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Prevent Stress – How to Create New Options in Your Life

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RISMEDIA, July 29, 2008-Would you like to find control buttons to reverse your stress overload? If so, you might want to try a new technique of seeing how many good options you can invent.

You might invent a new way to approach housework, a relationship problem, or a project at work.

For example, let’s say you hate grocery shopping. You go every Friday night, and it’s a pain to start every weekend this way.

What if you decided, instead, to shop every third Saturday morning?

Also, what if you treated yourself to breakfast at a good restaurant before going to the grocery store?

Or, you might decide to exercise a new option by setting limits with your grown children. You might say, “I love keeping the grandkids, but I don’t want to baby-sit every single Saturday.”

These messages are part of Judi Light Hopson’s podcasts, pinpointing the 12 areas of inventing stress management options.

Consider a business owner we’ll call Alicia. Alicia knew something had to change when she yelled at her daughter-in-law a couple of weeks ago.

Alicia returned to her office one afternoon after lunch. Her 3-year-old granddaughter was sitting behind her desk.

“My daughter-in-law, who’d gone shopping, had left the child with my assistant,” Alicia says, rolling her eyes. “Since I was going to participate in a major conference call, I had to literally park my granddaughter in the restroom with my assistant, so I could focus on the callers,” Alicia reports.

If people, pressures, the clock, or random mishaps are running over your boundaries, start to think of ways to turn the tide.

Could you do things differently? Could you state a limit with someone? Could you ask a favor of a friend to reduce your stress?

We advised Alicia that her daughter-in-law might be overwhelmed herself. We encouraged the two of them to talk, and Alicia reports that her stress is now under control.

“I’ve offered to baby-sit every other Saturday for six hours,” says Alicia. “My poor daughter-in-law has four kids and never gets a break.

“By giving her the option of leaving the four kids with me, two Saturdays a month, she can make plans to get her hair done or run errands.”

In your circle, make an enjoyable game out of inventing new options to curb stress. See how many problems and sticky issues you can find solutions to.

Ron, a policeman whom we’ve known for years, says he loves the create-an-option game. “Any thinking adult or older child can create new ways of making stress go down,” says Ron.

“My kids came up with our new housecleaning attack plan. We turn on rock music and all work together like mad for an hour two or three times a week.”

A doctor we’ll call Charles said his father-in-law had a heart attack the day before his daughter’s wedding. “We exercised the best option we could think of,” says Charles.

“We sent the limo carrying the bride and groom from the reception to the hospital for a visit with my father-in-law-and then on to the airport.”

Charles said his father-in-law was thrilled. “The bride and groom hitting the hospital in full wedding attire made the local newspapers.”

Just visit www.jemsprepare.com and click on the Wellness Cafe icon at the top of homepage. Scroll down to the heading of Work/Life Leadership to listen, download, and share the information freely with others.

Judi Hopson and Emma Hopson are authors of a stress management book for paramedics, firefighters and police, “Burnout To Balance: EMS Stress.” Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.

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