Healthy 2016: Reducing Stress

Written By: ingridricks - Jan• 12•16


I have a horrible time saying “no,” even when I know that the word “yes” often commits me to stressful situations full of logistical nightmares that include fumbling my way through crowded, dimly lit airports or train stations, nights in unfamiliar, under lit hotels, long work days and time away from my husband and two daughters.

So as part of my Get Healthy 2016 resolution, I’ve decided that this behavior has got to stop.

While on a flight home Sunday from such a trip (rewarding but full of stress), I made a list of all the things that bring me joy and peace, and all the things that send my blood pressure skyrocketing.

The joy and peace part was easy to identify: morning coffee at my favorite coffee shop with my husband, John, a relaxed day of client writing in his office (where I have a desk), lunch with John, an hour-long workout at the gym, and a relaxing evening. For me this means plenty of time to cook and enjoy dinner while listening to Billie Holiday, a cup of tea by the fireplace, an evening game of chess with my daughter, Hannah, and a hour or so kicking back to read or watch a favorite TV show, followed by a night sleeping in my own bed.

Throw in a weekly date night, regular walks to the beach, designated time for personal writing, and occasional phone calls and outings with my core group of friends and I’m good. That’s all I need for a peaceful, stress-free existence. What brings on the stress is saying Yes to work that requires travel or “opportunities” that boil down to a lot of work with not much compensation and leave me feeling drained. So this is where I’m starting this year –with the word “No.”  And just saying it here is empowering.

What’s on your list of things that cause you stress? And what brings you joy and peace? Let’s do this together. I know it will help our health — including our eyesight.



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  1. Tania says:

    Ah yes, chess!
    Love it…though it’s quite the eye challenge too…but it’s just that, a challenge – to continually scan the board and hopefully trap that king. Depending on the degree of RP loss, the size of the board matters — smaller boards allow one to encompass the swath of pieces better imho. Also, I’d recommend colored chess pieces – not B&W. Much better contrast on a B&W board. Ha! Chess advice 🙂

  2. Alysa S. says:

    This is a really interesting perspective. So often, we’re told to “embrace opportunities” and “come out of our shell” and say “YES!” to everything – and, like you, doing that makes me really stressed out quite a lot of the time. I admire you for going against the grain and doing what actually makes sense. As you point out here and in your books, stress is so, so bad for health. I’m glad you’ve decided to be healthy in this way, too. And the next time I hesitate about saying “No” to something that makes me stressed or uncomfortable, I’ll think of this post!

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