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How Do You Spell Relief?

Now we are at the final blog of our “How Do You Spell Relief?” series. The final letter is F, standing for “fake it till you make it. “

This may simply mean keep smiling. It’s difficult to stay feeling really low when you’re smiling. Besides you might brighten up somebody else’s day as well.

But “fake it ‘til you make it” might also mean doing something called “thought stopping”. If you find yourself listening to that little voice in your head saying, “It’s no use I’ll never get this done in time.”, or “I can’t stand waiting in this line. I’ll just scream!”, or similar thoughts that our minds like to share with us – STOP. This mental garbage does nothing but create more stress and drain your energy.

How to do “thought stopping”.

  1. One way is to simply say stop or cancel to ourselves. It might be necessary to say it out loud or in a whisper if you’re not in private.
  2. Try distracting yourself. Immediately start an activity like taking a walk, singing a song, or calling someone on the phone.
  3. You can also “substitute” to stop negative thought patterns. This is the perfect time to repeat the affirmations you created in the “Imagination” blog. Or find a way to turn the negative sentence around to sound more positive. Here’s an example: “I hate this place. I never have a good time here.” Try changing that thought to: “This situation is an opportunity for me to learn new ways to enjoy myself.” If that sounds too sweet to be true, laugh at yourself and know that faking it can be fun. That thought itself could be the stress reducer you were looking for.

So now you know how to spell RELIEF.

R for relaxation. You know that your body reacts to stress, and that some illnesses can be the long-term result of not dealing with your early and late warning signs. Remember to check yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 so you can deal with the stress affects before they take over.

E for exercise or physical activity. Help erase some of those harmful stress chemicals with a brisk walk or dance around your living room. Make it fun, make it part of your daily routine and keep it moving.

L keeps you laughing. Get your body’s illness fighting machine revved up. Remember to do some fun things for yourself. Watch one of your favorite comedies, call up a friend who always makes you smile or read a humorous book.

I for imagination. Let your mind work for you instead of against you. Create affirmations  or visualizations that bring up soothing scenes and memories. Link some pleasant memories or sensations with potentially stressful situations to manage tension.

Then E for energize. List your drains and gains. Try linking some gains with draining situations. Keep refilling your energy storage throughout the day before they are depleted. Remember to do some rejuvenating activities.

And remember all of the tips we just listed for F, “fake it till you make it.”

Over the weeks there’s been a lot of tips for dealing with stress. Just choose one and start doing it today. It may be as simple as taking this suggestion: If you keep doing what you’re already doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve already got.
Here is a reminder that on April 22, at 10am, Liz Barta, our RN educator at Catalina In Home Services, Inc., is presenting online to address stress management, with a focus for caregivers. This talk is sponsored by Tucson Medical Center For Seniors program. Here is the link to register for this free presentation: