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Getting personal about Stress

16 March 2011

I am going to get straight to the point: when stress hits so hard what does one do when nothing works? I recently had lunch with a long-time friend and when she walked into the restaurant I hardly recognized her yet it was only six months since our last meeting. She was recovering from a nervous breakdown and had lost a lot of weight. Then a few days later I met another friend looking wafer thin and she had just moved out of the marital home. And this morning I have just put the phone down from yet another friend who has moved out of the ‘relationship’ home. I have two friends recovering in hospital, one from kidney stones and the other from a heart attack. All these ladies, ranging in ages from 42 to 53, are very successful and talented and used to handling difficult situations, but they are currently struggling and one could slice their stress levels into big chunks and fill a tip-truck.

We all know the importance of exercise, healthy eating, work-life balance, positive attitudes, living in the ‘now’, friendships etc and if you search ‘stress’ in The Ruby Connection you will read many valuable articles. When ‘the going gets tough’ is it just a matter of ‘the tough get going’ or as my 83 year old mother would say, ‘buck your ideas up, my girl’?  Stress is a serious (and insidious) condition which can lead to life threatening diseases. The Ruby Connection is a blog, and I am asking you to share what works best for you, particularly when most of what you already know about on how to handle stress flies out of the window.

I suggest keeping your tips short so they can be easily referred to quickly. 

  • Don’t give undue focus on the negatives in your life. If you have a great job and supportive friends, but your relationship has failed, 1 + 1 does not equal zero! 
  • Keep a ‘grateful’ notebook and jot down simple pleasures and kindnesses you receive every day but generally take for granted. If you haven’t the time, at least think of them.
  • Try and convert a negative situation or person into a positive lesson. Perhaps these situations or people have come into our lives to make us a better person.
  • Sometimes it is impossible (and not good) to hold it in all the time, so when you are having a wobble, put the oven timer or your stop watch on for 10 minutes and have a self-indulgent blubber. When it rings, take several deep breaths and move on.

Your turn…



  • Karen Ostenried

    Karen Ostenried 7 years ago

    Firstly when I am aware I am stressed, I take a deep breath in and exhale slowly and completely. This is a technique I use to lower the heart rate for clients and students to reduce stage fright. The next is to tell the voices in my head to please be quiet and leave, to allow the mind and heart to be still, knowing that stress in only temporary and I will move through this easily. I love a massage as well to unknot all that stress that builds up in my body.

  • Ngaire Hutchinson

    Ngaire Hutchinson 8 years ago

    Yoga is a great tool that I have used to manage my stress over the last 15 years. I loved it so much I became a Yoga Teacher. The main aim of Yoga is to reduce the fluxuations of the mind. Stress is very harmful our bodies and mind and should be avoided at all costs. It's important to practice regularly so that when stressful situations arise you are able to deal with them in a calm way. When preparing for battle the warrior does not learn how to fight while on the battlefield. So we should develop the tools to combat stress before we get into a stressful situation. Whatever it takes to manage your stress do it regularly and often to keep your stress away.

  • Roxanne Kennedy-Perriman

    Roxanne Kennedy-Perriman 8 years ago

    Take a deep breath and smile preferably at another person whilst making eye contact - great if it's a stranger.

  • Louise Upton

    Louise Upton 8 years ago

    laughingHaving read these: I think we will put therapists out of business.

  • Katrina Webb OAM

    Katrina Webb OAM 8 years ago

    Read the Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris. Great book. I just completed his 2 day course and it is life changing.

  • francis albert

    francis albert 9 years ago

    When you choose a provider for your business phone lines, you want a provider who understands your needs, and can provide leading service at a great price. Get a better deal on your business phone bill or upgrade your office phone system

  • Michelle Jewels-Parsons

    Michelle Jewels-Parsons 9 years ago

    Thank you everyone for sharing suggestions. I too find that by the time I acknowledge stress, I am already STRESSED! Personally, I am a Reiki Master and I try to relax myself that way. I also have a few mantras that I repeat to myself depending on how stressed I am. 'I am fabulous and I understand I cannot be all things to all people' and 'I am far to blessed to be stressed' and 'What other people think of me is none of my business'.Ironically they do tend to drop my levels. I also work within a terminal care environment, so a quick walk around the Hospice (and 5-10 mins of sunshine) seems to remind me of whats important. Life is not a dress rehearsal - we only get one shot at it. have a magical day :)

  • Larke Riemer

    Larke Riemer 9 years ago

    We all handle stress in different ways - some will work for others and some won't. What I do love from you all that you are prepared to share your experience in the hope that you can help others. This is a great blog from Debra and I thought I would share what I sometimes do when I feel overwhelmed and a little stressed out. I have a small network of what I call very close friends who are available for catch ups when I need some support. These are both men and women who after spending some time with them I feel my spirits are really lifted and my energy levels are back in place.

