Top 5 Ways to Reduce Stress

After extensive study and research we have come up with the top five ways to reduce stress and thus live a longer and happier life. Stress affects all of us to some degree or the other. So learning how to deal with and eliminate stress, the older you become, is critical for your health and your life.

There are volumes and volumes written about stress and how to get relief but it is relatively simple to do. Through our exhaustive search, we have put together a simple three-step process that has proven to work time after time.

First, we will go over the five ways to reduce stress and then explain a simple process to achieve this amazing result.

Number # 1 is to get plenty of exercise. Multiple studies have shown that being physically active helps take your mind off the day-to-day stresses that we all experience.

Number # 2 is spend quality time with friends and loved ones. Quality time is focused time and this means engaging in conversations and activities.

Number # 3 follows from number two which is to laugh and to have fun. As you are spending time with your friends and loved ones it is very stress reducing if you are involved in a fun filled activity that everyone can participate. Laughing research experts have said that just the act of laughing alone can reduce a persons stress level by almost half.

Number # 4 is fueling your body with good nutritionally based food. Your body needs well-balanced meals to maintain and grow a health mind and body. Fueling your body correctly will help tone your muscles and your mind. Studies have shown that when you are feeding your body correctly along with physical stimuli it engages the brain and creates new synapses, which in turn, strengthens and grows your cognitive ability to better remember and focus.

Number # 5 is to get a peaceful nights sleep. The brain and body must get a solid nights sleep to be able to function at its peak performance. A recent major study show that getting an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep each night increases your daily productivity by as much as 52% and also helps to reduce stress levels.

All of the above are great ways to reduce stress, increase happiness and help you live a more fulfilled life. The questions remains, is how to do all these things and still have time for your daily life responsibilities. Fortunately, it is much easier than you think. Below is our three-step process that will help you accomplish the top five stress reducers quickly and you don’t have to change your life around to do them.

First find a few days that you can get away. Second call your friends and loved ones and coordinate those days with them so they to can get away as well. It does not have to be a week. It can be as little as a couple of days. Third, and this is critical, call Outdoor Adventure Rafting and set up rafting and camping trip for your group. It is that easy.

Studies have shown that rafting (great physical exercise) with friends and loved ones can lead to fun and laughter and when the day is done, sitting around a camp fire eating a good meal together and getting a great night sleep, because you are dead tired from the days activities, reduces almost 100% of life’s stresses. This should be done on a periodic basis and will result in a longer happier life.


Do you raft when it is raining?

This is the question I get asked most in a regular season.  This year it seems as if I hear this question at least twice a day.  This years rains have been relentless.  Each day and some times for days on end we have had heavy rains.

I remember growing up as an outdoor kid.  I was always outside doing something.  Most of time it was hiking, camping, biking, climbing, fishing, etc. and I never gave the weather much thought.  I figured I could not control it so, I just have to accept it and move on, in fact some of my greatest memories of outdoor activities were in the rain.  A lot of people describe the rain as bad weather but I describe the rain as ...rain.  If I want to get outside and play then that is what I do and I accept the weather whatever it may bring.  Some of the best runs and bikes and fishing have been in the rain.

Can you go rafting in the rain?  Absolutely!  Rafting in the rain is fantastic.  The rain feeds the river and creates larger flows than a normal rating day.  The rapids are bigger and the ride is a little wilder.  This combination makes for a great ride down the river and at no extra cost to the customer, we never charge for the added water.  Everybody loves to raft when the sun is shining and sky is blue and the temperature is in the 80s and 90s but don't miss out on those days that everybody else calls "bad weather"  I say "Carpe Diem" (Seize the Day) and don't let go until, either the day has given all it has or you have.


