Lower Blood Pressure, Improve Mental Health, Live Longer: Stress Relief Tips

Stress is not pretty...It makes us look older!

How to Reduce Stress, Increase Happiness and Longevity…

Stress is the leading cause of dis-ease! It can cause headaches, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, fatigue, poor concentration, memory problems AND it can take years off your life! Yikes…

What can you do to relieve these debilitating symptoms? Plenty, as it turns out.

Health and science journalist Thea Singer’s critically acclaimed book “Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind” offers some scientifically proven insight:

  • Eat mindfully, don’t do a fad diet. Restrictive dieting has been shown to create mental and physical stress. You may wish to consult with a nutritionist to design a diet for your needs.
  • Reduce Sugar. It causes jitters and mood swings.
  • Snack on Pistachios. This may seem like an odd tip, but recent studies at Penn State revealed that pistachios relax blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure, LDL (a.k.a. bad cholesterol), and triglyceride levels.
  • Make Exercise Fun. Find a physical activity you really enjoy – then, do it regularly! Again and again, exercise has been linked to stress relief and improved overall health. Try to work both aerobic and strength training into your routine. Join a gym or go more frequently.
  • Add or Ramp Up a Yoga Practice.  It is a great way to increase strength, inner peace and wellbeing. BTW, I tried lots of classes and teachers till I found one that suited me.
  • Meditate. To research the effect of meditation on stress, the Shambhala Mountain Center set up a three-month meditation retreat in 2007.  Afterwards, participants experienced significant stress reduction.  This is because daily meditation allows us to reclaim control of our emotions, and restore inner peace. There’s no ‘right” way to meditate. Options include using a mantra, music, watching the breath, gazing at a candle flame.
  • Unplug and give up Multi-tasking. You know why, right?
  • Socialize. Go spend time with your friends and family! Researchers at UCLA report that “The degree to which having emotional support, the perception that this exists and the reality of its being there, basically means that your brain is bathed in lesser amounts of stress hormones.”
  • Relax before Sleep. Listen to calming music, sing, meditate, count your blessings.  Sleep-deprivation raises our stress hormone levels and inhibits immune function. In other words, plenty of restful sleep will reduce stress and leave your body feeling whole and healthy.
  • Dance! Studies show that choreographed dancing does wonderful things for us, mentally and physically. Learning dance routines provides mental stimulation, great exercise, and regular social interaction. Win-win-win!

Stress affects everyone differently, so each of us will prefer particular methods of stress-relief. Start trying out some of these ideas. I’d love to hear from you in the comments -what strategies leave you feeling most rejuvenated and empowered?

Wishing you joy and peace!



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Photo by theogeo via Creative Commons

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