Life is busy! As Americans it feels as though we are always moving, always trying to achieve, never slowing down. Weeks fly by, seasons change in the blink of an eye. Whether we are studying for an exam or preparing for a presentation at work or moving into a new apartment, it is common in today's society for people to go from one high stress situation to another without stopping to decompress. "You work a high stress job, then you are in high stress traffic, then you come to a high stress household where dinner has to be on the table at a certain time, and there is no time factored in for relaxation," Pam Goodfriend, Psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado explains.
Stress isn't always derived from the negative. Sometimes our stress is eustress rather than distress and comes from happy events in life, like having the jitterbugs before starting a new and exciting job. No matter the origin of our stress, if we fail to aside time for relaxation then we ultimately are creating an unhealthy lifestyle of constant stress, which has negative ramifications on both our mind and body. "We need to have a balance between stressful and non-stressful events in our life," Pam emphasizes, "so our body has a chance to calm down and stop eliciting toxic chemicals from our adrenal glands and stop the futile process of accelerating our aging."
The idea is to factor in more "me" time into our daily routine. Below is list of simple stress relievers that you can start incorporating into your everyday life today:
1. Exercise more frequently - releases endorphins which is very calming and makes you feel better in terms of your mood. Exercise is a eustress.
2. Pick your friends more wisely - try to associate yourself with people who are enjoyable and share in the good times. This is not to say there won't be bad times, but by surrounding yourself with more positive and uplifting people you minimize the bad times. Especially try and stay away from people who like to draw attention to the negativity in their lives. Believe it or not, these people will increase your stress levels as well.
3. Pick your language more wisely - if you catch yourself frequently saying how stressed out you are, or how you always need to multitask , or that you are constantly overwhelmed, then you probably are living that reality. By changing the way you "self talk" you can change your perception on reality for the better. Try to say soothing things to yourself. Instead of saying "I'm so stressed out", change your language by saying "I need to do something relaxing right now". There is even different body language associated with the way you talk to yourself.
4. Develop more hobbies - hobbies that we enjoy are not only relaxing but they also provide fulfillment and boost self esteem.
5. Changing to a healthy diet - eating healthier food increases energy levels, builds and boosts your immune system, and helps you get in better shape. Increase your consumption of raw foods, slightly steamed vegetables, fruit, healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil, legumes and beans, and low fat proteins such as chicken and tuna fish. Cut down on eating carbohydrates that lack fiber, processed foods, foods with high salt content, fried foods, red meat, and unhealthy fats such as cheddar cheese, salami, and heavy cream.
Interview produced Alex Milzer with the Senior Directory, LLC on 10.19.14