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Old 09-12-07, 04:18 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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50+ Destressing Techniques

50+ Destressing Techniques

Besides bicycling and exercise, what other techniques, if any, do you use to destress your daily lives?

Recently, due to very valid reason, which I won't go into here, my wife has been under a lot of what one might call "cumulative post traumatic stress syndrome" stress. Things that happened many years ago, and other things that are happening now leave us in the situation of having a lot of little straws around that are just itching to "break the camel's back" so to speak.

At these times, she needs my support a lot, which is one of the reasons I have not had many long rides this season.

Over the years, out of necessity, we have developed some techniques to help reduce stress in our lives. Here are some of them.

1. No phone calls answered after 8:00 pm.

2. Daily exercise no matter what the weather and how tired we might be.

3. We don't go to bed mad at each other, if there is any possible way to resolve the issue.

4. We evaluate each voluntary (and sometimes work) activity to see if the sum of the effects of that activity is positive to our stress load or negative. If it is negative, we either adjust it or drop it. She just dropped a bible study at church for that exact reason. I once walked off a job never to return for the same reason.

5. We are careful in any TV programs we watch. No gruesome or tense TV. We have a "cool down" TV time where we watch a funny video or something relaxing priot to retiring.

6. We try to practice good nutrition.

7. Adequate sleep/rest is high on the list.

8. At times, we have seeked, and found useful, professional help. Howeer, this is really tricky, as some of those professionals are crazier than we are!

9. We have relaxing group activites that we keep stress-free. I lead a men's singing group, she has a ladies singing group, and we both participate in choirs.

So, what about you? Any destressing techniques other than bicycling that your years of life have taught you?

Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-12-07 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 09-12-07, 04:26 PM   #2
WillisB
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I like to mow my huge back lawn. There is something about riding the lawn tractor around in circles that I find relaxing.
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Old 09-12-07, 04:43 PM   #3
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Sex. I'm 60, but I'm not dead!!!
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Old 09-12-07, 04:55 PM   #4
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I play with my puppy
I pet the cat and listen to her purrrrrrrr
I listen to my stereo
I play my guitars (but just one at a time)
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Old 09-12-07, 05:13 PM   #5
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Since I live alone I can pretty much control the stress in my life. I have a cat and he's very mellow, not much of a problem. My house stays neat and tidy. I have a plesant little yard that is not much to care for. I have fun hobbies (like riding) .I live a fairly stress free life outside of work. If feeling alittle stressful I go out and ride or hike.

I have a sister who currently is on disability due to stress (well a million other reasons as well). She just called me. Last month she paid cash for a house while not working. Like that was smart since she is now stressing over money. She nows informs me besides the two cats, and 2 dogs she already has she just got 4 more large dogs (2 bloodhounds and 2 labs). I was rendered speechless. Just her telling me about her life fills me with stress. I asked who cares for the dogs? SHe stated since she was home all day she does (the dogs allegedly belong to her kids). I asked but aren't you trying to go back to work? The converation went downhill from there....

Bottom line stress is something we all manufacture. It is totally controllable and we either deal with it, eliminate it or relish in it. I like to eliminate it. My sister obviously likes to roll around in it! To each their own!
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Old 09-12-07, 05:15 PM   #6
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Yoga helps. Almost as much as bike riding.


Don't know how "busy" you are on a day-to-day basis, but my work is people intensive and prone to constant interruption; this is my major source of stress. I try to be competely accessible during work hours, but I don't bring work home. I do get there fairly early and stay sorta late to jumpstart a sense of proactivity.

We take a mini vacation every other month or so--a three day weekend with a change of scenery and activity. We're leaving on one tomorrow, in fact.

Oftentimes, it helps to just roll up the sleeves and dive into solving whatever problem is making me nuts. Even if I don't really resolve the issue, I get to cuss alot, laugh, and feel a skewed sense of accomplishment.
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Old 09-12-07, 05:32 PM   #7
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My wife an I are both bike commuters. That helps
We try to always have some event we're looking forward to on the horizon. A big bike ride, a concert, a special event diner, a sporting event, a party. Something fun.
Regular sex is a good thing too.
Get enough sleep
Laugh a lot.
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Old 09-12-07, 05:54 PM   #8
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We are very careful with decisions or actions which have the potential to cause grief in the future.
(I would have to write a book to cover that statement with examples. Slow reaction is almost always safer than overreaction)
We accept those things we cannot do much about. We drop them and do not look back.
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Old 09-12-07, 06:59 PM   #9
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Avoid watching too much news; avoid TV & radio during political campaign season--one side bashing the other endlessly and pointlessly--wears me down; laugh (rent or Netflix comedy DVD's); nature photography while biking is absorbing and forces you to pay attention to what's going on in the moment, even more than driving the bike does.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:01 PM   #10
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MEDITATION.

