Stress reduction spelled out

December 13, 1998|By Knight Ridder/Tribune

You haven't finished your holiday shopping, you've maxed out your credit cards already, Junior has switched his Santa list for the 15th time, the relatives - the ones you despise - are bearing down on you like a nor'easter. You'll be glad to hear:

The Institute for Stress Management has doubled the steps in its formula to reduce stress.

In 1990, the institute introduced its five-step BREAD formula for effective stress management: Breathe correctly, Relax daily, Exercise aerobically, have a positive Attitude and eat a healthy Diet.

Over the past eight years, research has discovered new factors for properly managing stress, so BREAD was revised to contain five psychological factors and five physiological factors. It still spells the word BREAD for easy recall. Each letter now represents one psychological and one physiological factor. For the first time, here is the new, expanded BREAD Formula. The 10 paired parts are:

* Belief system and Breathe properly

* Relationships and Relaxation

* Education and Exercise

* Attitude and Activity

* Determination and Diet

Let's look at each part separately.

1. Belief system: Research shows that people who have strong faith recover from disease quicker than those who don't and have more resilience.

2. Breathe properly: Adjust your breathing pattern to the situation. When you become tense and feel hurried, breathe deeply using your diaphragm.

3. Relationships: Those with strong social support systems often live longer.

4. Relax regularly: Once an hour, take a conscious, 60-second break. Once a day, take 60 minutes to relax. Hatha yoga and meditation are good ways. Once a month, take 60 hours off (2.5 days) as a mini-vacation. Throughout the year, take 600 hours (25 days) rest and recuperation time.

5. Educate yourself about health and wellness: The more you know and put into practice, the better your chances to live a long and vibrant life.

6. Exercise daily. Remember the word SAFE: It stands for strength, aerobic and flexibility exercises. Include each of these types of exercise in your routine.

7. Attitude is important: Be realistic, but overall, be optimistic.

8. Activity: Make movement an integral part of your lifestyle. Reacquaint yourself with the joy of using your body. Avoid the easy way. Take the stairs. Park farther away. Walk across the room to change channels. Play catch with children.

9. Determination: Everyone digresses at some point. Forgive yourself if you get off track. Just get back on your plan quickly. Become a hardy person. Resilience in the face of adversity builds the strength to endure.

10. Diet: Do you know about proper nutrition? Do you eat correctly?

Pub Date: 12/13/98

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