It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. – Lou Holtz
Stress – we’ve all felt it. While the extrinsic effects of stress vary by the individual, stress impacts the body. Specifically, stress impacts how your body responds to the aging process. Stress ages the heart and can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. It also elevates your heart rate, which can wear the heart out over time.
Stress has also been shown to weaken the bones, make you sick and even make you fat! High levels of stress hormones, or cortisol, raise the body’s blood sugar, which can lead to insulin resistance, and also aggravate conditions like heartburn and inflammatory bowel problems.
The list of negative health impacts that stress has on the body goes on, but I’m sure you get the point. Let’s focus on what you can do to prevent suffering any of these stress-related issues!
Here are five ways you can mitigate the effects of stress:
Let it go. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it! Oftentimes our reactions to stressful situations causes more problems than the situation itself.
Shift your focus. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the solution. By doing this, you divert your energy away from the problem to how to fix it, which gives you more control over the situation.
Practice redirection. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to focus on the negatives of the situation. This doesn’t do you any good! When you find yourself in a stressful situation, pause, take a deep breath, and redirect your mind to focus on positive thoughts and images.
Breathe deeply. You can balance your hormones and increase oxygen, both of which help calm your body’s response to stressors. So take a deep, belly breath.
Get moving! Exercise is the best medicine for stress, without the mood-flattening side effects of prescription pills. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing that people who move more are bothered less by stress!
Five Kinds of Relaxation
Daily Meditation: Be mindful and be aware of your thoughts. Learn to become more sensitive to your internal workings by adapting a daily meditation practice.
Relaxation Exercises: Try yoga, meditation or even a walk around the neighborhood.
Imagery: Counteract external and internal stressors by filling your mind with positive thoughts and replays of pleasant scenes.
Music: Listen to whatever music relaxes your mind and body.
Healthy Chicken Nuggets
Makes: about 15 nuggets
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
1 pound organic, hormone-free, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole grain bread crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut the chicken breasts into roughly 2-inch x 2-inch cubes and place in a food processor. Add sea salt and pepper. Pulse all the ingredients until the mixture is of even consistency (it only takes a few seconds!).
3. Put the flour on a plate, beat the egg in a bowl and put the bread crumbs on a separate plate. Form the chicken mixture into 2-inch x 1-inch nugget size pieces.
4. Coat one nugget at a time lightly in flour, dip it into the egg, shake off the excess egg, and then roll it in bread crumbs. (Tip: Dip fingers into water in between nuggets to prevent fingers from sticking to the nuggets.)
5. Place the nuggets on a cookie sheet that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.
If you’re ready to decrease the effects of stress on your body, but need help getting started, contact me to schedule a consultation – the first step to a healthier you.