Three Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Daily Routine Without a Big Hassle

Dealing with stress from events as rush hour traffic and problems at work can be stressful in and of itself. And you really have no time to devote to stress relievers as meditation and yoga. For example, if you are new to either or both meditation and yoga, you have to take additional time to learn how to benefit from them and then keep practicing until you’ve got them down pat. These efforts can result in even more stress.

One way to avoid these and other problems is integrating those efforts in your daily routine. For example, you can see what happens to you in a humorous way. In other words, imagine someone else dealing with your situation. Would that person suddenly begin to run in all different directions and still get nowhere? Would that person take the wrong step from the get-go and compound his or her problems? What would be the funniest thing that happens to that person? You’ll then be able to get a good laugh without having to interrupt your present activity.

Another way to reduce stress without taking extra time is by doing something else for a half hour or so. That way, you’ll still be getting things done. While you’re involved in the new activity, you interrupt the stress from the first activity. This technique is especially useful if you have writers’ block and find that your efforts to begin that report or story just don’t seem to be going anywhere. Instead of forcing yourself to produce, take a short time-out and have some lunch or do something else that is more relaxing. When you are ready to work on that report or story, you will find that ideas and words come more easily and what’s more, you complete that project in a more timely manner.

And finally, you can reduce stress with exercise. As you work around the house, for example, turn on hit music on the radio (or other dance music that you enjoy) and work more vigorously or dance along with that mop or broom. You can also jump rope if you have a minute to spare. You’ll find that you feel more relaxed by the time you are finished. But even more surprisingly, you’ll find that this works, especially when your stress seems to have reached an all-time high.

Even best of all, you’ll discover that you didn’t have to take a lot of extra time just to reduce those high stress levels. You’ve combined those activities during your normal routine and have succeeded!

The Top 10 Ways to Reduce Violence

I happen to live near the one of the tragic “school shootings” of the recent past, and I’ve seen how the grief, anger, heartache and turmoil have impacted our community. It has brought home that a general abhorrence of violence is not enough. While I’m sure others will have different, and perhaps wiser, suggestions about how to reduce violence, here are my Top 10 Ways to Reduce Violence. If you can improve them, I welcome your feedback, but I suspect it may be more important and more useful if you write a letter to your local newspaper or school board. Together, we can reduce and perhaps eliminate violence.

1. Disconnect anger from violence. I am convinced that human beings get angry, and that anger at injustice is often justified. There is healthy anger that insists, “There has to be a better way!” I shutter when I hear parents tell children, “You shouldn’t be angry.” Tell them instead, “You’re feelings are OK, you can be angry, but you may not hit or hurt others.”

2. See the connection between the love of violence and violence itself. Fascination with brutality, guns and bombs, war and evil must increase the chances for violent behavior. I can’t prove that, it just seems likely to me.

3. See the connection between all levels of violence. Insults and taunting, humiliation and shaming are forms of violence. When we treat people badly, it should not surprise us when they seek a way to “get even.”

4. Take all violence seriously. Playground bullies and sibling rivalries do not have to be accepted as part of life, at least not when children are getting hurt. Kids squabbling over “my toy” is one thing; hitting or pulling hair or knocking each other down is something else. We do not have to accept it as normal behavior.

5. Take troubled, angry people seriously. We talk about needing more early intervention with troubled kids, and I agree. But people of all ages get trapped in situations they can’t handle, with emotions they don’t know how to express. Domestic violence, violence among co-workers and among children should always be treated as a serious matter. Hitting and hurting, and threatening to hurt, are not OK.

6. Deal with the availability of guns. Knives, cars, and a thousand other things also kill people, but guns have a unique place in the American imagination. Of course, they also have a place in the rich tradition of hunting and target shooting. I don’t have all the answers, but hunting seems different than having military-style weapons available in millions of homes across the country. There must be a better system.

7. Acknowledge the connection between violent images and violent behavior. I abhor censorship, so this is a tough one. But if 30-second images can sell us lipstick and Buicks, and change the way we vote, it seems likely that hours and hours of explosions, shootings, fights and mayhem may also influence behavior. To be blunt, I am particularly troubled by the violence in video games and the number of violent “action adventure” movies we support as a culture. Something strange is going on!

8. Acknowledge the connection between sports and violent behavior. Again, sports is a sacred icon in American culture, but it seems that sports have been separated from athletics. Instead of every child participating in gym class and competing in intramural sports, we have a culture of super-hero super-stars who are virtually above the law. Hockey, basketball, football and other sports all tolerate behavior that would result in arrest for assault outside the sports arena. Competition and fitness are valuable; organized violence is not acceptable!

9. Acknowledge the connection between language and violence. Business uses the language of the battlefield, and sports is full of encouragement to “get out there and kill”, “massacre them”, and “beat their brains out”. Our legal system is based on the idea of lawyer’s doing battle. While hiring a representative to fight with words instead of clubs was a huge step forward in the middle ages, perhaps our society is ready for an even higher level of conflict resolution.

10. See the violence in ourselves. Sometimes I find myself so angry I “daydream” about violence, or “really showing them”. I hear jokes that use the phrase, “Just shoot the bastards!” I know if “looks could kill” or if cutting statements actually drew blood, I’d be in deep trouble. Violence is not just someone else’s problem. I must work for peace, love and improved conflict resolution in my own life. How about you?

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