3 Simple Strategies for Keeping Stress In Check December 08, 2016 13:42

Feeling stressed lately? Research has shown that chronic anxiety can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Here are some simple ways to help you de-stress and boost your ability to ward off disease.

Holiday

Lower the volume

After a long, hard day and a tough exercise session, you just want to go home and relax. When you get there, the kids are running around, all the lights are blazing and shining in your eyes, the doors are open—allowing the sound of traffic to enter your home—and the stereo is blaring rap music. If you close the door, sit the kids down, soften the lights, and play relaxing music, you can transform your home into a calm, nurturing one in minutes. Tune in to the volume level of your home right now, not just the sounds but the sights as well. Sometimes we don't realize how stressful our home environment is until we lower the volume. By doing this at least twice a week, you will notice a huge difference. 

Laugh

Laughter positively affects your physical and mental health. According to heart disease researchers, 40 percent of heart patients are less likely than healthy people to laugh in various situations. 

“When you laugh, there are opium-like chemicals released by your brain,” says Michael Miller, MD, researcher and director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology for the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. Dr. Miller gave 300 people questionnaires to test their humor responses in various everyday circumstances and concluded “These [chemicals] give you a feeling of well-being or even euphoria. We believe this causes you to relax and your blood vessels to dilate. Laughter lowers blood pressure and your pulse rate. My advice is to laugh heartily for at least five minutes a day. Try to see the funny side and take life less seriously.” 

Did you know that the average child laughs 300 times a day, whereas the average adult laughs only 7? Give yourself plenty of opportunities to laugh: Read entertaining books, watch comedies on TV, and share funny stories from your training with your exercise buddies.

Holidays

Create new daily rituals

Our lives are shaped by daily habits. There are rules we follow automatically, whether or not they’re good or bad for us. For example, when faced with choices of where to eat, some of us just default to the nearest fast-food joint. Or, without thought, we spring out of bed and begin checking e-mails and worrying about our day, without even greeting our spouse. One of the best ways to start your day off on the right foot. so to speak, is to walk outside in the morning and spend a few moments taking in the fresh air. While you do this, quietly commit to yourself that you will remain as calm and as balanced as possible throughout your day. You’ll find yourself in better spirits and more in control of your life.

Christmas scene