Learning to cope with stress excess

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We are bombarded with so much information today about health and wellness it seems overwhelming, which is why I encourage simplicity. As a practicing pharmacist for more than 20 years, I have been in a constant state of learning myself. Along the way, my scientific background has helped me understand the need for balance between traditional allopathic medicine, which treats disease through the use of remedies, and holistic clinical nutrition.

In future issues of L Style G Style, this column will provide readers with helpful tips, solutions and general pragmatic discussions, and information concerning current health and nutrition issues, all from the holistic perspective.

In my time as a pharmacist, I have learned how important it is to address stress in our lives, and to take initiative to make ourselves healthier. The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Traveling, extra expenses, excessive business, eating unhealthy super-sugared holiday snacks and dealing with relationship strains are only a few of the stressors of this supposedly fun time of the year.

So here are a few tips for keeping your stress levels down during the holidays. Getting some exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are key. Both are equally important for coping with stress. I am passionate about maintaining an integrated perspective and live by the philosophy “you are what you eat.” Be aware of what you are putting into your body, and how it may affect your stress levels. Stress avoidance and how we deal with the stress we do have can work wonders for keeping us healthy, too.

Chronic or prolonged stress basically puts our bodies in crisis mode most of the time, causing us to metabolize inefficiently, which can lead to weight gain and the loss of precious energy. This can also affect our ability to sleep well, and potentially cause a decrease in sex drive. This overexposure to stress progressively worsens and can lead to insulin resistance, Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome, and finally Diabetes Type 2.

Stress avoidance is the first line of therapy. Whether you are a man who shows his emotions or hides them, study yourself a bit and start noticing what triggers your emotions, especially the ones that lead to stress. Then, simply make a plan when you know you are going to be in those stressful situations. Also, enlist a friend with whom you can check in for support so that you don’t feel alone.

Coping with stress is different for everyone. The one single thing that everyone can do that has been shown to be effective and quick is to take three to five deep breaths. Some other activities that may help you to cope with stress include exercise, reading, listening to music, socializing, spending time with pets, enjoy intimacy, talking to friends, people-watching and drinking plenty of water.

Addressing the signs of stress in our lives is important and taking the initiative to make some changes doesn’t have to be difficult.

No one is an expert at stress avoidance or coping with stress. Know that you will get better at it as you intentionally work toward decreasing stress in your life. It is a great investment of time, but the added vital years are well worth it.

SUGGESTIONS FOR REDUCING STRESS:

  • Get exercise
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Take three to five deep breaths
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Socialize
  • Pamper your pets
  • Be intimate
  • People-watch
  • Drink plenty of water

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