Mine is a blend of Zen and Taoist meditation. It helps you focus on here and now and become less susceptible to the ravings of your own mind.

May I suggest "Zen Mind, Beginner Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki, and "Ruling Your World" by Sakyong Mipham as starting points.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:14 PM   #11
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Remove job.

This worked very well. A woman at work hit me. I'd been shoved into a cubicle anyway. I went back the next day, packed my stuff, and left. Now when I visit a cubicle office I feel the pain.

Being thankful all the time for my family.

Attempting to remember to be pleasant rather than right.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:16 PM   #12
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Dog play time is magical.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:33 PM   #13
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Singing, sight-reading music (piano or organ), and sudoku. Lots of sudoku. Oh- cryptograms too.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:41 PM   #14
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1. Sleep, rest (previously stated), +1
2. Don't watch/listen to too much news or talk radio (previously stated), +1
3. Get Ol' Betsy, my favorite 1911, and about 100 rounds of 45 ACP ammunition, 200 rounds if I'm really stressed, and go to the range. The range is out in the middle of nowhere in the Ozarks. It is in a beautiful valley located more than a mile off the paved road. It is a relaxing, peaceful place. I know that sounds strange, but it is.
4. Singing in the choir, +1. This is a recurring stress reliever, Sunday + Wednesday (rehearsal).
5. Pray about the situation.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:03 PM   #15
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Bottom line stress is something we all manufacture. It is totally controllable and we either deal with it, eliminate it or relish in it. I like to eliminate it. My sister obviously likes to roll around in it! To each their own!
I have to totally disagree.

I work daily with folks who are parents of profoundly, severely disabled children. The stress of the situation, with a 20 year wait for services and providing 24/7 care to an individual who needs total support, and is 40 years old (and the parent is in their 60's), is NOT manufactured. And, for some it is two or more children with profound disabilities. I could go on and on - how about a person raised in a home with an alcoholic father who beat the mother, and who had, as a young child to defend the mother and hit the father? That leaves marks that last forever and are NOT controllable.

From your view of life perhaps your stress is manufactured. From mine it is not.

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Old 09-12-07, 09:11 PM   #16
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Stress is like gray hair. Once you have it, it's very difficult to get rid of it. I am semi-retired now, but that doesn't mean I live the life of Riley (I can say these things in this forum!). I am a professional musician and I teach part-time at a university (I'm also a mathematician). Stress is often but not always of our own manufacture. What do I do? What does my wife do? We try to spend time together, real quality time. We talk, we do the daily activities of life (dishes, laundry, food prep, etc.) together. She has multiple stressors (she is very active) and so do I. Beyond exercise and mutual support, there is the sharing of a bottle of wine, a good dinner out, good beer (my favorite, not hers), playing music (not necessarily relaxing in my case) and the occasional vacation and/or day trips. We cherish the time we spend together and use it to relax. There are, in my experience, darn few ways to reduce stress. That said, I have a lot less stress now that I'm not working at one job full-time and I can use that to help my wife. I think that the best stress reliever is just to spend time together where you only focus on each other.

-soma5

p.s. I got in a nice ride this evening with my son. Just spending time together was great. My return to cycling is progressing, not as fast as I'd hoped but certain far from as slowly as I'd feared.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:11 PM   #17
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Denver,


Sorry about the stage of life you and your wife are in right now. Stress is not fun.

I am an Assistant District Attorney and my life is one stressful minute after another from 8-5. I try to leave it at work. Usually works.

Besides exercise? Sex and Maker's Mark. I'm serious. Unfortunately, I ride or run EVERYday. Sex and Maker's Mark not as often

Tyson

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Old 09-12-07, 09:23 PM   #18
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I play with the dogs. Sometimes just watching them play with each other is hilarity at its purest (and cheapest). My puppy likes to be petted and seems to know when it's time for me to be interrupted to pet or play with him.

