Living a healthier lifestyle: Tips on reducing stress
WASHINGTON, April 14, 2014 – More than ever, I hear people lamenting how stressed out they are these days. Whether I am—at the food store, in line for a movie, at a restaurant, with family, friends, or a client—people are stressed out.
Baby Boomers, especially, are feeling stress. For many Boomers who find themselves sandwiched between aging parents and un- or under-employed offspring while themselves weathering an economy that is still shaky for most Americans, stress is at an all-time high.
Because of demanding lives and schedules, and very little down time or self-care breaks, many people are on medication for various reasons such as anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, and poor sleeping habits.
In the past year, with regard to stress, I have asked myself the following question:
“What can I include in my life that can eliminate or lessen some of the everyday stress I am feeling. What de-stressing tools or techniques can I use that I can easily teach my clients and others who want to live better and benefit from a healthier lifestyle?
So I went about looking for solutions the way I go about most things in life…very thoroughly! I researched different tools and techniques, attended workshops, read books, and had several one-on-one lessons with my coach so I could “lock in the learning” in the most timely and effective fashion. I was on a mission: to maintain and sustain a healthy lifestyle with as little medication as possible.
Obviously if you are on any medications for any reason, I am not advising you to get off of them. That decision is between you and your physician. What I want in my life is to not add medications where there are healthy alternatives. In turn, I can give others healthy alternatives.
For instance, I have been on medication for high cholesterol for years. In my case it’s genetic. I can look at a piece of cheesecake and my numbers go up. I tried diet and exercise but was never able to get that cholesterol measurement down under the “high” level. Sparing you the details, at a certain point my doctor and I decided that cholesterol medication was necessary to bring it down.
Assuming you’ve been able to manage your own necessary level of medication, it might be time to look at lifestyle options as you try to address stress.
So what type of healthy lifestyle options do you want to try? My criteria were fairly simple: whatever tools and techniques I was going to learn had to be simple and easy. And they shouldn’t take up a lot of time.
As it is with most of us, I didn’t want to add something to my plate, only to discover I wouldn’t have the time to work this into my schedule. Or worse, feel pressured to accomplish these new techniques anyway, which would then add stress rather than relieve it.
So what will work for you? Here are some suggestions for you to consider when seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle in order to reduce stress. Some of these will be familiar, while others may be new to you.
- Exercise: According to the latest Harvard studies, exercising for one hour will build up a sweat and give you great results. It will also release endorphins (the “good feeling hormone”) into your body. Obviously if one-hour is too much for you, any amount of time to exercise is better than none.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping: This is a technique for improving your life on many levels physically, mentally and emotionally. It helps calm the nervous system to restore the balance of energy in the body.
- Qi Gong (Qi, pronounced chee). This exercise and healing technique from China is meant to cultivate and balance qi (chi), or what has been translated as life energy. It employs breathing techniques, gentle movement, and focused intention.
- Meditation. Meditation techniques are aimed at calming and healing physical, emotional, and mental stress, which can lead to experiencing higher levels of consciousness and achieving self-realization.
- Breathing. Related, in a way, to meditation, breathing methodologies involve different exercises and techniques that effectively calm your mind and body.
As always, however, any of these suggestions will only be as effective as their application in your life. So once you’ve set on a course of action, following through and sticking with what you’ve chosen always offers the best chance for success and, hopefully, a less stressful life for you, and by extension your family, friends, and business associates.
If you’re interested in learning any of the above techniques contact:
Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Certified Business, Life & Leadership
Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies, Life & Career Transition, & Business & Leadership
301-706-7226 or 703-547-0039