Age-related illnesses can be a worrisome inevitability for most in their later years. But with all the threats of cancer, stroke, memory and mobility-impairing diseases out there, it’s important to keep in mind that the #1 killer of both men and women is heart disease. And the leading factor in many cases of heart disease is stress.
Stress in your life is actually very stressful on the body; causing physical, psychological and emotional pain. But more than that, life stress releases coritsol and other chemicals meant to aid in short-term situations in excess in the body. This long-term and excessive chemical presence causes organ and tissue damage. Stress additionally suppresses the presence or utilization of beneficial compounds, preventing repairs to any accumulating organ and vascular damage.
So how can you help lessen your stress and potentially protect yourself from stress-related illness?
1. Be Kind
Being kind, caring and compassionate toward others not only helps bring up their mood, but helps you feel good too. Being helpful and polite to people, especially in a subservient situation, will brighten everyone’s day. Smile and be very kind to people in the service industry, as you could be the only person who treats them with respect and kindness that day. Show children you understand them and want to offer your listening ear and guidance, as they may not be heard by many adults. Show genuine concern to your employees or subordinates, if you have any, as they may not feel you understand or care about them.
2. Just Breathe
Intentional breathing is great for your mind, body and spirit. Take 10 deep breaths in through your nose, hold a few moments, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this every morning and evening as a routine, plus any time you’re starting to feel stressed or worrisome. Deep breathing oxygenates the blood, calms the mind, soothes your nerves and boosts your mood and sense of peace.
3. Meditation Nation
Take up whatever form of meditation you prefer, and practice on a regular basis. Scientific studies are just now coming upon empirical evidence that regular meditation is great for general health, peace of mind and happiness. If you prefer blank meditation, simply sit in a quiet space and clear your mind. Guided meditation in a class or recorded audio can bring you to a peaceful space in your mind. Crystal/singing bowl meditations do wonders for your energy and relaxation.
4. Go Yoga
The benefits of yoga range from peaceful sleep to tightening and toning muscles. Some forms of yoga focus on meditation and breathing, while others focus on physical and energetic movement. You can take classes, watch videos online, or simply practice poses from a print-out 5 minutes a day and still see some relief.
5. Get Moving
Do anything you can to move your body and rid your cells of stress hormones. Increase your heart rate and oxygenation with walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, aerobics, fitness videos or good old-fashioned gym routines. Get sweaty, and get ready for less stress.
6. Clean Eating
Processed foods are full of nasty chemicals and additives that make your body work even harder to process your daily stress and repair its effects. So go organic when you can, avoid preservatives and additives, and cut back on the salt and sugar. Salt is an essential mineral, but raises your blood pressure, so use smartly and sparingly. Look at the labels, and buy no-salt-added goods, or add natural sea salt to your home cooking. Simple sugars give you quick bursts of energy to burn on the fly, but causes inflammation. So use sugar alternatives like agave nectar, coconut sugar or raw unfiltered honey, or natural sugar substitutes like stevia, monk fruit powder, zylitol or erythritol.
Follow these 6 easy tips to keep your stress levels in check!