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Simple Tips for Staying Positive and Managing Stress over 50

tips for managing stress imageBy Dr Lynda Shaw

Life moves at break neck speed.  Many people work from the minute they wake to the minute they go to bed.  If it’s not family commitments, it’s work tasks and trying to keep up with social media.  All it takes is one extra little thing and we can feel totally overwhelmed.  A puncture, losing house keys or the dog vomiting on the floor can send us crouching in a corner rocking rhythmically sucking a thumb.

A certain amount of stress is a good thing; it keeps us alert and the stress hormone norepinephrine is needed to create new memories.  But when it’s continuous like that ‘to do list’ that never gets done, it can really cause us harm.

So what can we do to help ourselves that is simple, free and works?

Sitting up straight

This might sound obvious but just sitting up straight whilst at our desk can make a huge difference.  Not only will our posture improve, but aches and pains will diminish and the resultant extra blood and oxygen flow will feed the brain and relax the muscles in the body.

As always, taking time to exercise is essential for clearing the mind and helping us feel calmer.  This makes handling problems and stressful situations so much easier.  In fact, why not try having meetings whilst walking?  This is a really efficient way to reach agreement and be productive because all parties are in a better frame of mind and large desks that act as barriers are removed.  And then when you get back to the office you can serve chamomile, passionflower, skullcap or kava kave tea.  Your guest(s) may think you are totally barmy, but at least they won’t forget you!!

Lack of Control

One of the biggest culprits of stress is a feeling of lack of control.  A great way to combat this is to manage our time effectively with achievable targets.  So make sure the ‘to do list’ is short and realistic, in this way we can be sure to feel good about our achievements of the day thus feeling upbeat and positive.

Eat properly

When we are rushed off our feet, what’s the first thing we neglect?  Eating properly.  It’s so easy to grab something on the run.  But it’s times like this when we need decent vitamins and minerals to have a positive effect on our mind and body in order to cope with the stress.  And don’t forget water.  When we’re dehydrated we can’t think properly, headaches prevail and even nausea, so keep a glass of water on your desk at all times.

Of course, there will be times when we can’t avoid a stressful situation.  We just need to get through it and then use hindsight to work out how we can change things in the future.  Telling others about our feelings and concerns may stop that particular situation from repeating itself.  If it doesn’t at least talking about it may relieve the burden.

Lastly, always remember humour.  The things we stress and worry about are often not that important in the grand scheme of things.


Dr Lynda Shaw

Dr Lynda Shaw has lectured in Psychology and Neuroscience at Brunel University and conducted research on brain function and impairment, specialising in consciousness, emotion and the effects of ageing

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