Last week, we determined that stress wreaks havoc on our health. Now it’s time to start at square one: Identifying your stress triggers.
What symptoms of stress do you feel in your body? Headaches, digestive issues, muscle tension, low energy?
Jot down any ways that stress affects your mental or emotional state. Do you snap at people, hover around sweets, reach for a cigarette when you quit years ago, and so on?
Mentally review your typical day and week. Whenever the events or situations from above arise, write it down. On a note pad or on your phone, ask yourself – Is this related to my children? Family? Health, finances, work, relationships?
Finally, review my stress-relieving tips and techniques. Select a few you’re willing to try and then commit to one, or a version of one, that works for you.
Connect With Others
Social relationships – both in quality and quantity – affect our immediate and future physical and mental well-being. In one study, which compared participants’ long-term social habits and health records, those with strong social connections had a 50% greater chance of survival than their less-outgoing peers.
In fact, lack of of social connection was a stronger risk factor for death than even lack of exercise AND obesity.
When you feel responsibility for someone else, you create a new purpose for yourself. Get involved with a cause or volunteer program. Strike up conversation with the woman you’re always running into at work. Invest in others, and find clarity in the connections it creates.
Make Time to Meditate
Meditation isn’t only meant for the yoga studio. In fact, today, 18 million Americans say they maintain some kind of meditation practice. Do it regularly to calm your mind, reduce blood pressure, boost immune function and keep stress in check. The best part? Finding a mindful meditation, or simply observing the present moment, can be done anywhere, at anytime. If you’re looking to start, check out Younger In 8 Weeks for guidelines on establishing a meditation practice.
Try Out a New Hobby (Or Pick Up an Old One)
When’s the last time you picked up a paint brush? Or put together a puzzle? Whether it was years ago or yesterday, participating in brain-stimulating hobbies can help keep your mind off other things and functioning smoothly as you get older.
Hobbies feed the soul as well as the brain. The more complex and intricate the hobby, the better it is for you. The only “must” is that you enjoy it enough to do it at least a couple times a week.
Screen Your Screen Time
The average American spends 33.5 hours a week in front of screens watching and streaming media. Add this up and you’re missing out on years of your life! (FOMO is real people!) Not only do you lose out, but you’re also more likely to have insomnia, one study showed. Watch for fun, not for stress management or out of mindlessness.
We also continue to learn the profound effects of screen time leading to increased chances of depression, or lack of well-being regarding academics, career, or interpersonal relationships. Dig into a book, a journal, a chore or task instead.
Explore these suggestions, selecting one that works for you. Relieving stress and finding rejuvenation renew the body from the inside out. Take a look at Younger in 8 Weeks to discover how you can turn back the clock on the outside, too.
by Dr. Vonda Wright
Sponsored by Willow Valley Communities
For more inspiration from Dr. Vonda Wright, read her book Guide to Thrive. Click the book for purchase information.