Taking the Edge Off

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Taking the Edge Off

Our mood can influence how we show up in life, our decisions, our behaviors, our interactions with others, and ultimately our health. There is no part of the body that is separate from the other, what impacts our spiritual health, will impact our mental/emotional health, and these imbalances will cause rise to physical manifestations and it soon becomes a vicious cycle.

Stress, the greatest example that will rec havoc on even the most joy-filled people can quickly dampen one’s mood without warning. Stressful situations may be instantaneous, last the entire day, a prolonged event, or a new normal. Regardless of the duration it is packaged with a myriad of adverse impacts. For many, the normal response is usually to reach for an outlet to help take the edge off the stressful situation. Outlets will vary from person to person that includes food, alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes, recreational drugs, shopping, gambling, and participating in various forms of reckless behavior all to numb the discomforts that the stressful situation has brought on. All of these aforementioned outlets can lead to potentially hazardous conditions that impact the relationship the individual is having with themselves, with others, and with God, which is what lends credence to the vicious cycle.

For the person with the gambling outlet, what looks like a few hands of cards and meager bets to take your mind off of a long hard day at work can over time turn into higher bets and extended time spent outside the home if left unmonitored. Higher bets ultimately lead to financial problems; extended time away from your family leads to marital problems; now your stress outlet has created additional life stressors. With more stress comes a greater need for additional outlets to numb the dissatisfaction that life can sometimes bring until it snowballs into a multi-factorial problem. Walking through life anesthetizing your true feelings about life and how it has unfolded is currently the societal norm. Unfortunately, numbing your feelings about a problem helps you to temporarily not feel, it does nothing for the problem itself except in many cases create bigger problems. Finding more positive and constructive outlets to coping with the various stressors that life brings can enhance your health instead of continually extract from it.

Positive & Productive Edgers

1) Enjoy everything in life in moderation, including moderation itself. There are many rich pleasures in life that are more thoroughly enjoyed in small doses and infrequent intervals so that you can stay on the controlling end of the experience while you momentarily take the edge off.

2) When caught in a stressful situation that has you on the verge of losing control of yourself sit or stand with both feet firmly planted on the floor, open hands so that fingers are spread apart, take 5 deep breaths by breathing in with your nose and out with your mouth before responding with words and/or actions that you otherwise might regret.

3) Write daily in a gratitude journal so you can always look for and remember the various things throughout each day that brought joy and meaning to your life.

4) Write in a thought processing journal on a regular basis or when you feel emotionally charged by life.

5) Embrace the power of movement to release pinned-up emotions: Pound the pavement by taking a run in your favorite pair of sneakers; dance, dance, dance like no one is watching; cycle around a scenic trail and back; sweat while you flex in a hot yoga class. Regardless of how you choose to move, just move.

6) Remember the humorous side of life by laughing at yourself and enjoying the experience of laughing with others.

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