Give yourself a break.
Stress accelorates aging by the surge of hormones, adrenaline and cortisol which causes blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster.
We live on a world where we are constantly under stress. We worry about money, our health and our relationships. Media bombards us with devastation and crisis around the world. We can barely turn on a media decice without seeing something negative.
Stress is meant for life or death situations, a burst of chemicals to be used for a short period of time and then shut off and saved for another time. The problem most of us have is we have no shut of switch. Our stress is ongoing. The surge of those hormones are constant and our bodies are not built for that.
Constant stress causes anxiety, depression, obsessive anger and hostility, insomnia, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart attacks. And frankly, it makes us look and feel old! Medications for these symptoms are the number one prescribed by physicians.
How can we fix this? How can we lower the constant stress hormones that are assaulting and aging our bodies? There are a few daily steps we can take that can make a huge difference.
1. Meditate. Just 10 minutes a day of focusing on nothing but your breathing. If other thoughts try to come in, just let them slip right out. Sometime speaking a mantra helps, such as when you inhale say “Only good may come to me.” And when you exhale say “Only good may come from me.” Or you may choose any mantra or make up your own.
2. Eliminate caffeine. This chemical revs up our system when we are not quite awake or need an extra boost to finish up our work day. It forces our system into stress mode. It is also addicting and very hard to stop. It is also dehydrating and can leave us looking ragged. Drink some cool water instead.
3. Reduce Alcohol. Once our system is reved up, we need something to relax us, so we down some booze at the end of the day. Happy hour right? All this does is cause our system extra work to detoxify itself while we are sleeping and our bodies dont get the rest we need. The only alcohol I suggest to drink is a small glass of red wine, which I will explain in a later post. Camomile tea is great for relaxing at the end of the day.
4. Sleep Deeper and Longer. Our bodies heal and rejuvinate while we sleep and waking up refreshed is a sure sign that we’ve gotten enough rest. We naturally detox when we sleep and if our systems are so full of chemicals, it will take longer to detox. Go to bed as early as you can and allow your body to mend itself.
5. Eat Naturally. Eat as clean and simple as you can. Vegetables, fruits and proteins. The things that were put on this Earth are the things we are meant to be eating. The simpler the food, the easier it is for our bodies to digest. Chemicals, processed foods, added hormones; these all put extra stress on our systems, stress we dont need.
6. Methodical Exercise. Choose an exercise that lets your body flow naturally. Walking, easy jogging, swimming, yoga; these exercises allow you to control your breathing, focus your thoughts, and produce endorphines which counter the stress hormones. Strenuous exercise can actually raise cortisol levels. So take it easy, be gentle with yourself and do something you enjoy.
Stress is a huge part of my life and it has affected me in many ways. I have taken many steps to reduce the stress in my life and will write more on it when I can. It is a huge topic for me because I know stress can kill me, but since I had a scary Birthday recently I wanted to focus on how it can also age us.