How long is your to-do list? Did your heart rate go up just thinking about it? If so, let us help you declutter your mind and give you some of your life back!
“To be busy is to be productive.” This message has become ingrained in our American culture. We hear it everywhere: our worth is tied to how hard and long we work, how much money we make, and how much we accomplish. With this mindset, it’s no wonder we’re one of the most stressed out nations in this world! On average, Americans are not using their vacation days anymore, and when they do take a day off, they often worry about things undone at the office. We are overworking ourselves and living in a constant state of stress.
Chronic stress leads to skin issues like acne and rashes, concentration problems, anxiety, depression, anger, hypertension, higher cholesterol, reduced fertility, digestion issues, and a suppressed immune system that can’t fight off illnesses. It is physically impossible to live a healthy, happy life if we are overwhelmed with stress.
Take a few steps to declutter your mind and help your body relax.
Yoga and meditation are great tools for finding stillness. Beginners can start small with 5–10 minutes per day, using a guided meditation or just sitting in a quiet place focusing on your inhales and exhales, slow and deliberate. If it is hard for you to sit still, try a walking meditation! Go on a slow walk down the street and focus on your breath in and out. Allow your mind to clear out and get quiet. (This gets easier with practice; I promise!)
Get in Nature
The Japanese have this amazing practice called “forest bathing” where they go for a walk in the green trees. This practice has been scientifically proven to enhance the expression of anti-cancer proteins, lower concentrations of cortisol (the stress hormone), lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and increase parasympathetic nerve activity (the state in which your body has the capability to relax). If you don’t have the ability to be in the forest, go to your nearest park and take a short walk, or go out under the moonlight when everything is quiet to find your peace.
Feed Your Body Right
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”–Hippocrates. Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of health. It affects every part of life: physical capability, mental alertness, emotional stability, sexual function, and the immune system. Our country, one of the richest countries in the world, is being plagued with chronic illnesses and unexpected deaths at early ages. The old saying “you get out what you put in” proves to be true. When you are lovingly providing your body with excellent nutrition, you will be able to live your life to your fullest potential. It is surprisingly very easy to change what you are eating. Eating well will lead to feeling stronger, being happier, and thinking clearer. Changing your diet can even save you money: using Sunwarrior’s illumin8 for breakfast every day instead of buying a Frappuccino and a bagel ($6) will save you around $150 a month, $1800 in a year.
Journaling is very therapeutic and often helps people be able to express themselves better. An important practice for dealing with stress is figuring out your triggers! When you know exactly what makes your stress level skyrocket, you will be able to either eliminate the triggers or figure out how to deal with them. For example, you can’t get rid of a stressful commute to work every day through horrendous traffic, but you CAN put on your favorite music have a great jam session, or listen to a good book on tape, or use it as a time to reflect in gratitude for your family, your experiences, and your job.
Do Something Just for YOU!
Putting self-care into your weekly routine can be as simple as making yourself a loose leaf lavender herbal tea every morning, taking a bubble bath every Thursday night, and going to the art exhibit that you’ve wanted to check out. Giving yourself some love is so important, especially when you’re spending most of your day focused on other people or work.
At the end of the day, remember that stressful situations can always be looked at in a different light. Even if you can’t control much in your life, you can ALWAYS control your thoughts and your perception. Practice spinning complaints into gratitude: instead of “Ugh I need to do my laundry, dishes, and dinner to make” try saying this: “Wow, I am so blessed that I have clothes on my back, healthy food in the fridge, and a great meal on the table.”
Take a moment to breathe and those moments will come back to you in the form of longevity and happiness.
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