Tips that help reduce stress

Stress, also known as the silent killer, can be defined as a state of mental or emotional pressure resulting from difficult or very challenging situations. Basically, it is life happening all around us and the seemingly insurmountable weight of it all. Life happens to everyone and everyone will (at some point) encounter stress. We all respond to stress in different ways but learning to structure our lives around it can ultimately be a matter of life and death, sickness or good health. Below are a few stress-reducing tips you can try.

Tip #1
Breathe, baby breathe
deep breathing(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
Deep breathing works. It really does. When I had my first child, the doctors and nurses told me to breathe, inhale through your nose (your diaphragm contracts and your lungs expand), and exhale slowly through pursed lips. This was my first introduction to deep breathing and over the years I have found that this technique has many amazing and powerful benefits, mainly being instrumental in reducing stress, improving sleep, optimizing your immune system and so much more. So when faced with a stressful situation, before you become unglued, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply!

Tip #2
Pray, Meditate and Refocus
prayer meditate refocus(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
There are situations that we will encounter that are beyond our human control. We are not super people with super human strength, contrary to popular belief. This life will get crazy and that’s when we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Prayer, like deep breathing, works. It is the understanding that we cannot control or fix everything and everybody that brings us to our knees. Learning to pray sincerely, meditate honestly on God’s word and taking time to refocus on what’s really important in our lives, will reduces stress immensely.

Tip #3
Laugh
laughter(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
This one is fun. Laugh! Hard and loud and until your stomach cramps and the tears soak your cheeks. Laughter is your internal medication, its God’s natural remedy for a soul-ache. What Tylenol does for your headache, good old-fashioned laughter does for your soul’s-ache. It works!

Tip #4
Read a good book
reading a book(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

We can get so caught up in the hub-bub of life that we forget how relaxing it is to sit down with a steamy/hot romance novel or an inspirational self-help book that not only takes your mind off your problems but gives your brain the inspirational work-out that it needs. There have been studies that determine that reading is the work-out your brain needs in order to stay in its optimal health. Reading reduces stress and expands your knowledge; it’s a win-win situation!

Tip #5
Music calms the savage beast (called stress)
listening to music(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

This is another one of my favorite stress relievers. The power of music is remarkable in so many ways and has so many incredible benefits. We can actually calm that beast called stress by listening to our favorite songs, regardless of the genre. Listening to soft classical or jazz can help slow down your pulse and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease stress hormone levels, while up-beat tempo music can help boost your self-esteem, improve your mood, your concentration and so much more. So close your eyes and relax as your stress dissipates into the sounds and rhythms of melodic pleasure.

A few other stress reducers are, going on walks in the evening, riding a bike, working out, watching a sunset, singing, going to the beach, fishing, journaling, road trips, pampering yourself at a day spa, doing Yoga, sitting in a hot tub, going to the movies, volunteering, reading your bible, eating ice cream (or your favorite treat), simplifying your life and spending quality time with good friends and family. Can you think of other ways to minimize stress?
sunset(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

At whatever cost, reduce the stress and relax. YOLO (you only live once)!

Love,
Toni

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Its the little things

I decided to take a break from all my duties today and just climb up in the bed, in my pajamas and listen to smooth jazz while sipping a mocha coffee. I decided to give myself the gift of relaxation.

I told my husband that I wasn’t running any errands and that my two teenage children would have to cook for themselves, mama’s resting today!

I was engrossed in a good book around 2 o’clock this afternoon when the doorbell rang. We don’t get a lot of company so I was curious as to who it could have been.

When I opened the door, I was pleasantly surprised to get a beautiful little package, that I was not expecting. It is truly the precious, little things that make this life beautiful.
!flowers from charles

Thank you husband. I love you too. Through it all. No matter what. For better or worse. Through sickness and health. When times are good and when times are bad. Thank you for the little things!
flowers from charles2

Four unique gifts to give yourself this Christmas!

Christmas tree2
Being the last minute Christmas shopper that I am (I work better under pressure), I decided to add one more name to my shopping list before December 25th. Mine!

I felt like Santa Claus, literally, when I made my list and checked it twice, then a few more times after that. I made sure I had everything within reason for my husband and children. I was even blessed to surprise my family in Oklahoma this year with small gifts and tokens of love. Then I decided to add my own name because, for all the right reasons, I needed a few important things.

The first gift to myself is a lifestyle change. I’m overweight (a little) but it’s a little too much. So, no more dieting and fooling myself with temporary changes that don’t last. I’m giving myself the present of a new mind and outlook on health that will result in better eating habits, consistent exercise and a positive attitude. I will not have high blood pressure or diabetes because of my inability to change!

My second gift to myself is a resolve of inner peace. I will be at peace within myself regardless of what others say or do around me. I’ve had enough stress in my life for a lifetime and I will no longer allow that silent killer to destroy me!

My third gift to myself is a determination to fulfill my destiny. I understand that we all have different paths and not everyone in my life is going in the same direction as I. So, no more distractions, I choose to remain focused so that I may reach my destination of success.

My final gift to myself is love. I will love myself, period. I love myself enough to rid my environment of toxic people, to say no when I really don’t want to do something, to spend time alone enjoying a golden sunrise, and to fulfill my own dreams and not feel guilty about doing so.

The gifts to myself cannot be purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue or Dillard’s or any expensive department store for they are priceless and eternal. So while you’re in the giving spirit this season, remember to give yourself something of perpetual value that will change you for a lifetime. Happy Holidays to all and Merry Christmas to myself!

Love,
Toni

Reflections of Nature (Clouds)

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

clouds one
“The sun always shines above the clouds.” ― Paul F. Davis

clouds two
“So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


“I run like I have cirrus clouds for legs and rainbow knees. What is life, if not a marathon of love?
”
― Jarod Kintz

clouds four
“God is a cloud from which rain fell.” ― Dejan Stojanovic, The Sun Watches the Sun

Love,
Toni