Sorry for shouting there. :-\
Stressful influences seem to surround us. If it isn’t the outside threat of global warming or political shenanigans (lovely word), it’s closer to home with work demands or domestic issues taking their toll on our health and our sanity. Of course, some stress is inevitable and, in fact, normal. It can encourage us to get things done or change things we don’t like. If you think about it… a world without any stress at all would leave us so laid back or bored, there would be little impetus to do any thing! However, it’s when we live in a near-constant state of stress, that it’s wise to take stock and see what we can do to reduce it.
There are really 2 types of stress:-
EU STRESS: No, not worrying about Brussels will come up with next! This is the type that is all under your control, the good stress if you like. For example, when you have a job to do; it’s down to you and it’s going well or the thrill of roller-coaster rides (IF you like them – personally I hate them). It’s the things that make life exciting and not dull!
DE STRESS: This is where the stress and anxiety are caused by elements beyond your control like being stuck in traffic and you’re late for an important meeting with your boss, family worries, divorce etc (or ME on a roller coaster!)
Only one type of stress that does the real damage. That’s the DE-stress (de-stress = distress). This is the one that contributes to heart disease, hypertension and general ill health. How you deal with stress is critical. A study once showed that those who go through life with an “It’ll all work out OK in the end” attitude tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who look for the negatives. Apparently optimists outlive pessimists by up to 7 years. Great news (but only if you’re an optimist! Really BAD if you’re a pessimist!)
You may remember, if you’ve been to our Health Talk, that there are 3 categories of stress: Physical, Chemical and Emotional. The following are things, from different areas, that you can do to boost your immune system and reduce your stress.
11 Tips to start with
*Take care of yourself physically. Get enough rest and sleep. Sleep before midnight is apparently particularly helpful.
*Drink more water. There is a link between water and stress reduction. Being dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels (a stress hormone). Also keep your alcohol intake down (it contributes to dehydration).
*Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. (a whole topic in itself I know)
*Exercise regularly. Walking can help relieve stress. A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine (Nov 99) showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly, had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously.
*Count your blessings. At the end of the day spend a couple of moments thinking of ALL the things you are grateful for in your life. Include things like your family, your dog (who loves you!), a lovely sunset – anything, no matter how small, that you appreciate. You can keep a daily list of 5 in a journal. Indeed, keeping a daily journal is helpful too.
*Try to live by the old adage of having the wisdom to care about the things you can change and not the things you can’t. Don’t cry over spilt milk (and you shouldn’t drink it anyway…it’s meant for baby cows remember)
*Declutter your house – a messy environment can affect how you feel. Mess gets in the way, obscuring things you need and spoils your enjoyment of space.
*Do one thing at a time and do it well. Then go onto the next thing. Do you see animals multitasking?
*Don’t be overly competitive. We don’t have to compete to be the fastest, the richest, the sexiest or the smartest on the block. This can come from insecurity and fear of being left behind, revel in who you are and YOUR uniqueness.
*Take just a little time to clear your mind (like a mini-meditation) now and then, some soft dreamy music can help. Put your troubles, if you have any, to one side…you can always pick them up later. Even a regular 5 minutes slot can help
*Get regularly adjusted! Removing interference and stress in your nervous system gives your body the ability to heal and regulate at its optimal level.
We’ll come back to these topics in future emails. Until then remember that the glass IS half full IF you choose to see it that way (and, hey, it’s better than no glass at all!)
Yours in health