Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fargo-Moorhead Meeting Emphasizes Dealing with After-Flood Stress

Because May is Mental Health Month and to help folks in the Fargo-Moorhead Area deal with the stresses caused by the Red River Valley flooding, several organizations held a press conference May 11, to talk about dealing with stress. Some of the tips may be of value to anyone dealing with life's pressures.

Edited from tips from Mental Health America:

Connect with others. Don't try cope with stress alone. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor.

Relax your mind. Listen to soothing music, read a book or do a quiet activity. Also think about deep breathing, yoga, meditation or massage therapy.

Exercise. Exercising relieves your tense muscles, improves your mood and your sleep and increases your energy and strength. Researchers say exercise eases symptoms of anxiety and depression. Take a brisk walk or use a stationery bike. You'll feel better.

Get enough rest. Getting enough sleep helps you recover from the stresses of the day. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Help Others. Helping others builds social networks, improves self-esteem and can give you a sense of purpose and achievement.

Know your limits. Let others know them too. If you're overwhelmed at home or work or with friends, learn how to say "no." It may feel uncomfortable at first, so practice saying "no" with the people you trust the most.

Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts can be a great way to work through issues. Some researchers report writing down painful events can reduce stress and improve health.

Watch your negative self-talk. Try not to put yourself down. For example, if you don't make it to the gym this week, don't call yourself lazy. Focus on the specific factors that may have kept you from going to the gym. "Next week I'll make it a priority to go."

Get involved in spiritual activities. Studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, such as greater coping skills, less anxiety, lower risk of depression. Prayer and meditation can evoke positive emotions and lead to better health.

Write down three good things that happen to you each day for a week. Also write down why each good thing happened. thinking about the good things in your life and expressing gratitude may actually help you feel happier.

Posted by Howard Barlow, NRS, Fargo

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