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STRESS – The Manageable Barrier Between You and a Happier, Healthier Life

We all want less stress and more energy. When we address stress and our stress triggers, we can get a handle on what to do to avoid those triggers. We know traffic is a trigger that we don’t have control over so when in a jam, play some music or audiobook that diverts your attention to something pleasant. When arguments trigger stress, tell the person with whom you’re arguing with that you need a breath of fresh air and when you both cool down you will resume and find a solution.

It’s simple stuff but we need to be mindful to not give in to the compulsion to react angrily, for we know that never gives us the result we want and always makes us feel even higher levels of stress. Breathe deeply and slowly and think first.

STRESS WELLNESSStress is lethal to our well-being and longevity. According to the American Institute of Stress, an estimated 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are now related to the negative effects of stress. Weight gain, depression, accelerated aging, adrenal exhaustion, anxiety disorders, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, sexual dysfunction, chronic inflammation, heart disease, menstrual irregularities, ulcers, cancer and immune system dysfunctions all have been linked to chronic stress.

So what can we do to minimize stress?  One thing to think about is “How am I taking care of myself?” When we allocate some “me” time, we allow ourselves time to take a break and to do something that we “want to do” and not something we feel we “have to do”. Physical activity is a great choice because it helps us to get moving and increase the endorphins in our brain, which are a natural mood elevator. Just getting out the door is a big feeling of accomplishment when deciding to start moving. Once we are going for a walk or get to the gym, we get a feeling of accomplishment for taking steps to do something for ourselves and we feel better mentally, emotionally and physically from the effort itself. Also, respect your body. None of the suggestions listed here will be effective unless you get adequate rest and sleep.

I remember years ago when the 9/11 tragedies occurred. I trained a lovely woman who had just lost her husband. He was on one of the airplanes that were targeted. She was on strong anti-depressants and understandably very distraught. We worked out for 9 months and I noticed a consistent and improved change in her mood and her attitude. She decided to gradually decrease her medication until she was able to stop entirely. I noticed that she was smiling more and her confidence level became much more pronounced. I remember when she told me that she couldn’t wait to come to her work out sessions because doing so made her feel so much better than when she was on the medication. She felt more energy and more empowered when she exercised and loved the way she looked… which was a great mood booster as well!

bike-rideThere are many things that you can do to alleviate stress in your life.

  • Learn to say “no” and manage your priorities and time effectively.
  • Write in a journal to clear your mind and establish some goals.
  • Avoid taking on more than you can complete. Finish what you start.
  • Plan a fun vacation.
  • Engage in a new hobby and fun activities that bring you joy.
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation.
  • Plan an intimate interlude; stay sexually connected to your significant other.
  • Schedule a set time to exercise in your calendar.
  • Hire a certified, experienced personal trainer to motivate and educate you.
  • Surround yourself with supportive, caring people and avoid negative people.
  • Discuss emotional concerns with family members or someone you trust.
  • Join a support group.
  • Plan for financial success, establish an emergency fund.
  • Forgive mistakes you and others make along the way.
  • Live and let old grievances die. Focus on the good in yourself and others.

Remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a nutritionally well–balanced diet to sustain energy levels. Stay hydrated and reduce coffee and other stimulants to avoid energy drops from when the caffeine wears off. Consume four to six small meals a day versus one or two larger meals. Sugar and alcoholic beverages can be culprits in mood swings and can make your cravings for unhealthy snacks increase. Moderation is the key. If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid them.

Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and most people don’t realize how much it can affect them. Following these tips can help you to minimize stress and maximize your enjoyment of life!

MFN Industry Expert