Tips to reduce stress

Everyone has stress in their daily lives. Stressful situations range from major events like a death in the family to the normal rush hour traffic jam. The ways your body reacts to stress can also vary. A person under stress may experience a pounding heart, headaches or muscle tension. Stress can grow into anger or depression. A stressed person may even experience changes in his or her behaviour.

Five Keys to Manage Stress in Your Life It’s impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, but what you can do is learn how to manage the stress that is there in a more effective manner. Here are five tips to do just that.

reduce stress

1. Exercise: “Exercise is a great stress reliever,” Lewis says. Aside from strengthening your heart and lungs, two organs that can become physically affected from too much stress, it’s great for your mental health too. Exercising increases the levels of endorphins in your body, which stimulate your immune system, reduce stress and put you in a better mood.

2. Take Time to Relax: This may sound easy, but how many of you are reading this actually. Schedule time into your day to relax and enjoy life? It’s imperative to do so, because without adequate down time, it will be near impossible to soothe your stress woes away. Relaxing can take on many forms, like:

Meditation
Yoga
Prayer
Gardening
Reading
Journaling
Soaking in a bath
Hiking, biking or swimming

The body and mind know how to relax — we just need to give them “permission” to do so. This is easier said than done, of course, for those of you who need a little help, we highly recommend the Pure Relaxation: Guided Meditations for Body, Mind & Spirit CD by respected meditation expert and new SixWise.com columnist Mary Maddux.

The guided meditations and music on this CD calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body. Using these guided meditations regularly will help you to live in a more relaxed way and you’ll notice that when you begin to feel stressed, you’ll be able to relax more easily than before.

3. Proper Sleep: Another essential tool for stress reduction is getting enough sleep. When we sleep, the stress hormone, cortisol, is lowered, but when we are asleep deprived, cortisol levels rises. Further, your energy levels will go down and you’ll be less able to cope with any setbacks during your day. If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep insomnia can certainly be a cause for stress in itself, also check out Mary Maddux’s celebrated Sleep Easy: Guided Meditation for Deep Sleep CD. It’s especially designed to help you unwind from the stresses of living, and helps to calm the overly busy mind, soothe the emotions and relax the body.

4. Proper Nutrition: Fortifying your body with the nutrients it needs is key to reducing stress and staying healthy while you’re feeling it, as stress can actually rob your body of nutrients. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and other antioxidant-rich foods while avoiding junk foods.

Although sugar and fats actually work to lower levels of stress hormones circulating in the body, according to a study in the Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is why we likely crave these foods when we’re feeling stressed, in the long-term sugar and junk food will only further suppress the immune system and increase your chances of developing disease.

If you’re under chronic stress and want to protect your immune system, you may want to consider adding Garden of Life’s RM-10: Immune System Food to your diet. RM-10 caplets are a combination of tonic mushrooms, herbs and aloe vera shown to support immune function. It provides nutrients specifically chosen to feed and nourish the immune system, which is essential for those under high levels of stress.

5. Build Strong Friendships: Because stress can lead to feelings of depression and even isolation, keeping a network of social ties can help to reduce those negative feelings and boost your mood. Says Psychologist Elissa Epel of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, “Building strong friendships and developing new goals and priorities often can help curb stress.”

Though relieving stress is important, try not to stress about it. As Hans Selye, the man who first developed the theory on the influences of stress, said, “Without stress, there would be no life.”

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