Is fraud stressing you out? It’s okay. We know what you’re going through. It can be extremely stressful to deal with identity theft, unauthorized credit card charges, hacking or a bad business that ripped you off. You may need to spend hours on the phone talking to your bank, cancel your credit or debit cards, getting your computer repaired or taking legal action. If you’ve lost money due to fraud, it can be an even greater nightmare while you wonder whether or not you’ll get your money back. You may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed and desperate for stress relief. These helpful tips will show you how to relieve stress, stop worrying, relax and clear your head.
Tip #1. Feel your emotions, then let them go.
It’s healthy to vent your frustrations but don’t hold onto them for too long and allow them to fester. Feeling angry, sad or blaming yourself won’t solve anything. It will just stress you out more.
Try this: Go to an isolated place, or press your face into a pillow, and let it all out. Scream, swear, cry. Allow yourself to work through your emotions so they can leave your system. Visualize your negative feelings flowing out of your body and evaporating like steam as the sound of your voice fades. Or, if you prefer a quieter approach, try writing all your feelings down on a piece of paper. Tear the paper up and flush the scraps down your toilet.
Tip #2. Go outside.
By some estimates, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. Even if you’re not claustrophobic, it can have a negative impact on your mental health if you’re not getting enough sunshine or fresh air. If you’re always at home, school or work, your monotonous surroundings may be contributing to your stress.
Try this: Think about the outdoor places that inspire you. Maybe it’s the beach, the mountains, an outdoor plaza or even your neighborhood park. Visit this location and focus on the people passing by, the details of a building or the sounds of nature. Force yourself to stay in the moment. This technique is known as “mindfulness” and experts often recommend it to people who suffer from anxiety.
Tip #3. Cut back on caffeine, sugar and junk food.
It’s tempting to go for “comfort foods” when you’re stressed out, but an unhealthy diet will actually do more harm than good. Caffeine increases your body’s level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and junk food like cookies, candy, donuts, chips, pizza and French fries affect your blood sugar levels. If you have low energy, it’s easier to become overwhelmed and stressed out.
Try this: Switch your morning coffee with green or white tea. These beverages still have a
little caffeine to get you going, but they won’t make you jittery or increase your heart rate. You can also try chamomile tea, a caffeine-free herbal remedy that promotes relaxation. Satisfy your craving for sugary treats with fresh fruit or antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Choose entrees and sides that are reduced-fat or baked instead of fried.
Tip #4. Meditate.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk or a spiritual guru to meditate. Dr. Herbert Benson, the author of The Relaxation Response, describes meditation as any repetitive action that keeps your attention focused on the present moment. This could be a physical activity, like exercise, or a hobby such as knitting. Experiment with different actions to find what works for you.
Try this: Find a quiet place, sit down, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think the word “in” every time you inhale and think “out” as you exhale. Say the words out loud if it helps, or picture an ocean wave gently lapping at the shore. Repeat this for 5 to 10 minutes every day or whenever you find your stress levels peaking.
Tip #5. Listen to classical music.
Classical music will help you relax. According to WebMD, listening to classical music for 30 minutes can produce calming effects equivalent to 10mg of Valium.
Try this: If you don’t have any classical music in your record collection or your iTunes library, you can stream music online via Pandora.com or Live365.com. You can also find a list of local radio stations in your area on Radio-Locator.com.
Tip #6. Find support from your loved ones.
If you’ve been defrauded, you may feel too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. We all think we’re “too smart” to fall for a con artist’s scheme and you might be worried that your loved ones will judge you. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned at Scambook, it’s that no one is immune from fraud and bad business. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. Your loved ones will understand this and help you.
Try this: Spend time with your friends and family, or call them on the phone if they live far away. If you have access to a webcam, use Skype to video chat and see their smiling faces. And don’t forget about your four-legged family members! If you have pets, find time for an extra play session or more cuddling. You can also use Scambook to talk to other people who have gone through your experience.
Tip #7. Laugh.
Many people rely on their sense of humor to help them cope during tough times. There’s a good reason for that. Laughing relaxes your body, releases endorphins and improves your overall health and well-being. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Laughter has also been shown to reduce physical tension and decrease anxiety.
Try this: It’s great if you can find some element of humor in your situation, but don’t worry if you can’t laugh about it. Instead, watch your favorite funny movies, comedy shows or stand-up comedian routines. YouTube is also a valuable resource for hilarity. If jokes don’t appeal to you, you’re sure to find plenty of silly animal clips that will make you chuckle. Just search “maru box” or “ultimate dog tease”.
Remember, Scambook is here to help. Submit your complaints on our website and we’ll do everything we can to resolve your issue. Unfortunately, full resolution may take time and for some people, waiting can make stress levels even worse. It could start to impact your job, your classes and your personal relationships. Stress has also been linked to health problems like high blood pressure, obesity, upset stomach, insomnia and depression. If you’re facing stress and anxiety as a result of fraud or bad business, we hope you’ll try some of these tips and feel better.
Of course, there are countless other ways to calm down, blow off steam and relieve tension, and you may find that some of these methods are more effective than others. You might have to experiment with different techniques to figure out what works best for you.
So what do you do when you need to relieve stress? Share your own relaxation tips in the comments below!