Seven Ways to Shake Off Stress February 02 2014

 

Stress.  It takes a toll on the physical body, resulting in painful knots, headaches, chronic neck tension and more.  A stressed mind is tired, forgetful, distracted and worn out.  A stressed spirit might be anxious, down, sleepless, full of worry or feel hopeless.  Stress is a root cause of many of our most-common physical and mental ailments, and managing your stress level is one of the greatest gifts you can give your health: body, mind and spirit.

Here are seven ways to keep stress at bay and help keep you feeling your best:

1/ Get enough Zzzz's....  Over the next week, commit to an earlier bedtime than usual, and 10pm at the very latest.  The vast majority of Americans do not get the proper amount or quality of sleep each night, and once you do you'll be amazed at how much better you feel. Everything will feel more manageable once you experience proper rest.

2/ Ditch refined sugar!  Sugar has a multitude of negative effects on the body, stressing the body and lowering our immune response.  For one week, sate your sweet tooth with natural fruits or stevia and see how much calmer you feel on a daily basis.

3/ Breathe deeply.  Most of us unconsciously maintain a stressed, shallow breath throughout the day...  Take five deep breathes --- all the way in, and all the way out --- each morning upon waking and feel the difference it makes. 

4/ Slow Down.  Being perpetually late and in a rush stresses you out as well as everyone around you.  Make a conscious effort to slow your movements (walking... driving... eating... talking) throughout the day. 

5/ Take a B-Vitamin supplement.  In addition to a nutrient-rich diet, taking a B-vitamin supplement will help support your adrenals, which are one of the first lines of defense against stress.  Strong adrenals give us energy, will and resilience whereas weakened adrenals make us feel sluggish, anxious and prone to colds & flus.

6/ Get moving and shake off stress by practicing regular exercise; anything that gets your heart rate up counts!  From brisk walking to yoga, cycling to dancing, you're more likely to commit to exercise if it is something you look forward to every day.  Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or drinks, grab a hike instead.  Take the stairs.  Park in the last row and walk to the entrance of the store.  Exercise is less daunting when you work it into your daily life in easy, manageable ways.

7/ Get regular Massage Therapy.  Receiving massage on a weekly or monthly basis feels great and complements all the other healthy practices, such as healthy eating, better sleep, daily exercise, and maintaining a tip-top immune system. 

There's no such thing as a stress-free existence, but we *can* control that stress and limit the effect it has on our body, mind and spirit.  Give these seven tips a try and in a few weeks you'll notice a calmer, healthier you!