How do you cope with stress?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Sunlight flutters softly at the edges of the bedroom window and songbirds clear their throats for the early morning opus. The alarm clock has not sounded its bell, but you are awake, nonetheless.

The day still waits patiently for your arrival and your stress level has already begun to rise. Whether it be a test, paperwork, an angry client from the day before or a conflict in the workplace, we all deal with stress on a day to day basis.

Everyone has heard some brilliant piece of advice from their family member, friend or fellow co-worker when they got a little upset and felt like their head would explode.

It always seems as though the same sayings appear at the worst of times, but they never seem to offer any consolation. Some of these almost clich sayings include:

"Take a deep breath and count to three."

"Don't do anything you might regret."

"Just try to relax."

"It could be worse."

The last of these sayings are most certainly true. Things can always be worse than they are, but does reaffirming that fact really help the situation? Does any piece of advice really help a stressful situation? Maybe so. Maybe not. We all find ways to cope with stress without placing ourselves on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Some prefer a hot cup of coffee to calm the nerves while others opt for the periodic smoke break. These methods do counter the negative effects on one's physical health, but not without adding a new set of negative effects.

Several sources cite that stress causes increased blood pressure, headaches, nausea, pulmonary distress and a variety of other cardiovascular defects. Stress cannot be avoided, but some simple measures can be taken to lighten the load of day to day responsibilities.

As previously stated everyone has a different way of relieving stress and some people do not realize their source of stress relief.

Stress can be caused by a variety of different things and is not

limited to simple frustration or anger.

Some tips to follow when completing your daily ritual:

Take time out from each day to read at least one joke. You may not laugh, but you will definitely share a smile.

Spend some time outside during the summer. Temperatures may be high, but you will be surprised what some fresh air and a spot of shade can do for the mind and heart.

Never underestimate the power of music. Sometimes simply turning on the radio to sing a few songs can calm the nerves.

I have found a variety of different ways to relieve stress. Sometimes I expend my negative energy by running Lurleen B. Wallace's nature trail, lifting weights, listening to obnoxiously loud rock music, writing poetry or soaking in the sight of a beautiful day outside Robinson Park.

My methods are certainly not the norm, but I am sure everyone has found ways to expend their negative energy.

How do you cope with stress? If you have an interesting story or method of relieving stress, then feel free to send me an e-mail at

Jeremy Henderson is a regular columnist and reporter with the Andalusia Star-News.