Tips to de-stress and be a happier version of yourself

Most Americans experience high levels of stress due to our fast paced consumer lifestyles.  We work longer hours so we can buy, buy, buy.  Because we are constantly stretching our dollar, their never seems to be enough.  This leads to financial stress, which leads to arguments with your significant other, which leads to tension in the home, which leads to yelling at your kids for no reason, which leads to guilt, which leads to worrying, which leads to poor sleep, which leads to chronic fatigue, which leads to a short temper and irritability, which causes stress for yourself and those around you.  It is a vicious circle that is very difficult to get out of.  I compare it to the amusement park ride that you stand up against the wall of a cylinder as it spins increasingly faster until the floor drops out from under you, at which point you are held up against the wall by centripetal force (this ride was called 'The Hell Hole' at the local amusement park of my youth). You are stuck to that wall, much the same as you are stuck in the cycle of stress.  The question then, is how do we get the ride operator to stop the darn ride so we can get off?  The truth is, it is going to take some hard work from you, or for the person next to you to lose their lunch.  Hopefully this article can supply you with some reminders and tools to make the light at the end of the tunnel a little easier to see. 

Step 1.  As the pop legend Michael Jackson said, "I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways."  That's right. We have to first take a look at ourselves to see if any of our habits are contributing to our stress.  Do I really need to buy my son the new PS4 game?  Do I need to buy a new car?  Do I need to book the best vacation possible?  Think about when you were a kid.  What are you best memories?  Are they about some new video game, about riding around in a tricked out Hummer, about some extravagant vacation, or are they about the times in between.  About some seemingly unimportant event that just sort of happened?  Remember we can't buy happiness.  We can buy experiences, we can buy snapshots of happiness, but true happiness comes from within and from relationships.

Step 2. What have you done for you lately?  It is important to take some time for yourself everyday.  Do something you love or something that makes your body happy.  Meditate, pray, walk, jog, garden, go to a park and take some photos, or whatever else tickles your fancy.  The point is to do an activity that is solely for the purpose of bringing yourself joy.  A little joy goes a long way.  If you are having a hard time finding the time, block off 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening for quiet reflection/meditation.  A good tip to help you get up in the morning a little earlier is to remember that our sleep cycle typically takes 90 minutes.  Plan ahead and go to sleep 6 or 7.5 hours before you plan on waking up. You can add on the time it typically takes you to fall asleep.

Step 3. Push all the right buttons with a little acupressure. The following list of points/areas can be massaged throughout the day. 

Pericardium 6 is located 3 finger widths from the crease on your wrist in between the two tendons. This point can be used to calm your mind as well as your stomach area.  If you find stress and anxiety cause you to get stomach cramps or the need to go to the restroom, this point might be a good one for you.

Heart 7 is located at/near the wrist crease on the pinky finger side of your wrist. It is located just on the inner side (toward the middle of your wrist) of the tendon running over this area. This is a great point to help with sleep and calming your mind.

Kidney 1 is located on the bottom of the foot in the middle just below the thick padding of your forefoot. This point is very grounding, so if you find your temper flaring or feel like everything is going in an upward direction, this may be a good point for you to massage. 

Yin Tang is located just between the eyebrows. This is a general sedation point. You can either apply pressure right on the point, or you can massage from yin tang directly up to your hairline. This is a great one to do, or even better have done for you right before bed.

Ear Shen-Men is a great point to help calm and reset your body.  Massage this area of your ear several times throughout the day.  Actually massaging the entire ear is of great benefit for your overall health as the ear is a microsystem (representation) of the entire body. 

Step 4: Social media and your mood.  Everyone's life can seem perfect on social media.  We post to make sure everyone knows how awesome our life is.  We post to make sure everyone knows what a good parent, husband, lover, child, employee, etc we are.  We post to keep up with the Jones'.  It is very easy to get caught up in this ideal world of falsehoods and feel like you are somehow damaged or less than.  If using social media makes you feel jealous, angry, left out, or like a failure, then maybe it is time to take a break.  It is important to remind yourself of how blessed your life truly is.  No matter what your situation is, 99% of the time there will be a large number of people wishing they had your life. Volunteer at a food bank, homeless shelter, hospice center, or with a local charitable organization and you will realize how lucky you are to have what you have. 

Step 5. You are beautiful, so SMILE!!!  A smile can tell your brain to release some feel good hormones and change your mood for the better.  Plus it just might make someone else's day.

Step 6. Shameless plug for acupuncture.  Make an appointment to see an acupuncturist once a week.  I hear Michael Ball is accepting new patients. Why not give him a try at Path Acupuncture in Katy Texas.    

Path Acupuncture

1618 S. Mason Rd. Katy, TX 77450