GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

January 11, 2013

Six ways to reduce stress in 2013

Personal Matters
Susan Britt

---- — One of the best resolutions you can make for a healthier 2013 is to reduce your stress. A good way to do that is to consciously make changes in the way you look at life and the way you live your life. It takes commitment, time and practice, but you can create a life that is more meaningful and less stressful. Here are some things you can do:

Get into the moment. Stop regretting the past and worrying about the future. Practice fully living in the present. Train yourself to pay attention to the sensual details of life as you are experiencing them: the colors, the sounds, the smells, the feelings. You can learn more about this practice, known as “mindfulness” by reading “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Get physical. Take a walk every day. Use your body in activities you enjoy. Local evening schools offer regular opportunities for fun, physical exercise such as country dancing, golf swimming, t’ai chi, fencing and many other pastimes that will help you to relax, recharge and feel good.

Get mental. Make learning an ongoing part of your life. Take courses, read books, attend lectures, ask questions, Research an interesting subject you know nothing about. Learn to draw or play chess with a friend. Choose nature, history or cooking shows to watch so you can expand your knowledge base.

Get spiritual. Spend some time finding your true inner self. It may be through prayer or a daily period of personal quiet time. It may be through meditation or by spending time in nature. Sometimes, it’s through a combination of things. Some helpful books are “Soulwork” by Bettyclare Moffatt, and “ Care of the Soul” and “Meditations” by Thomas Moore.

Get involved. Do something for your community. Volunteer at a hospital. Teach reading or writing for a literacy organization. Offer your services to a shelter for the homeless or domestic violence victims. “Adopt” an elderly, lonely or grieving person.

Get a sense of humor. Learn to look for the comedy in everyday life and make laughter a daily habit.

All of these things are simple and doable and can make an enormous difference in your stress levels and your quality of life.

Based in Rockport, life coach and psychotherapist Susan Britt, M.Ed., teaches people to resolve relationship conflicts, clarify and achieve goals, and accelerate personal growth. Questions and comments may be addressed to her at susanbritt1@verizon.net or 978-546-9431.