The stresses of modern life have conditioned the mind and body into states of chronic stress. When you perceive stress your body responds via your hormone glands, releasing two primary stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. These two hormones have a widespread impact on every system and organ in your body. Specifically they lead to an increase in blood sugar levels and a decrease in DHEA levels. This combined effect leads to muscle loss, fat gain, depression, anxiety and immune suppression.
In addition to developing your ability to cope with stress through targeted mind-body strategies, healthy nutrition plays a vital role in managing stress. Food and good nutrition provide much needed energy, vitamins and minerals to counter the negative effects of stress while offering a protective barrier for future stresses. Carbohydrate rich meals that include kale, collard greens, red pepper, carrot, spinach and broccoli can increase levels of serotonin, a brain chemical known to induce a feeling of calmness and reduce stress-induced depression.
Nutritional ways to relieve stress:
Limit caffeine and alcohol: These substances may provide temporary relief but in the long term they significantly increase stress. Alcohol actually heightens feelings of depression.
Eat 4-6 small meals daily: Stress interferes with digestion so smaller meals are digested better than the traditional 3 large ones.
Eat more cantaloupe, ginger and garlic: These foods thin the blood while the stress response thickens the blood, leaving the body more susceptible to heart-attack or stroke.
Decrease sugar: Sugar depletes chromium and depresses white blood cell action thereby decreasing the efficacy of your immune system.
Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Chromium, Potassium, Zinc and Vitamin C are all lost during the stress response. Check your supplement program for sufficient amounts of these vitamins and minerals.
Anti-stress teas are very effective remedies for combating stress: Especially recipes with chamomile, peppermint and ginger.
Tips From the "Tips"
Focused awareness is something that I work on with all of my students - at all levels. What is focused awareness? Have you ever been at a cocktail party, having a conversation and you hear someone mention your name across the room? As you attempt to listen to the conversation where you were mentioned, you are no longer aware of what the person you are talking with is saying. That is because your awareness can only be on one thing at a time. For example, do you ever put all of your awareness on trying to create the perfect putting stroke, rather than where you actually want the ball to go? Many golfers do, and the result is lots of missed putts. Why? Because without focused awareness, your mind will have doubt in your stroke, and you are easily distracted because you don't have a clear intention about where you want to the ball to go. Here's one way to check to see if you have awareness of the target: get set up to hit a putt an as you are about to pull the trigger, close your eyes. Send your awareness to the target and point your finger at where you ‘think’ the target is in space. Then, open your eyes and see if you are correct. Do this several times from different locations on the practice putting green. In just a short time, this little drill will significantly improve your focused awareness of your target. It’s as though you practiced merging your sub-conscious and conscious mind and you'll be making more putts!
If you have any questions about focused awareness, please let me know.
SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR BALANCE
I’ve had many teachers and lessons in life – some good and others not so welcome. An early teacher was my older brother Bobb whom I followed in his footsteps by becoming a driven and successful entrepreneur at an early age. By my mid 20’s my company was producing events and TV shows throughout the world even though I had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative disease for which there is no cure. Working long hours, my imbalance was further tipped in my 30’s when I was hit by a drunk driver. This was my second unwelcome teacher after the diagnosis. The “accident” was the teacher that prompted me to retire from a stressful career and instead focus on my new passion for health. Three decades after the diagnosis, I’m a dedicated Health Coach who is still learning new lessons including these seven strategies my brother recently shared and here are the ways I’ve applied them to my life:
KNOW WHAT FEEDS YOU & WHAT DRAINS YOU
I studied Nutritional Medicine, learned about holistic health and enjoyed countless workshops on personal growth and meditation to feed my body, mind & spirit.
Energy comes and is robbed in many forms. Food sensitivity and allergies such as gluten, dairy, caffeine and sugar (in my case) feel like a sinkhole. Some activities, difficult people and environmental toxicity can feel like a vacuum.
EXPEND MORE ENERGY BEING FED THAN DRAINED
We often hear that “we are what we eat”, so it also proves true that I’m a reflection of the thoughts I think and relationships I choose.
LEARN TO SAY NO
As a perpetual people-pleaser, this was difficult to learn. I now know that saying NO to others is sometimes necessary in saying YES to me!
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS AND START EACH DAY WITH SOME FORM OF EXERCISE… mental-physical-spiritual
My husband Martin and I share a spiritual meditation each morning.Some days the exercise is enjoying physical exercise, reading an affirmation or listening to an inspirational recording.
JOURNAL FREQUENTLY AND DO AN ASSESSMENT **
I find writing to be completely transparent and revealing.Assessments can be a helpful tool with the support of an objective professional.
ALWAYS PUT FORTH POSITIVE THOUGHTS TO OTHERS AND ONLY GIVE FROM YOUR HEART.FORGET ABOUT PRAISE, POWER, AND PROFITS WHEN APPRECIATING OTHERS
It’s important that I forget about praise, power and profits when appreciating others. I share hugs with friends whenever I see them or send notes and let them know how special they are to me.
REAFFIRM YOUR SPOUSAL RELATIONSHIP SEVERAL TIMES EACH DAY
Martin and I profess our love for each other verbally many times, hug each other “just because” and just like we did when we got married thirteen years ago.
In order to take action and create positive change, I find life’s lessons in balance involve reflection and assessment. As a Health Coach and Author, I’d like to assist you my reader, by offering these tools as my gift to you:
**True Health Assessment and True Health Companion** is a confidential online questionnaire created and responded to by the physicians and scientists at USANA Health Sciences. It will outline your key health risks, offers nutritional recommendations as well as suggestions for a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. After completing the **True Health Assessment** you will have free access to your True Health Companion which is a planner that allows you to log daily nutrition, fitness activities, weight management, hydration, sleep/mood/energy tracking, supplements and more. (Click here to start your True Health Assessment now!)
How do you find balance?
Wishing you health, happiness and balance in your life,
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