by Joel Delaney.
Never underestimate the power of stress. In my opinion, if there was one single thing you could do to get maximum health benefit it would be to minimize stress. Here are 10 practical and easy ways to minimize the effects of stress.
1. Exercise: The evidence to the benefits of exercise is huge. It’s a great way to de stress plus has great health benefits. Importantly, it doesn’t have to be a massive gym work out. The opportunity to exercise is everywhere: take the stairs, park a little further away, ride a bike with the kids. Keep it simple and make it fun.
2. Sleep well: This is the time when your body recovers from old stress so it doesn’t build up for the next day. Good sleep hygiene, like not watching T.V. just before be can be a life saver. You can also talk to you practitioner about effect assistance. Soaking your feet in warm salty water can help drain the blood from you head and settle the mind before sleep.
3. Acupuncture/Massage: These can be very powerful in breaking the stress response cycle. This can be key to giving the body and mind the space to recover and reset. Have you noticed getting stressed a lot harder when you’re relaxed?
4. Eat well: Being low in particular minerals like magnesium can make you body “feel” more stressed than it is. Do you crave certain foods when you’re stressed? Having the right mineral balance in the body can mean when you’re in the same stressful environment you don’t have that full body stress experience.
5. Supplements / Herbs: Sometimes it’s really hard to employ relaxation techniques when we are just tipped too far over the edge. We need help, and herbs and/or supplements are a great way to switch the body into a parasympathetic (relaxation) state. The great thing about them is that they are non-addictive, with minimal adverse side-effects like grogginess, like some pharmaceutical ‘relaxants’ have. Herbs and supplements can help minimize the effects of stress, like B vitamins, Buplureum, Valerian and Kava which are commonly used in the clinic. Herbs and supplements also help minimize the risk of getting sick when our system is really low. For example, vitamin C and zinc are used up when we are stressed and our adrenal glands are working in overdrive. Ironically, our immune systems heavily rely on zinc and vitamin C to function well. So, if your stress levels are high and your adrenals have used up most of your zinc and vitamin C supplies, you may likely have a lowered immune system
6. Awareness: Being aware of why you are stressed and what the triggers are is essential to being able to change behaviour. Be open to criticism; see the positive in people sharing their thoughts. It can be a lot easier to see what is going on when you’re not “in it”.
7. Meditation: Even 15min per day is proven to have massive health benefits. Meditation doesn’t have to be hard, if you can’t sit still try an active meditation like yoga, deep breathing or sotai.
8. Mindfulness: Being in the moment has been a proven way to benefit emotions. Keep it simple, feel the food in your mouth as you eat or the ground under your feet as you walks.
9. Don’t take on more than you can handle: Time management can be an effective way to “handle” more and make the day run smoothly. Be realistic with what is possible and be okay with saying NO. If you don’t give to yourself, you can’t give to others.
10. Hang out: Spending time with friends, especially other men, in a fun environment is a great way to settle the nerves and in some cases help give perspective as to what is important.
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