Archive for the ‘5 ways to reduce stress’ Category

5 ways to reduce stress

June 24, 2011


5 easy ways to reduce stress

We need to remind ourselves that it’s about sensible principles, not inflexible rules. (Unless you are positive for Gluten sensitivity/Intolerance test…at which point you need to be 100% with a No-Gluten rule).

Anyway…Just eat real food (JERF), shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store (no processed foods from the middle isles), cut down the sugar, stay active, get out into nature and sunlight, and take time to relax.

With everything going on in life, things can get challenging.

Pausing for a little bit each day works wonders on the mind, spirit, and body.

1.  Breathe – It may seem silly to remind oneself to breathe, but it is very important.

There are two types of breathing: shallow and deep.

Taking shallow breaths causes the body to operate in “fight or flight” mode, which is highly stressful. Less oxygen goes to the brain and the body continues to operate on high alert.

It is important to take deep breaths, which stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This optimizes digestion, relaxation, and detoxification while keeping hormones balanced. There are many good articles out there on proper breathing.

2.  Gratitude – Remembering things to be grateful for throughout the day.

Better thinking releases chemicals that help with digestion, euphoria, relaxation, and overall well-being. Thoughts are Things. (More on that below)

3.  Laughter – As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Laughing for 10 minutes a day will do amazing things.

It can change the physiology of the entire body. (More on that below)

Laughter increases circulation, releases different “happy” chemicals in the body, reduces stress, keeps everyone in a lighter frame of mind, helps the heart, and can even burn calories!  It’s contagious, too!

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease.”-Voltaire

 “Laughter is the best medicine for a long and happy life. He who laughs… lasts.” Wilfred Peterson

4.  Sit in Silence – Taking 10 to 30 minutes to quiet the mind and clear thoughts can be beneficial. Also, spend the time visualizing goals for the day.

5.  Walking – Take a 15 to 20 minute walk outside to clear your mind. Sometimes all that’s needed is fresh air and sunlight. Taking a step away from the computer, the phone, the office, etc. can really help clear thoughts and be very calming.

Stress is unavoidable these days…and there are many ways to help reduce stress.

Practicing these five methods is a great start.



If you want to read some more below…here ya go…

There are entire fields of health care specializing in stress medicine and the chemistry of the mind.

For more than a decade, evidence has been accumulating in the field of Neuroendocrinimmunology, which combines research on the brain, nervous, endocrine and immune systems.

Another area of study is in Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which studies the effects of stress and attitude on our mind-body. Notice I didn’t separate the two into mind and body since the evidence is showing that they are inseparable.

The majority of the public hasn’t heard of these studies because of the impenetrable medical jargon used in these journals. Even college texts still treat the immune system as separate from the brain and hormones.

We know through recent scientific research that the nervous, endocrine and immune systems do communicate. Doctors of Chiropractic have always been taught and have treated patients from this perspective.

Many research papers have shown that mental stress can trigger physical sickness.

A primary cause of a decline in cognitive abilities is long term stress.

Chronic stress causes the over-production of stress hormones, which creates the “fight or flight” syndrome, and another hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone release by your adrenal glands and is highly catabolic, which means it destroys tissue. Cortisol chews up muscle and brain tissue rapidly.

Dr. Hans Seyle wrote about it decades ago.

A Stanford neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky PhD, recently discovered that stress has a profoundly negative effect on the brain. (One can watch his Stanford lectures on the net)

3 min youtube: Robert Sapolsky: The Psychology of Stress

Stress contributes to death of brain cells, interferes with neurotransmitters, and starves the brain of its only fuel, glucose.

Over a decade of studies have shown that an excess of cortisol– triggered by negative mental states– can damage the hippocampus. (the part of the brain most responsible for memory)

A study published in the journal of Biological Psychiatry found that the extent of hippocampus damage in a group of former soldiers was directly proportional to the severity of their combat exposure in war.

Stress-related cortisol overproduction is not the only cause of brain cell death.

Other factors are inadequate nutrition, environmental toxins, drug and alcohol use, impaired circulation to the brain, and lack of mental exercise.

If the brain is not regularly engaged in mental exercise, it begins to atrophy physically, just like a muscle.

The hippocampus can shrink up to 25% without regular use. If you don’t use it… you lose it!

Exercise and the brain: something to chew on-Henriette van Praag -Trends in Neurosciences Vol.32 No.5-Neuroplasticity and Behavior Unit, Laboratory of Neurosciences, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.  Link: Exercise and the brain: something to chew on

So how do we decrease our cortisol production?

Relaxation techniques, prayer, meditation, and a lot more laughter!

Laughter is helpful in reducing stress and is hearty medicine that boosts the immune system and triggers a flood of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain.

Pioneering studies from Dr. Lee Berk and Dr.Stanley Tan have shown that some of the benefits of laughter are lowered blood pressure, increased muscle flexion, and increased beta endorphins.

It also helps stimulate the nervous system, regulate the endocrine system, and provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones.

Loma Linda University researchers said, “Humor has health enhancing properties, some of which have yet to be explored.”

Dr. Berk, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine said “If we took what we know about laughing and bottled it, we would need FDA approval.”

Laughter’s most profound effects are on the immune system!

Natural killer cells that destroy viruses and tumors increase with a good belly laugh. Studies show that immunogolbin-A (IGA), a key immune component, increases when a patient laughs.

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist, has developed a theory during his 30 years of research into the nature of success and happiness. He published his findings in The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

He doesn’t think rest and eliminating stress are the keys to happiness.

His research has shown passive leisure doesn’t create contentment nor does it build positive energy.

What he discovered is that people who have a clear goal, which gives an immediate feedback telling them what they are doing is positive and making a difference, are among the most successful and confident.

He also noted that people who love what they’re doing tend to lose themselves in the activity and become empowered in the job of the task itself. Now that’s true health!

Link to some humorGeorge Carlin’s Views on Aging