We all know stress is something we should avoid, but few people realize the very real health consequences of stress. According to research complied by Statistics Canada, stress carries several negative health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications. Also cited, exposure to stress can contribute to poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, over-consumption of alcohol, and less-healthy eating habits. Stress comes in many forms. It can be caused from poor eating habits, exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals, physical stress (too much exercise or physical labour to the point of exhaustion), emotional stress caused from financial difficulties, family problems, and work related difficulties, and stress can also be caused from poor health, and inadequate sleep. The following are some easy to implement suggestions to help reduce stress in your life:
- Eat natural, unprocessed, chemical-free foods, organically grown whenever possible.
- Avoid chemical stressors: junk food, caffeine, drugs, hair dyes, toxic household cleaners, dry-cleaning, microwaving food in plastic containers, etc.
- Exercise, but not excessively (HIIT workouts are perfect!) and stretch regularly. Yoga and meditation practice is excellent
- Look for the opportunity to learn and grow in every situation, we are all exposed to stress, its how you perceive it that makes the difference.
- Put positive thinking into play, try to reduce unpleasant and limiting thoughts with loving and liberating thoughts. There is always more than one way to view any situation.
- Get adequate rest. Sleep in a room that is as dark and quiet as possible.
- Try to avoid eating while stressed, instead try to calm your mind first, deep breathing is great for this! Eating too fast or while stressed, causes digestive disturbances and will create yet more stress for your body.
- Avoid drinking too many liquids with meals as it dilutes digestive enzymes. Instead, drink after and in between meals to aid digestion.
- Take time for you. You deserve it. Whether it’s a nice Epsom salt bath, a manicure, massage or time to read a book, or even a cup of tea with a friend. Utilize your resources and take some time for yourself to do whatever is special for you.