Stress: Managing America's Most Common Toxin
Stress increases your body's toxicity. But chronic stress that is not addressed can have devastating long-term health effects including high blood pressure, dementia, depression, heart problems, inflammation and increased risk for some types of cancer.
According to the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of Americans are more stressed than they were five years ago, and an increasing number of children are experiencing stress.
Traditional doctors prescribe drugs that mask stress symptoms, but dealing with stress through natural, safe methods is ultimately the most effective treatment.
Here are a few easy ways to take control over the pressures in your life:
Exercise will always top the list for stress reduction, but—fortunately—you don’t have to run a 5K to see the benefits. Simple stretches, like toe touches and wrist flexors can be effective stress busters.
Try this easy, 10-minute routine:
- Lie with your back on the floor, legs relaxed and palms to your sides facing up. Take three deep breaths.
- On the third breath, bring your hands above your head, and stretch them away from you while simultaneously pointing your toes, and stretching your feet away from you.
- Imagine you are being pulled gently by the hands and feet in opposite directions. Repeat a few times.
- Repeat the same stretch standing up.
- Reach your hands toward the ceiling, while standing on the balls of your feet. Lower your feet and hands, and repeat.
- Incorporate other stretches as you go along.
Do you ever catch yourself thinking in black and white?
Black-or-white thinking usually contains all-encompassing words like never, always and nothing.
- “If I don’t save more money, I will never retire.”
- “I neglected everything on my to-do list. I can’t get anything done.”
Thinking in black and white is most often misleading and untrue, and it is a breeding ground for anxiety and stress. Giving into this line of thought happens subconsciously. So how can you beat it?
Pay attention to your words and thoughts.
If you notice black or white phrases creeping into your mind, reassure yourself it is incorrect. Ask yourself, what other outcomes could occur? Are there really only two options here? Set your mind on positive alternatives.
Keep a Journal
Identifying and writing down your stressors can help you understand triggers and address the root cause(s) of your stress.
Note the date and time you experience stressful feelings or symptoms. Review your journal to see if there’s a pattern. Understanding what triggers your stress will allow you to develop strategies for eliminating it.
Visualization can be like a mini-vacation. Close your eyes for 10 minutes every day and picture yourself in a calming place like at the beach, in a meadow or at a spa. Imagine the sounds, sensations and smells associated with your chosen place.
Visualization can help you temporarily break from a stressful situation or give you a much-needed time to relax. These four simple steps enable you to overcome and remove stress from your body.
Contact your Maximized Living doctor today to learn more about managing your stress through each of the 5 Essentials of Maximized Living.