10 Ways to Beat Stress


This week our contributing writer Doctor Gifford-Jones talks about beating stress naturally.

Voltaire was right when he wrote, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation”. As we enter another summer the desperation seems to be getting worse. There’s the escalating violence, the concerns about our economy and more headlines warn us of another prescription drug that causes heart attack and stroke. So here are 10 non-prescription ways to help you relax .


The laying-on-of-hands cures more stress and sore muscles than a cartload of pills. In fact, this message has not been lost on industry where anything to help the bottom-line becomes top priority. Some companies are now using massage as a form of stress management to decrease fatigue, headache and back strain in their employees. This results in greater employee retention and job satisfaction. Remember that athletes and boxers don’t get rub-downs just to get a good feeling. Muscle activity burns glycogen which in turn produces lactic and carbonic acid. Massage helps to remove these products of metabolism.


Learn to separate the possible from the impossible. I see every week problems that a trainload of psychiatrists couldn’t cure. If you have an idiotic boss who should never have been promoted there’s usually no way to tell him or her to go to hell unless you win the lottery. And if your partner has run off with your best friend you have to remember how Joseph Stalin reacted to these situations. He remarked, “One has to live with the devil until one reaches the end of the bridge”. In other words accept your problem until a solution comes along, but in the meantime don’t kill yourself with the stress.


Always cast a wary eye at medication. Of course some patients with hypertension or severe disease need strong medication. But untold numbers of patients were taking Vioxx and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that were never intended to be used for minor discomfort.

Then you won’t suffer anxiety when you see the morning’s headlines ‘Another drug causes heart attack’. It’s unfortunate that some people have had heart attacks allegedly from Vioxx and other painkillers. But on the positive side it’s been the “great alert” that there’s danger in them heart hills.

I sometimes write this prescription for tense patients, ” Rx take a train ride”. They look surprised, but I stress it’s a great way to relax and as recent headlines show less dangerous than prescription drugs. Last Christmas rather than line up for hours at airports my wife and I boarded Via Rail for Montreal. We splurged by staying at The Ritz Carlton and savoured the delights of Old Montreal. Then on by Via Rail to the historic Chateau Frontenac hotel in Quebec City and its relaxing ambiance. We returned knowing there’s more to relieving stress than pills.

# 4- Learn to live with less

# 5 – Make exercise a religion

# 7 – Don’t put off things that must be done. Like colonoscopy. Like writing this column