IN YOUR DAILY DOSE: today is research demonstrating specific types of stress reduction techniques may improve stress reactions, greater than health education.
MAKING CHANGES: Reducing your stress levels may also reduce the potential you’ll suffer from significant health problems. We’ll give you several strategies to help improve your experience with stress.
FACT OR FICTION: Were there bats at war?
In The News
In a randomized clinical trial using women who were obese or overweight, researchers taught one group how to practice mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, and the control group received health education.
The women who learned mindfulness therapy demonstrated a reduction in stress and in their blood sugar levels, while the group who received just health education experienced neither.
Daily Health Tip
Stress affects not only your emotional and mental health, but also your physical health. Using stress reduction techniques consistently may help reduce your potential for experiencing negative health consequences.
Staying physically healthy and incorporating stress reduction techniques may help to reduce your stress level and your blood pressure.
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night. When exhausted, your brain does not function as well. You will have more problems with focus and with the ability to think through problems. In fact, when tired, your brain functions as if you have been drinking alcohol with reduced reaction time and processing speed.
- Get 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine each day. Sun is a great way for your body to manufacture vitamin D, but it also affects your brain and your mood. If you can’t get outside, use a light bulb in the house designed for people with seasonal affective disorder. All of us benefit by being in the sun!
- Exercise every day. Whether you are walking after lunch and dinner or working out for an hour at the gym, get some exercise. Your digestive system works better, your arteries will be healthier and your mood better too.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated. Your urine should be light straw color. If it’s darker then you aren’t drinking enough and if it’s lighter you are drinking too much.
- Find what works best for your stress reduction. Some people practice yoga, others just exercise and others find that prayer helps to relieve their stress of everyday living. However you choose to manage stress, it’s important that YOU manage stress and not that the stress in your life manages you.
There are several different stress reducing activities you may have tried but the following three are our favorites as they are supported by research and they work, whether you believe they will or not. In other words, there is no placebo effect with these strategies - when you practice them consistently and correctly you WILL enjoy the benefits. And one of the nicest benefits is stress reduction.
Don’t just read these - actually DO THEM.
- Exercise - you may not want to hit the gym and sweat to the oldies, but you can go for a 30 minute walk after dinner each night. The combination of being outdoors in the sun and exercise has a calming effect on your nervous system. If being outside is out of the question, try an indoor bike, exercise ball, mini-trampoline or any other activity that raises your heart rate. You aren’t training for the Olympics, you’re just moving.
- Emotional Freedom Techniques - this is a bit like acupressure, using specific areas of your body to interrupt energy pathways. This is NOT some new age nonsense, but is based on 1,000s of years of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can even help improve your motivation. It’s easy to learn, can be done at home or even in public and takes just minutes. You can learn more about it here: http://eft.mercola.com/
- Yoga - that’s right - yoga. It can be a simple form that isn’t very physically taxing or you can try a Hot Yoga class done in a room heated to near 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Research demonstrates that yoga has a significant number of positive benefits to your health, well above reducing stress and anxiety. Just 12 minutes a day may reduce your potential for osteoporosis, reduce stress, depression, anxiety and improve your cardiovascular health. Simple, easy and 12 minutes a day - do you have an extra 12 minutes each day to reduce your stress?
I avoid the stress that comes with perfectionism. Instead of being anxious about taking a dream vacation or finding my soul mate, I appreciate each experience and person I meet. I give thanks for their unique contribution to my life even if it takes me by surprise.
I focus on quality over quantity. I eat sensible portions of healthy and delicious food instead of filling up on empty calories. I outfit my home with the furnishings and appliances I need instead of cramming more stuff into each corner.
Fact or Fiction?
During World War II, Americans experimented with using bats to drop incendiary devices, or bombs, on the enemy. The idea was to drop a canister filled with bats fitted with small incendiary devices that would be triggered in the morning after they found a place to roost for the day. Bats can carry more than their weight in flight, will find places to roost during the day. The plan was to release them in the dark hours of the morning over Japanese cities where many of the buildings contained paper and bamboo - highly flammable. The idea was minimal loss of life, but devastated property damage from many small fires. However, during testing the bats were dropping like stones from the canister and the idea never got off the ground.
Have a wonderful day!
Your Healthy Life America Team