It’s been said that Americans today are over-stressed, over-tired and overwhelmed. Can you relate? There’s no doubt we live in stressful times. How can we learn to manage pressure, disruptions and adversity in a positive way and reduce the negative health impacts of stress on our life? The following tips may help.
Sources of Stress
Learn to be honest about the sources of stress in your life and limit your exposure of those things under your control. Examples include:
- News media– Are you watching too much? The media thrives on controversy and conflict in order to boost ratings. Ongoing exposure creates anxiety and even depression. You can cut back on how much, how often and from where you get your news, and protect your mind from troubling thoughts and fears.
- Daily to-do list– Are you driving yourself too hard? Take a good look at your goals. Are they realistic? Every day has unexpected interruptions that take time away from what we’d planned, so include only the essentials on your list and pursue those. Park the rest in a “Will Get-To” column and tackle these one by one as time allows. You will experience greater satisfaction from accomplishing your real priorities.
- Sleep deprivation– Are you getting 7-8 hours a night? Insufficient rest suppresses our immune system and leaves us vulnerable to anxiety, irritability, memory impairment, energy depletion, and even illness. Take a good look at what lifestyle changes you can make to give your body and brain the rest they need to refresh, heal and replenish. And don’t neglect catching a a quick nap sometime during the day if you can sneak one in.
- Toxic Relationships– Who in your life is stressing you out? Some people are exhausting to be around because of the ongoing conflict and drama in their lives. They are a drain on your time and spirit. Limit your exposure to these relationships as much as possible, and avoid them altogether, if at all possible.
- Caffeine – Are all those cups making you jittery and restless? Limit your number of daily tea, coffee or caffeinated drinks. Too much caffeine not only puts your nerves on the edge but impedes the absorption of food nutrients you need to have a natural source of energy and vitality in your life. It also makes your stomach too acidic leading to digestive problems, including bloating and gas. If you are not drinking organic coffee or tea, you are also exposing yourself to many harmful pesticides. Limit your caffeine intake and drink 6-8 glasses of water instead. The health results will astonish you.
What You Can Do
- Feed Your Spirit– Do you have a daily discipline of quiet time? Even 10-15 minutes a day of prayer, meditation, or deep breathing and relaxation exercises have been proven to reduce stress, restore a sense of inner calm and even stimulate creative thinking. Incorporate these contemplative moments into your mornings, get centered and feel the immediate benefits to your body, mind and spirit.
- Plan Ahead– Do you have a hideous daily commute or daily mound of mindless chores? Redeem the time by preparing uplifting music, podcasts, or catching up on calls to good friends that encourage your heart and help you laugh. Be good to yourself by deliberately weaving positive influences into your daily life that stimulate a sense of balance and wellbeing.
- Movement– Is some form of physical activity part of your day? Whether it’s an exercise class, stretching, practicing a sport, dancing, or simply walking for 15-20 minutes a day, finding ways to incorporate some kind of daily movement into your life is essential for reducing mental and physical stress, releasing endorphins (positive hormones), oxygenating the blood, boosting brain function, and reducing our risk of illness. Take this important step and feel better overall!
- Wholesome Nutrition– Is your diet supporting or saboting you? Tasty, wholesome food will give your body and brain the best nutrients to support every aspect of your life. Organic foods have fewer pesticides, contain essential proteins, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that are especially beneficial to your health. Limiting your intake of sugar, starches and sodas will also reduce those detrimental insulin spikes and crashes, give you sustained energy throughout the day, as well as curtail the growth of fungus in the gut—a nasty precurser to disease. Eat well and you’ll feel well!
- Your Happy Place– Do you have a special activity that brings joy to your heart? For some it’s a playing a sport, cooking, photography, gardening, writing poetry, going to the spa…the list is endless. Learn to incorporate something that you find deeply satisfying into your life and schedule it at least twice a month. Knowing you have this to look forward to can help get through the tough patches with a lot less stress.
Incorporating these positive steps into your life will help you feel better about greeting the day, facing your challenges and sharing your unique gifts with the world. We hope you’ll take the time to think about which steps might work for best for you and then jump in! Here’s to wishing you and those you love a lifetime of living fully Healed, Healthy and Whole!
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(Please note: Do not use the information provided in this or other Healed, Healthy and Whole articles for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing yourself medication or other treatment. The articles in this blog/newsletter should never be used as a substitute for speaking with your physician or health care professional about a medical problem you may be experiencing.)