Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Jun

Ooh! I’ll Have the Stress, Please

We talk a lot about hot topics like Big Pharma and carbs. But today we’re going to share some of the best tips for both preventing and addressing stress. Stress is ultimately at the root of many, if not all, of our most pressing health issues, including aging.

Of course this depends on your understanding of “stress”. An unhealthy diet that triggers an inflammatory response or the development of arterial plaques is one definition of “stress”. So does the emotional anguish of being in an unhealthy relationship. Another big one: the oxidative stress that promotes cellular breakdown. And simply failing to use your body actively – not moving your body daily – is stressful to your heart, muscles, bone tissue and even to your brain.

A little stress is useful: it’s how we learn, and grow, and survive. Indeed, when you work out, you’re stressing your body, just as if you were pruning a rosebush. There’s some value in moderate amounts of stress, which is a good thing, since life will never be free of it. But most of us probably suffer from too much chronic stress, and if we aren’t taking prudent steps to healthily deal with stress, the cumulative effects are devastating. Whether from the environment, lifestyle, injury or the way you use – or don’t use – your body, stress is really an umbrella term for a critical host of factors affecting your health.

stress

Here’s what we recommend:

10. Take a vacation.

Really. Just find a way to do it – even for two days. For some of you that means actually taking the weekend off. It’s amazing how a brief change of scene literally refreshes your spirits and helps you gain some perspective. On a daily basis, apply this shift logic and take a brisk walk outside or call a friend.

9. Say no.

This one is on every stress list, but everyone has a hard time following it. No one needs you that much. Strangely, the world will go on without you. If someone is trying to make you feel otherwise, you need to go on without them.

8. Stay away from processed food.

Most processed, packaged foods are land mines of sugar, empty calories, fat, sodium, chemicals, dyes and other ingredients detrimental to overall health. Refined foods spur inflammation, but they also can alter your mood, especially if you’re sensitive to drugs and chemicals. Very simple: eat food, not food products. You can get salads, veggies and fruit to go, just about anywhere. (What to eat in a day.) No excuses…unless you like running around at 80% all the time. Eat food that nourishes you, energizes you, and strengthens your brain.

7. Exercise.

Most Americans don’t. We’ve blogged about one major overlooked reason why. Here’s a trick: just put on your sneakers. Don’t think about the workout. Just don’t think. Simply think “I’m going to put my sneakers on.” If you do that, and give the workout three minutes, you’ve won the battle. Exercise is just too much of a health panacea to forgo. It stimulates a better stress response (we all know about serotonin – see below). It helps you sleep. It boosts immunity and can speed healing. It’s a tension reliever. It can help you lose weight. Exercise will cut your risk of every major disease and health condition drastically. Exercise helps you eliminate toxins, it improves digestion, and it stimulates your organs.

6. It’s the beating yourself up that hurts.

We all have negative thoughts and emotions, and “bad” desires or feelings. It’s not the feelings, even the supposedly “bad” ones, that really harm us – it’s worrying about them, repressing them, fighting them. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.

5. Be your own best friend.

Enough said.

4. The usual suspects are no-no’s.

Smoking. Excessive drinking. Dessert. Junk food. Mindless television. Breathing exhaust fumes. You know, the usual self-destructive habits that all add up to a lot of stress.

3. Engage your mind.

Most people stop learning and reading after college (or kids, mortgage, whatever). Mental health and longevity studies consistently show that humans who engage their minds with activities like puzzles, reading, art, travel, new hobbies, and languages are happier, healthier, and live longer. This is your one, precious life – make the most of it! It doesn’t matter if you’re a lousy painter or can barely catch the ball. If you like it, do it.

2. Fish oil.

Fish oil may help prevent Alzheimer’s. It reduces inflammation. It’s essential for cardiovascular health, mental health, and antioxidant support. Fish oil is truly a super star stress tool because it’s a double positive: fish oil addresses both physical and mental stress.

1. What else?

What’s your best tip for stress? What aspects of stress have you learned to address successfully? What kinds of stress do you need more suggestions for properly managing?

In next week’s Primal Health post we’ll be discussing the whole cortisol/stress issue. Tomorrow’s PH topic: sugar.

Further reading:

Boost Serotonin with These Easy Tricks

10 Really Simple Longevity Secrets

Georgie Sharp Flickr Photo CC

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

Technorati Tags: , ,

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I usually start accumulating stress when a routine gets interrupted and i have trouble finding a way to bring it back. I create stress by spending mental energy trying to plan ways to add in stress-reducers, without successfully enacting any of them! I have come to find the best way for me to break this cycle is to “unhook.” In some small way each day, I try to turn down my thoughts and explore the feeling of my breath. That helps bring a fresh, lighter perspective, and then I can get back into the groove.

    Christina wrote on June 9th, 2010
  2. Most important stress reduction technique: getting enough sleep. The body regenerates and reduces toxins during sleep, especially between 10 pm and 2 am. Getting enough quality sleep (in total darkness if possible) lets the adrenals rest and lets the body remove toxins and restore itself.

    Katie wrote on February 7th, 2011
  3. Jot down a ‘to do’ list at the end of each day and tick off the tasks finished from the previous days list. When things are getting on top do something. Cleaning, cooking, tax returns, budgeting – whatever so long as you’re acting and making a positive improvement to your life. It helps you to thinks things through more rationally and you’re busy getting on with a job that you wont have to stress about at a later time. Also, make sure your partner/kids are pulling their weight too.

    AlanaPA wrote on January 3rd, 2012
  4. EFT!! Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s a simple “tapping” technique using acupuncture meridians and it works wonders! Google it or have a look at EFTUNiverse.com (I’m not affiliated with EFT universe, but I am an EFT practitioner as well as a holistic nutritionist and personal trainer…

    Ellie wrote on March 7th, 2012
  5. Late to the party, but only found your website recently. You talk about reducing stress, but what about people with PTSD? (Talk about reaching for the ‘comfort food’). It regularly pushes cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Reaction to hypervigilence pushes these hormones several times a day in those with more severe cases. Any input on managing stress in that context? I know medication can help, but it does not stop the loop.

    Liza wrote on May 16th, 2012

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

x

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple