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Chill, Baby!

Here at Quarry Hill, it’s our business to create a stress-free lifestyle for the residents we serve. But let’s face it: life is stressful. And never more so, in our opinion, than in January, what with post-holiday credit-card bills, slippery roads, and cars that won’t start.  So we’ve been especially grateful for the following advice on stress management, courtesy of  Rockport-based Reiki master (and former Quarry Hill nurse) Pauline Wilder, RN, MSN, AHN-BC.

Be still

Try setting aside time to simply be. Rather than jumping out of bed in the morning, give yourself five to 20 minutes of “quiet time.” Lie awake, or sit on the edge of your bed, feet on the floor, hands in your lap. Breathe slowly and deeply. When thoughts arise, accept them, and observe how they make you feel. Repeat daily, without fail. In time, a calmer, healthier, more serene you will emerge.

Name your pain

When stress escalates, most of us shift into denial. But suppressing our anxieties only leads to more trouble—what Wilder calls the “snowballing physical effects” of muscle tension, increased heart rate, diminished immune-system functioning, and more. Instead, she says, it’s far better to face your fears. List concrete steps you can take to deal with the problem. Ask yourself whose help you might enlist.

Choose peace

Conflicts with others—the rude cab driver, the surly teenager, that blankety-blank store clerk—can put you over the recommended daily allowance for irritation. But while your instinct might be to fight back, Wilder suggests taking the opposite tack. Begin each day with a proactive “forgiveness meditation”: wish peace first to yourself, then to your family, then to everyone on your street, town, nation, world. Later, should conflicts arise, ask yourself: “Would I rather be right? Or would I rather be at peace?”

With tools like these in your pocket, Wilder says, there’s no need to stress over stress management. The keys to a healthier life are in your hands.