There are a few little things that you can do in the short term in order to help combat the effects of stress. These things may or may not work for you, they are just some things that I find to be quite helpful on a stressful day at work or home. Remember, an underlying stress condition can seriously impact your long term health and as such it is very important to talk to a professional.
1. Run, run, run
Exercise is a tried and tested method for reducing stress and helping your body recovery from a bad day. Why? Because, as we all know, the body releases a chemical called endorphins which leaves you feeling. Although I can’t find any medical proof for it (any doctors out there?) I once read that the stress hormone is designed to prepare you for a primal “fight or flight” situation which is then perfectly burned off by running. It is almost as if the stress is preparing you for a good jog!
Running also has the dual effect of getting you outside into the open and getting some sunlight. Sunlight is necessary for the production of Vitamin D which is involved in keeping you happy as well as immune healthy. Some studies also suggest that it may help prevent cancer.
2. Eat less meat
There are numerous studies that point to the fact that eating a healthy vegetarian diet can lead to a longer life expectancy and better heart health. There is also some evidence to suggest that you are less likely to get cancer. Now I am not a total vegetarian, I eat meat about twice a week. But since cutting back from daily meat intake I have noticed better energy levels and a much happier feeling. It might not work for you but I would never go back to a meat based diet.
3. Read from the experts
There is so much knowledge to be found in books. All the problems that we are having now have been had and thought about by smart people for thousands of years. Aristotle, Buddha, Plato, Descartes, the Dalai Lama, etc. – all of these people’s thoughts and ideas are written down. And they help. They have practical meaning for our lives today. If you are having problems with stress you might just find a solution or two by reading a book and then applying the ideas to your situation. Family, work, disease… all of these problems have been tackled before.
The opening quote is something that I found to be quite striking. Everyone is stressed but hardly anyone thinks that it is a real problem. But as my doctor showed me and as the studies continue to show us, stress can have a serious impact on your health, well being and longevity. I hope that this short post might serve as a starting point for you to tackle your stress levels. At the very minimum I hope we all go for a jog tonight!