  • Margaret Kellie

    Margaret Kellie 9 years ago

    Don't under estimate the amount of pain stress creates in your body, just by holding your muscles taut. I do meditation, and each session I am amazed how tightly I am holding my body, particularly back and thighs. Let it go, and the pain goes. Better than a dose of chemicals!

  • Josephine Luna

    Josephine Luna 9 years ago

    I have always looked upon aches, pains and ill-health as something associated with what is or has happened in ones life. Perhaps it is the 'Therapist' in me! Sooo I have always tried to maintain some balance in my life, extinguishing the negative and bathing in the true beauty of a rich positive life as much as I can. It is the basis of all my work and I find I have much success when working with people. You need to find what ignites them to de-stress and then work with that - together with wanting to change - it just works wonders.

  • Lisa Fitzgerald

    Lisa Fitzgerald 9 years ago

    I began 2011 with my own special campaign. It is my 'say NO' without guilt campaign. It works!Try it...

  • suzanne quinlan

    suzanne quinlan 9 years ago

    hi every-one, I also agree with what each lady has expressed and grabbing that 10minutes of vitamin d from the sun, also makes me feel alive.The fresh and natural aroma of wind blowing gum leaves, watching my girls(retreiver dogs) soak their aching bodies in the dam near our house then run up to shake their wet coats all over me!!!!!!! just seems to lift my spirits, free my mind of all the mundane issues , stresses in our busy time poor and unappreciated lives as business women, mothers and sex slaves, opps I mean wife

  • Eliza Foster

    Eliza Foster 9 years ago

    Each morning I write in the steam covering the glass shower screen \"I am happy, I am healthy, and I love\" Even if you don't feel that way at the time, the brain is a goal-seeking mechanism and will attract itself to \"happy, healthy, and love\". Nothing much else matters.

  • Jane Jackson

    Jane Jackson 9 years ago

    When I catch myself in a stressful moment (acute stress), I take a deep breath and and acknowledge that I am experiencing stress. Then I objectively look at the cause or causes of this stressful moment and ask myself what is the first positive action I can take that will make a difference right now. When it comes to cumulative stress, becoming aware and mindful of all that is good in my life gives me a realistic perspective. Then exercise, spending time with good friends and talking things through with them, meditation and a wonderful deep tissue massage always helps!

  • Kayleen Fergusson

    Kayleen Fergusson 9 years ago

    I find stress can be helped by just focusing on one day at a time. I think just getting through to-day helps to unclutter my brain & I try not to focus on how many things are building up to be done in the future.

  • Eileen Mallard

    Eileen Mallard 9 years ago

    Thank you all for sharing, however, Julia, that whilst walking the dog is great for the dog and you, it is not so great for the rabbits :) I enjoy all of the things mentioned by you all, exercise in the morning sets the intention for day, quiet time, the waves, walking my dogs and I as a Clinical Aromatherapist the use of Essential oils.. I might add a blend to a body brush for dry skin brushing before entering the shower.... try this blend.... 1 drop of lavender, 1 drop of Ylang Ylang, 3 drops of Grapefruit add to a vaporiser, add a drop of each to a tissue and inhale as needed throughout the day.....

  • Joanne Falchi

    Joanne Falchi 9 years ago

    Reiki is excellent for stress and relaxation, addressing issues and promoting clear thinking. It works on a physical, mental and emotional level. Visit the to find your closest practitoner.

  • Samantha Brown

    Samantha Brown 9 years ago

    I take some time out in nature, preferable a walk and quiet time on a beach. I watch and listen to the waves. The waves reminds me of the ebb & flow of everything. Sometimes there are the ups and sometimes the downs (the peaks & troughs of waves). When you are feeling \"in the down\", anxious or stressed, its helpful to be reminded that that time will pass, and you will be on the upwards again, and so on...

  • Julia Wakefield Houghton

    Julia Wakefield Houghton 9 years ago

    I take the dog for a walk - watching her chasing rabbits and following her nose in circles is great for restoring my sense of humour, which has always been a life saver for me. I've also been buying odd bits of coloured crockery from op shops - nothing matches, but it's all pre-loved, and now it really matters to me - and nobody else, except the good friends who come round for a cup of coffee.

  • Alissa Buda

    Alissa Buda 9 years ago

    I love the gratitude journal, it really makes such a difference.I've also found that a 15 minute walk first thing in the morning gives me the space to thank God for all my blessing and to visualise and plan my day for success. Taking a moment for myself and to plan how i want my day makes a big difference to my stress levels.