Not all stress is the same, and how we react and respond to it is the difference between good stress and bad stress. Stress is expressed through simple chemical fluctuations. The key to managing your stress is to have a strategy to help counteract your body’s natural responses. Following are eight tips that can help you more fully enjoy your life and the people around you.
1. Positive Perception: Every grey cloud has a silver lining, so always identify the positive attributes of a troubling situation.
2. Nutrition: Many of us are trying to make healthier choices in the new year. Making good food choices can go a long way to managing stress. Teas such as Oolong and Chamomile have long been acknowledged as positive mood and immune promoters. Fruits like oranges, clementines, apple slices, bananas, lemons and kiwis are all packed with immune-boosting nutrients that keep you feeling good. Omega 3 fatty acids are now placed in foods from eggs to pasta to juices, so buying foods with the omega difference is a big step toward mood and immune support.
3. Motion: Even though it’s cold outside, staying active and in motion is essential to keeping your muscles strong and your joints mobile. More importantly, it helps your heart and lungs supply your brain and body all they need to keep you alert, happy and healthy. Regular exercise doesn’t necessarily involve going to the gym. Mall walking has become my mother's favorite exercise and winter social club.
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4. Sunlight: Although you may not think of the sun in the frigid framework of winter, the sun remains an important catalyst to vitamin D production and a mood stabilizer.
5. Deep Breathing: Taking time to bathe your brain in oxygen is always beneficial. Inhale slowly for eight seconds, hold the breath for another eight seconds, and then exhale slowly for eight seconds. Intentional, focused, deep breathing helps to calm your nerves and improves respiration by increasing the concentration of oxygen in your circulation systemically.
6. Soft Love: Time with family, close friend(s), or perhaps a pet all deliver a reduction in blood pressure and stress hormone levels.
7. Laughter: When calendars are full and the day falls short in providing enough time to finish everything that needs your attention, the idea of laughing may sound silly. However, silly is good, and finding the cracks in the chaos can cheer you up and perhaps deliver a beneficial attitude break that is the difference between an overwhelming day and a good day. Laughing is the best natural mood boost the body has to offer.
8. Chiropractic Care: Adjustments are brilliant at maintaining joint mobility, muscular balance, aiding pain-free motion and restoring restful sleep cycles. By following all of these steps, including a chiropractic health plan, you’ll cope much better with stress all year-long.
Michael Oppelt, D.C., M.S., is a 1994 graduate Palmer College of Chiropractic. He practiced in Wigan, England, for five years before returning to Palmer College as a faculty clinician in 2000.