Regular exercise besides riding. It keeps my mind fresh.

Working in the yard is very grounding (pun intended). I have a knack for making things grow and flourish and pruning, weeding, planting, mowing, pollinating, sniffing, harvesting our plants brings me back to an elemental place, a peaceful place, very similar to where I am after a satisfying ride, with much less effort.

Like DF, we don't go to bed angry at one another. We eat well.

I learned self-hypnosis about a dozen years ago to help cope with the stress of an upcoming surgical procedure. It's a wonderful thing when practiced regularly. Once in a while I've achieved an alpha state, which is the opposite of stress. I highly recommend it.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
50+ Destressing Techniques

Besides bicycling and exercise, what other techniques, if any, do you use to destress your daily lives?

Recently, due to very valid reason, which I won't go into here, my wife has been under a lot of what one might call "cumulative post traumatic stress syndrome" stress. Things that happened many years ago, and other things that are happening now leave us in the situation of having a lot of little straws around that are just itching to "break the camel's back" so to speak.

At these times, she needs my support a lot, which is one of the reasons I have not had many long rides this season.

Over the years, out of necessity, we have developed some techniques to help reduce stress in our lives. Here are some of them.

1. No phone calls answered after 8:00 pm.

2. Daily exercise no matter what the weather and how tired we might be.

3. We don't go to bed mad at each other, if there is any possible way to resolve the issue.

4. We evaluate each voluntary (and sometimes work) activity to see if the sum of the effects of that activity is positive to our stress load or negative. If it is negative, we either adjust it or drop it. She just dropped a bible study at church for that exact reason. I once walked off a job never to return for the same reason.

5. We are careful in any TV programs we watch. No gruesome or tense TV. We have a "cool down" TV time where we watch a funny video or something relaxing priot to retiring.

6. We try to practice good nutrition.

7. Adequate sleep/rest is high on the list.

8. At times, we have seeked, and found useful, professional help. Howeer, this is really tricky, as some of those professionals are crazier than we are!

9. We have relaxing group activites that we keep stress-free. I lead a men's singing group, she has a ladies singing group, and we both participate in choirs.

So, what about you? Any destressing techniques other than bicycling that your years of life have taught you?

Hi I am sorry your wife and you suffer in this way., I am post 50, have ptsdand a sexual abuse survivor and use many of the things you suggest. You both seem to have worked out a good physical regimen, and that has proven benefical to me. Two other things have become key to my thriving versus my previous surviviing. I believe in a regularly meditatating and regularly meet with people like myself, outside of my marriage, with whom I talk aloud aobut those trauma which impact my life today. I have been doing this for manyuyears and it is extremely important to me to be able to speak aloud, tell the stories, find the language to describe my reactions to these traumatic events. The retelling of the events only goes so far, after that it is the examining of how I re-create these cenarios in my current life and how to stop doing that.

Good luck to you both
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Old 09-12-07, 10:21 PM   #20
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I learned self-hypnosis about a dozen years ago to help cope with the stress of an upcoming surgical procedure. It's a wonderful thing when practiced regularly. Once in a while I've achieved an alpha state, which is the opposite of stress. I highly recommend it.
+1
I had surgery last year and to prepare I bought a meditation CD by Peggy Huddleston. It really worked to keep me from getting nervous before surgery, and I continue to use it to help quiet my worried mind. My problem is that the older I get, the more easily I wake up during the night. Once the worries kick in, it's really hard to fall back to sleep. I've practiced various techniques to distract myself from my worries: I memorized the alphabet backwards (do cops really expect people to be able to do that on the fly to prove that they are not intoxicated? I really had to practice, and I was sober!); sometimes I think about all the positive things in my life; although I'm not really religious, I find that praying for others who are having a tough time has a calming effect, too. Focusing on my breathing helps sometimes. I have a bag of tricks and have to mix it up because the same technique seldom works for long. All I know is that the intense worries I feel in the middle of the night seem much less frightening in the light of day.

