stress reduction

In my most recent blog, I addressed the negative implications stress has on our health. In my book the Power of 5, and in previous blogs, I provide specific recommendations and techniques that can be employed to reduce our stress burden.

As a coincidence, at a recent medical conference I attended, I was delighted to hear that our medical community (as well as other professional organizations) is beginning to address concerns about burnout within our profession. There is a growing recognition of the role stress and frustration plays in our society. During this presentation, I was gratified by the recommendations that we all make efforts to find outlets outside of work to relieve stress. I’d venture to expand that to life/family stresses that you may be dealing with.

What causes you stress?

Think about this and identify your specific stressors, write them down so you can analyze ways within your world that will help to reduce those stressors. I often do this same activity. I will identify many of the activities I personally incorporated in my life in just the last few months to offset the burden of stress I faced. In fact, it was such a long list, I subcategorized.

How do we find our outlets for stress? It will be different for all of us. We are all very busy with work and family commitments. Finding work-life balance to reduce stress is essential to our health and well-being.

I maintain a consistent exercise regimen for my physical, emotional and social health.
– Spinning 45 minutes 3 times a week (followed by 15- 20 minutes of meditation).
– Personal training 60 minutes 2 times a week (followed by 15- 20 minutes of meditation).
– Using a medicine ball to take out any aggression I might have been feeling – a special bonus.
– Golf 2 rounds (male bonding time with friends)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Attended two Tampa Bay Rays baseball games with friends, and got 2 wins!

Working on My Photography Hobby
I reviewed and selected the best photos from my trip to South America and selecting just the right frames to then get hung for display in the exam rooms in my office. It’s so nice to speak with my patients about the nature photos and hear how they enjoy seeing the beautiful photos of my travels … a very gratifying feeling.

Take Yourself Out of Your Environment
My wife and I love to travel to places where we can explore by foot as well as enjoy hiking opportunities. Getting out in nature is an immediate stress reducer for me. You don’t have to get on an airplane to get into nature and clear your head. There are recreational parks and trails everywhere. You just have to find where they are in your area and make a date with yourself to enjoy them. Maybe cooking or art helps you to de-stress. Seek to find what works for you.

I have to admit that there is a lot of effort involved in planning my anti-stress activities but it pays in dividends in both the long and short run. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have a wife who is accepting of me spending my time in my hobbies, exercise and travel endeavors. Few individuals are as talented as my wife at planning our time off, enabling us to get the most bang for our buck in stress reduction along the way.

A Call to Action

Evaluate the stresses in your life, write them down and then incorporate consistent daily/weekly activities to combat the stress. Track your activities to keep a pulse on if the stress-reducing activity is helping. If not, change it up. Paying attention to your stress will insulate you from the danger it poses in the form of inflammation and illness that can lead to chronic disease.

To a Long and Healthy Life,
Dr. Bernstein

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