the responsibilities and work that's probably involved. And hopefully by removing other stresses, this becomes more manageable.
    Take care!
     

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