Monday, December 1, 1997

How Do You Spell Relief?

How Do You Spell Relief?
© (1997) Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC 

Do you ever feel like you want to crawl out from your skin? Or that the walls are caving in on you? What can you do? Many people jog, work out at the gym, scream under railroad tracks (so no one can hear them), or even pound on pillows. But you can't always do those things when you are at work or out in public. Here are two alternatives, that you can do just about anywhere to help elevate stress from your life. 

One of the most important things is to breathe (inhale and exhale). Breathing is a natural way to reduce stress. When we breathe we allow oxygen to get to our brain. When you bring oxygen to your brain you can think more clearly. Another suggestion is to keep a bottle of bubbles in your purse or brief case. Instead of going outside and lighting up a cigarette, you can always blow bubbles. Not only are you helping yourself to inhale and exhale slowly (which will reduce your stress level), you are also helping the people around you to relax. Everyone enjoys watching bubbles float through the air. Ok, I'll admit it. . . if you are out in public people may start staring at you at first, but before you know it you'll have started a new trend. Just about everyone enjoys blowing bubbles. 

There's one more fantastic stress reducer. When was the last time you played with clay. Some times just squeezing the clay between your fingers can be soothing. Other times pounding it on a table will do the trick. You can even make your own and keep it with you at all times in ziplock bags. 

Below is a recipe for making Play Dough. You can make several different colors just by dividing up the dough and adding different color food colorings. The play dough will last for several weeks by keeping it in a zip lock bag. 

Play Dough
4 cups White Flour
2 cups Salt
2 tablespoons Cream of Tartar 2 teaspoons Food Coloring
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Cups Water
1 Large Pot
Mix dry ingredients in large pot, then add food coloring, oil, and water. Mix well. Turn stove on high, mixing with a wood spoon. Once dough becomes thick remove from pot on a plate. Wait a minute before kneading with your hands. Store play dough in zip lock bags.