Heart and Soul Healing

A women's health physician explores avenues to greater wellness.

Six Ways to Relieve Stress

Stressful times are inevitable. Living in stress is optional.

Stress can affect overall health by interfering with sleep, decreasing immune function, and causing GI distress. But more than this, how we handle stress determines how much impact it has on our physical health.

Six Ways to De-Stress:

• Find that zero point in you. That Sacred spot where your calm resides. This can be reached by being still for just a few moments early in your day. Your physical sense will hold that stillness and you can re-connect with that spot as your day unfolds. Meditation respites 5 minutes each 2 times a day can take you back to that spot.

• Practice deep breathing. Shallow breaths are nothing more that rapid taps on a drum that beat out a rhythm of anxiety. Long breaths allow our reconnection with that inner peaceful self.

• Eat Well – Food with protein vs. sugar and fats. Comfort foods provide only temporary comfort. They actually cause your body to go into a rollercoaster mode which can increase a negative cycle.

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• Do not try to be all things to all people. Women are the biggest offenders of throwing everything into the kettle and try to handle all --- till the melt down. Men compartmentalize and tend not to multi-task – thus being less likely candidates of stress.

• Stop working the 24/7 circuit! It does not pay—your body and spirit is what pays!! Learn when to say no- work will always be there tomorrow. Perfection is a delusion. You will never be perfect – settle for “Exceptional”—that is attainable.

• Play – “Young at Heart” thoughts and actions integrated with our adult selves can de-stress our body and mind. This can also be translated into “don’t take everything so seriously!” When a situation arises the ‘flight or fight “pattern can morph itself into anxiety and tension. That mode does not bring resolution. Talk it out with a friend. Keep a Journal. Allow for expression that will ease the air out of the balloon.

Stressful times are inevitable. Living in stress is optional. Take a few of these simple actions. It will benefit your body, mind and sprit.

Marilyn Mitchell, M.D., works in integrative medicine.

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