Healthy Living by Jacqueline Banks – Keep stress down

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Stress seems to be even more common nowadays with economy and according to Reuters women are bearing the brunt of the stress. Or are men just hiding their stress better than women? That would be my guess. Not only does stress affect the mind and emotional health, but it also takes a toll on the body and can cause sickness and disease by lowering the immune system. So take a look at what’s been going on in your life recently, what weighs on your mind on a daily basis and whether or not you have a good outlet to help yourself feel better.

Stress affects the mind and body in a variety of ways, here are some of the most common warning signs: memory problems, constant worrying, moodiness, feeling constantly on edge, sense of loneliness or isolation, headaches or backaches, insomnia, sleeping too much or too little and picking fights with others. Undoubtedly we’ve all faced a few of these problems but if now you’re looking identifying with more than just one or two of them, chances are your putting your body through stress, probably without even realizing it.

Take preventative measures to prevent stress if you only have 1 or two symptoms, if you have more you might want to take it up a notch and try out a few suggestions. Try getting regular massages, walking meditation on the labyrinth at the Cygalle Healing Spa, yoga, playing sports such as tennis, taking a day to relax on the beach, or something as simple as playing with a puppy can help reduce both stress and blood pressure. 

Besides Bikram Yoga when it’s available, deep breathing is one of my favorite stress reducing techniques, it can be done anywhere, sitting straight or lying down. The key is to breathe from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs. Next time you feel stressed try this:

Sit comfortably with your back straight, or lie flat on the ground. Put one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. As you breathe in through your nose the hand on your stomach (not your chest) should rise. The hand on your chest should hardly move. Exhale through your mouth, push out as much air as you can and contract your abs. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale and again the hand on your chest should move very little. Continue this breathing for a minute or two and gradually build yourself up. Eventually you’ll stop feeling restless while you do this and your mind and body will relax. 

Try to look on the bright side of thing, and try a simple daily  affirmation:

“I embrace stressful circumstances as challenges. I can overcome this obstacle. Through stress I grow. Tension is leaving my body. My mind is at peace. I have done all I can. I can let go. I am worthy”.
This article was contributed
by Jacqueline M. Banks.

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