Friday, January 30, 2009

Turn Stress into Strength

Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, says many women don't realize they are addicted to stress because they are not paying attention to their own needs. "Instead of helicoptering over everyone else and their happiness, it's time to helicopter over yourself and identify that pattern of [being an] overdoer at home and at work," she says. Debbie shares ways to combat stress and turn it into useful energy.
Photo:© 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

Reclaim Your Identity

Find the hidden girl within! Who were you before you became a wife, mother or colleague? What makes your heart sing? What do you enjoy doing? "You need to go back to the basics of your identity," Debbie says. Think about what you like to do and ask others what you are good at doing and write these things down. Debbie says you should ask yourself, "What is it I want to accomplish for myself instead of other people?"

Learn to Become a Healthy Narcissist
You don't need to be self-obsessed to be a healthy narcissist, Debbie says. Instead, engage in good self-care, she says. "Dress to please yourself and for success," Debbie says. "Your accessories, anything about you, even the jewelry you wear—whether it is costume or it is real or it is fun—it expresses who you are, your identity to others."

Build a Healthy Body
Lift weights to lift your spirit or take an aerobics class to sweat away the stress of the day, Debbie says. "Because I am exercising and feeling fit and energetic and ridding myself of stress, I will [also] eat healthy, because my body is my temple," she says.

Cultivate Your Sense of Fun and Humor
Reduce problems and stress to absurdity by looking at life with a sense of humor, Debbie says. Then, learn some jokes, read funny books and watch funny TV shows. "If you keep looking at 'funny,' it will become a part of you," Debbie says. "Pretend you are a detective and you've got this eye for humor. I think if you find someone who makes you laugh or smile, conjure that up [during a stressful moment], and it just breaks the perspective immediately."

Jump-Start Your Libido
Women get depleted from their constant to-do list, and sex is often the last thing on their minds, Debbie says. "A woman has to relax, she has to be in a good zone, and if she is stressed, [sex] is just not going to happen," she says. "There has to be a point where you say, '[Intimacy] is special for me, and I am scheduling it and I am making time,' and then everything will be better for you because you will be happier. This is a way to harness your power."

Reframe Your Thoughts
When people get upset, they create a negative stories. Why not make your stories positive instead? "Come up with a way to create a positive story where you are the heroine, and this way you build up immunity to all this negativity," Debbie says.

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