8 easy steps stress-proof lives

| February 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Lane, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division

Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Lane
209th Aviation Support Battalion
25th Combat Aviation Brigade
25th Infantry Division

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Whether someone close to you has ended up in the hospital, your finances are a mess, there’s a tsunami warning, your significant other is driving you crazy, the baby won’t stop crying or your boss is breathing down your neck, stress is all around us.

It can empower or defeat us. It all depends on how you react.

Some stress can be healthy and inspire us to new heights when we try something exciting and new, some stress encourages us to ask for what we want (maybe a raise) or some even just helps us to get out of bed in the morning.

Healthy approaches to stress

Here are eight things you can do, right now, to lessen your cortisol (stress hormone) and keep your smile shining bright:
1) Exercise. Whether you like to swim or hit the weights or run, this is the best way to de-stress while working (preparing to pass your APFT). Try 150 minutes a week to build new brain cells, per Psychology Today.
2) Sleep, especially when the Army is not in control of your schedule. Most studies show that anything under five hours a night on a prolonged basis can cause hormonal imbalances and anger issues. (This could explain a lot on deployments!)
3) Set goals and reach them. If you hate planners like a lot of Joes I know, start with one attainable goal each day and check it off your list. Focus on the positive forward momentum in your life to create more of the same.
4) Give it away. Just like the Red Hot Chili Peppers said (Yes, I am dating myself!), acts of kindness make us feel better. This can be done easily during the holidays with kind words, homemade cards, small gifts, flowers, food or the best gift … love. Try it and see how good you feel.
5) Find good social support. You can incorporate No. 4 with this one and leave nice compliments, etc., for friends on Facebook or LinkedIn. Might seem simple, but by building your “network” you are actually building your resiliency.
Studies show that your brain reacts the same to physical and emotional pain. However, those with greater social support in their daily lives have lessened reactions to pain (in the brain).
6) Reinvent yourself. Take negative experiences, such as spilling tea all over your foreign dinner guests (that was me), and turn it into a positive. (We got to know each other better and faster!)
7) Focus on the “good stuff.” Write down (whether in an email or journal or Facebook) at least one thing each day that is good.
8) Deep breathing/meditation/prayer (depending on your spiritual practices). I saved the best for last … studies show that these three physiologically regulate your emotions and lessen the negative “fear” activity in the amygdala – you can call it combat meditation, etc., if it helps you. These are used training SWAT teams, Special Forces, professionals in psychology and chaplains.
Next time it all seems a little much, try several of these and see how you feel. It may surprise you how much little changes can have big impacts shedding unwanted stress.

I would like to take this opportunity to pray for lessened stress and creative outlets for Hawaii’s Soldiers, leaders and their families. Amen.

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Category: Standing Columns

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