The Anatomy of a Nickname

Working on the Ocoee River is unique in so many ways.  One of the things that continues to grow are the characters that come to work on the Ocoee each year.  Their are many that come and never leave and their are some that come just for a short stint and move on to other chapters in life but most that pass this way will be issued a nickname.  Some are endearing, some are not, but once given they seem to stick and even follow for the rest of their life.  Below is a little research on how the nick name came to be.
  • Ekename: The Origin of the Word
    "A nickname is not, as one might at first suppose, a name that has been stolen or nicked from somewhere else; it is, literally, an 'additional name.' The current form of the word, with the element as nick-, is in fact a corruption of the earlier form eke-name (with the first element aseke-). . . .

    "An eke-name, then, is orginally an additional name: your real name is eked out by having another name added to it, and in time this ekename may become a substitute for the original. But how did ekename become nickname? . . . . When the words were written down in the Middle Ages by people who had never seen them in writing, the n evidently got detached from the anand attached to the eke, giving us a nekename; and when the vowel sound in eke is subsequently shortened through fast or lazy pronunciation, we end up with today's form,nickname."
    (Tom Burton, Long Words Bother Me. Sutton, 2004)

  • Prosonomasia
    "Prosonomasia defines a person or thing by some characteristic: the Conqueror (William I of England); the dismal science (political economy); the king of beasts (the lion); the Father of Lies (Satan): the great unwashed (the populace); the Iron Duke (Wellington); the Jolly Roger (pirate flag); the Knight of the Rueful Countenance (Don Quixote); and so on."
    (Willard R. Espy, The Garden of Eloquence: A Rhetorical Bestiary. Harper & Row, 1983)

At the Outpost we have both, the Nickname and the Prosonmasia.  Last year we had a new trainee, Stuart Hickey which became Sticky, or Robert Shaneyfelt (long time river manager)was known as Shaney and still is to this day.  Other guides do things in there tenure at the Outpost and acquire a name such as Worm, who you can imagine, ate a worm one night on a dare and now is known as Worm.  One of our senior guides will always be refereed to as The Principal because of his gruff "Principal" like voice.  These names get so ingrained that at times I have a hard time coming up with their given name.  Their are a few guides that escape the nickname and then there are some that get an assigned name that cannot be discussed on these pages.  Matt Haugh is my river manager of eight years now and several years back there was an incident on the river, and he received on that day the nickname Dookie.  So if you are ever at the Outpost look him up and ask him the story behind the name, it is definitely worth your time.


Can I raft the Ocoee at night?

Can I raft the Ocoee at night?

The short answer is "No, you cannot".  The Ocoee river in Tennessee is a dam controlled river with very specific releases that are published by TVA.  You can find these release times at under recreational releases for the Ocoee river. 

The Ocoee has been rafted since the 1970's. in that time, it has been rumored that there have been midnight rafting trips.  To do one of these " midnight rafting trips", you will need several things.

First, you need enough water to raft on which is 1200 (cfs) cubic feet per second or more.

Second, you need an expert guide with extensive knowledge of the river you are going to raft.

Third, you need a moonlit night, this is extremely important to be able to navigate the river safely at night.  

Finally, you must have a raft, gear, a group of paddlers and a strong constitution.  All the above are necessary to even think about rafting the river at night and if all the above does come together and the stars align then ......  

Side note: once the sun goes down I have heard that the Ocoee river is very cold.


When is the best time to go rafting?

When is the best time to go rafting?

The best answer? Anytime you can.  
Each season offers a new and different experience.

  Spring season (March-May) is uncrowned and full of beautiful days with budding trees and warming weather.  Spring rains can bring higher water levels which create a more intense rafting trip.  

  Summer (June-August) is hot, lively, and is a party on the river (good clean fun).  You will see lots of people out enjoying the refreshing river five days a week (Thursday - Monday). Need I say more.

 Early fall (September) is known for its great weekend rafting.  You are not quite ready for summer to be over.  Come enjoy the warm/hot September weekends on the beautiful and refreshing Ocoee.   The larger groups are gone leaving these great days for smaller groups and families.

 Late fall, October, is known as the secret season on the Ocoee.  It's when you are trying to squeeze the last drops of summer play before Old Man Winter returns.  The leaves are beginning to turn stunning colors and the mountain light glimmers on the water.  The crowds are gone, it is a soulful and reflective time on the water.