We’re going the wrong direction as a society in this particular category. According to Gallup, 55% of us experience several moments of stress per day, where the global average is 35%. Over 18% of us are dealing with anxiety and or depression per the National Institute of Mental Health. All the above not only decrease daily enjoyment of life, but also actually makes us sick. Stress can lead to increased headaches, pain, acne, reduced immunity, digestive problems, insomnia, and loss or increase in appetite. ~Psychology Today.
Stress also increases our levels of cortisol. This hormone when increased not only can affect all the above, it also can lead to weight gain, heart disease, increased blood pressure, depression and reproductive issues.
Stress however, is one thing that can be reduced with some simple daily changes.
- Avoid Stressburns- An unprotected shoulder exposed to the sun for several hours is likely to burn. Our minds work much the same way depending on what we expose them to. The number one concern for therapy patients in 2019 was feeling inadequate after scrolling social media feeds, many are struggling with impostor syndrome caused by social media . Recognize that you are seeing posts created for perception, which is often far from reality. Limit the amount of time you spend on these sites, unplug for a day or two and reflect on how you feel. The same goes for watching the news, sometimes you just have to take a break and turn it off.
- Diet and Exercise– Keep your caffeine intake in check to help increase a good nights sleep and reduce caffeine related anxiety. Foods such as avocados, asparagus, nuts, garlic, berries, oysters and dark chocolate all have vitamins, nutrients, good fats and proteins that help reduce the ill affects of stress. ~Prevention Daily Exercise can decrease anxiety and panic attacks, lower cortisol, reduce worry and fear, as well as increase hippocampus nerve cell growth which reduces depression. ~Harvard Health
- Laugh, Journal, Breathe and Love. Laughing relaxes muscles and increases immunity. Journaling, specifically thoughts of gratitude create positive focus and puts negative feelings into perspective. Deep breathing can decrease stress and anxiety at the onset as well as create moments of mindfulness which in turn reduce stress and increase self-esteem. Connecting with others, family, friends and even our pets, lowers cortisol and blood pressure. ~HealthLine
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” ~ George Burns
May 2020 be like a new breath. A year of new perspectives of what it means to be alive. A year of fearlessly trusting yourself, your instincts and your callings. A year of deeply connecting with the beautiful places, people and living creatures that surround us. A year of less distractions and more living.