According to the Mayo Clinic, persistent stress is one of the biggest factors in cardiovascular health. Over time, blood vessels can weaken and blood pressure can rise leaving you more susceptible to heart attacks. Blood sugar also increases, immunity decreases and thinking becomes cloudy. – Debra Daniels-Zeller, author of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook.
Holiday time is often a time of stress for many people… especially in today’s economic status. The stress of shopping, finances FOR shopping, crowds, traffic, and more bombard our thoughts and our day-to-day activities during this time of year.
Here are 5 tips to help combat some of that stress and keep it at bay as shared by Author, Debra Daniels-Zeller:
1. Reach for whole foods. Recent research suggests that stress increases the body’s requirement for vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex. Stress also increases requirements for minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium.
One super food, the avocado, provides nearly 20 nutrients, including potassium, a mineral that helps balance blood levels of sodium and keeps blood pressure low. Avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains offer B-vitamins. Fruits and vegetables, especially hearty greens, are rich in minerals, especially magnesium, a mineral known to aid relaxation.
Indulge in dark chocolate. A study in 2009 found that eating dark chocolate reduces stress hormone levels. Also, eating dark chocolate releases endorphins in the brain, giving you a natural happiness boost.
2. Slow down. Ask yourself: what would happen if I don’t send holiday cards, or say yes to every invitation I receive? Take a media vacation and embrace the slow movement? Trim your to-do list. Double the amount of time it takes you to do one task and schedule 20 minutes of relaxation a day. (If you can’t do 20, try 10 minutes.)
Take a slow walk, paying attention to your surroundings, and pushing other thoughts away. Increase your focus with yoga. Breathe from your diaphragm, and practice saying no to invitations. Let the answering machine take your calls while you breathe deeply and visualize a peaceful place.
3. Exercise. Go for a restorative run or a brisk walk. Exercise has a unique ability to stimulate and relax. Use exercise as meditation in motion as you focus on a single task and improve your mood. Some psychologists say that a brisk 10-minute walk is as therapeutic for your mood as a 45-minute workout. Say no to excuses. Exercise consistently for six weeks and exercise will to turn into a habit.
4. Inhale relaxing aromas. Based on the idea that soothing scents can trigger emotions that cause pleasant memories, aromatherapy can relax you.
5. Try some herbs. No time to meditate? Too rainy for slow walking? And if the idea of squeezing relaxation time in is stressful, here are some herbs that help soothe tension:
• Lavender helps slow the central nervous system and promotes sleep. Keep a lavender sachet in your desk or purse for stressful moments. Sip lavender tea, take a lavender bath or soak your feet.
• Chamomile has had a reputation for calming children and is used in tea blends to help induce sleep. Sip a warm cup of tea and relax. Lavender teams up with chamomile in many tea blends, offering the benefits of both herbs.
• Valerian can help you relax during the day and sleep at night. It is available in capsule, tablet, tincture and tea. Go easy on the dosage until you find the right amount.
• St. John’s Wort helps relieve mild depression. As your mood improves, stress fades.
Adaptogenic herbs, called tonic herbs in Chinese medicine and Rasayanas in Ayurvedic medicine, also relieve stress by balancing the body. Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng, Ashwagandha, maca powder, and astragalus are examples of adaptogenic herbs.
If you’re taking pharmaceutical medications, it’s best to discuss drug interactions with a healthcare practitioner before beginning an herbal regimen.
If you feel stressed and don’t know the reason, keep a diary to see which events are stressful for you. Background stress adds to daily tensions. Take a break from caffeine and the nightly news. Lighten up, rent a comedy, and create a quiet night at home from time to time.
Debra Daniels-Zeller is author of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (Timber Press, 2010). She is a regular contributor to Vegetarian Journal magazine and writes a delightful food blog at http://foodconnections.blogspot.com. She can be reached at (425) 776-4689.
– See more at: http://www.marlenesmarket-deli.com
Cherie King - Your Wellness AdvocateThanks for stopping by and reading my blog!
If you like the article you just read and would like to be
notified when NEW stuff is posted, click here for updates.