We know stress does a fabulous job of interfering with our daily lives. It’s a habit that has imbedded itself in ways that many of us weren’t prepared for. Now that science has caught up to the mind body connection, let's discuss these 5 proven ways to decrease the impacts of the stress response, while also retraining the brain to have better control over how it responds to situations that aren’t actually a tiger chasing after you, despite it feeling like it is.
This one is for my husband who I love so dearly, my heart hurts every time I see his insides creating unnecessary panic as though the world is caving in on him. Loud noises, running late to work, or spilling your coffee; when did these become the chasing tigers? I don’t have the answer to this, but what I will say is that when you tell the body all is well, all is well.
Sleep is key to health. This is the time that the body works its hardest to heal and replenish. When you get less than seven hours of sleep a night, you’re three times more likely to develop a cold than those who average eight hours a night according to the latest research from Cohen’s research team at Carnegie-Mellon.
Processed foods and drinks are filled with all the crap that will make your body have to work harder at night to process it, impacting sleep, and over time every single cell within in your body. From indigestion and depression, to cancer and heart disease, just about every inflammatory condition begins and ends with what you are consuming, and that’s the hard to swallow truth of it. Just eat whole foods. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient on the back of the box, throw the box away. It’s not worth it, and your body will thank you for it. You are better than that!
This doesn’t have to be you sitting on a meditation pillow in lotus pose like a yogi. Using breathing techniques anywhere and anytime you are feeling stressed is a proven way to minimize your body’s stress responses. The simplest exercise I do is a quick inhale of 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, and repeat 7 times before letting your breath go back to normal. This is especially good if you’re someone who’s stress habits have resulted in anxiety.
Researchers at Appalachian State University in North Carolina looked at the physical activity of 1,002 men and women and found that participants who exercised had fewer sore throats, headaches, fevers, and other ailments. The key is to get moving almost daily. For me, its either a 60 minute restorative yoga practice by my favorite online teacher, or it’s a quick 20 minute power workout on YouTube. Get up, and sweat it all out. This will replenish your endocrine system, purify your lungs, and keep your metabolism in check.
When you get enough sun, you feel better. Higher vitamin D levels have a lower risk of upper respiratory infections. More research is still being done, but there appears to be strong promise since vitamin D increases the production of proteins that act as natural antibiotics. Take a vitamin D supplement, especially during winter months. We also do not receive adequate amounts of vitamin D through our diets. Speak with your dietitian or nutritionist if you’re uncertain about dosage of specific vitamins or mineral supplements.
When working to minimize those stress tigers to boost immunity, eat a balanced diet rich in both fruits and veggies. Keep your self-care a priority to maintain balance and self love. Move your body daily to sweat it out, and take a vitamin D supplement. Get enough sleep at night, and don’t forget to breathe. Your breath is the fastest way to find the connection between your brain and physical body. And enjoy the fruits of your labor. When you work hard on yourself, you will be noticed and respected for it. Namaste.