I always assumed that once I retire, I won't really have anything left to worry about. Well, my stepfather has been retired for over 20 years, and he told me that wakes up in the middle of the night and worries about dumb stuff like the funny noise the washing machine was making earlier that day!
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Old 09-12-07, 11:48 PM   #21
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After 22 years as a cop, I retired and then managed other peoples money for a while. Nothing stresses me now. However, I remember. Many of the people here have listed coping mechanisms (?). There are some things that you just cannot control (like beaucratic screwups, juries, organizational politics, family members problems) and you have to accept that they will occur. I have found that you can affect your own planning and time to some degree. So:
One time period a week, a day or four hours, scheduled NOTHING at all. It is all yours do do sponaneuosly as you would like. Do not schedule "bike ride" or anything other than MY TIME. then if you want to go ride, fine. But if someone finds something for you to do then you realize that it really isn't your time because you just gave them control. My time.
I think that Yoga will keep the knots out of your body and I have often wished that I had gotten into that routine early in my first career. Massage could be a monthly treat too.
Your wife is lucky that you both can work together on these aspects of your lives togther. Others are surely grateful for your dedication and compassion. However, if it is possible you both have to disconnect regularly -in ways other than drugs or alcohol. Call them rest days (hours) for your soul.
You can find time for this by recognizing, learning and implimenting the very posative habit of saying "no."
One of the hardest habits to break is that of saying yes to people. I found it such a relief to learn that "no" is an acceptable answer. "I'm sorry but my schedule doesn't allow it" or "I promised my (spouse/brother) I'd be there that day". "I am going to do something special with my wife." It means that you can be truly committed to the yes and enjoy your own participation with no dark clouds looming or feelings of guilt. It also means that IF time becomes available later, then you will be a bonus for those involved in whatever activity they want you to give up YOUR valuable time to lead or to plan or participate in. I treasure friends and committee members that can say "no". They are forthright as opposed to accomidating and they have put a solid value on their own personal time and effort. They truly recognize my own "No". And guess what? They are not offended and the world does not fall apart. I value them and they recipricate.

Planning, goal setting, and list making all help relieve stress because you know what you must do, can do and then you can eliminate those satellite intrusions that "sound like fun" or "someone should do this" but you now recognize as intruding into your limited time. I really enjoy crossing things off of lists because the time and worry (stress) that it frees up means that I can add activities like "Southern Tier" to my spring '08 calendar. I do this with a clear conscience and I am sure you of all people can truly appreciate that.

Anyway, that is how I have learned to deal with stress. It works for me.
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Old 09-13-07, 04:42 AM   #22
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Move half way around the world, and keep the wife in the US half the time.
(Thats a supportive spouse statement, She teaches music at a university, She Lives her passion, I support hers and Vice Versa).
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Old 09-13-07, 05:25 AM   #23
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I have to totally disagree. .... That leaves marks that last forever and are NOT controllable. From your view of life perhaps your stress is manufactured. From mine it is not.
DnvrFox,

Yes, many circumstances are stressing. The good news is that you can choose your reaction.

You may want to check out Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. He came to the realization that he could choose his reaction to a given situation and find calmness in any situation while prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. It's certainly an inspiring story.

Sakyong Mipham, whom I mentioned earlier has a similar message. And in fact, that is one of the bigger messages of Taoism. You cannot choose your circumstances, but you can choose your inner reaction.

No one is saying that it's intuitive. Very little in our culture helps us know how. And of course, those of us in the 50+ forum have our mental habits pretty well ingrained.

External activities like singing are good. I think that the reason they help is that they are a form of meditation. To sing you must be focused on the present moment and keep your focus despite any thoughts that may occur to you while singing.

The difference with formal meditiation is that you are focused on dropping the extraneous thoughts and become more aware of them and your techniques in dropping them. That's where meditation has helped me. It helped me to learn to distance myself from the seemingly overwhelming emotional and internal messages I give myself.

You might want to check out Frankl's book. What have you got to lose?
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Old 09-13-07, 05:56 AM   #24
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I have a 14yo daughter I have at least another 10 years before I can think of being stress free.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:26 AM   #25
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I learned self-hypnosis about a dozen years ago to help cope with the stress of an upcoming surgical procedure. It's a wonderful thing when practiced regularly. Once in a while I've achieved an alpha state, which is the opposite of stress. I highly recommend it.
How did you teach this to yourself? Books or other media to recommend?
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