I just returned from a trip to Barcelona, Spain. In addition to the architectural and cultural beauty of the city and its citizens, and the huge variety of fresh and delicious seafood, one thing I observed that was common with the people of Barcelona was how happy and relaxed most people seemed to be. During weekdays, everything closes down between 2-5 pm for the siesta, which for tourists like my wife and I it was a bit inconvenient but for the people of Barcelona it is part of a lifestyle that is not hurried and infinitely more joyful. Stress has become a part of the fabric of our busy lives, but it wreaks havoc on our health and our lives. Read on to learn some measures that you can take to become stress-free.
The Impact of Stress. All that epinephrine or adrenaline is produced during the stressful bouts of fight-flight, survival mode that gets turned on all too often these days.
The adrenaline is released from the adrenal gland when you are under mental pressure, and it tells the body to convert stored sugar from the liver to glucose because the energy needs of the body will increase substantially during the supposed fight-or-run-for-your-life scenario. The bad news is that this scenario almost never plays out and the excess blood sugar that never got used up ends up being stored as fat.
One of two things can happen from a prolonged survival mode.
One: Your body will keep storing up excess sugar as fat and asking for more energy from more sugar. This equals weight gain (an unpleasant side-effect of stress).
Two: All of this stress and Herculean effort continually depletes your body of its energy resources until it inevitably crumples under the overload. This can either lead to adrenal exhaustion, nervous breakdown, or a broken down immune system, thereby exposing a person to disease. The vicious circle repeats itself over and over again and people never seem to be able to get out of the rat race.
Release Your Stress. Here are some healthy habits you can integrate into your daily grind to free yourself from stress forever.
1. Cut the Caffeine: Caffeine stimulates the adrenaline release. Give up the cup of coffee and opt for the therapeutic benefits of caffeine-free herbal teas. You can cut down on your caffeine intake by substituting green tea for coffee, which usually has 1/3 of the caffeine of a cup of coffee, but with the benefits of the antioxidant polyphenols.
2. Meditation: A daily meditation program is can be your number one method to decompress at the end of a busy day and release tension. Meditation doesn’t require you to sit on top of a mountain in a saffron robe. It can be done by anyone and anywhere within 10-15 minutes of simple practices. Try my guided Stress Release Meditation below. It is also available as a CD title.
With every exhalation, utter the word calm in your mind and breathe out the tension from a part of your body, starting from the top of your head and working your way down through each part of your body until you get to your feet. Release the remaining tension through your toes and the bottoms of your feet.
3. Cleanse the Clutter: Have you ever heard the saying that what you own soon owns you? Not only do these unnecessary items consume much of your energy for cleaning and maintenance, they also add to the clutter, making you disorganized and increasing your stress level. Cut back and let go. A good rule of thumb is that anything you haven’t used in six months can be given away to charity.
4. Reframe Your Perspective: As you move through your day, pay attention to what causes you feelings of stress. Our response has much to do with how it will affect us. By reframing our perspective on stressful situations, we can often see that the danger is largely an illusion and maintain a calm frame of mind.
5. Renew and Rejuvenate: Create time for renewing and rejuvenating your body and soul by cutting back on the commitments in your calendar of events. Exercise the power of the word “No”. By reducing your obligations and increase your personal time, you will start to feel more in control and less stressed.
To feel restored and relaxed, check out the Tao of Wellness’ Face and Body Rejuvenation Retreat in Santa Monica on the weekend of March 20, where you will experience facial and body massage, herbal mask, acupuncture, micro-current stimulation for wrinkles, far infrared sauna, deliciously nourishing organic cuisines, and much more. .
I hope you follow these healthy steps toward reducing daily stress. May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, also known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that he founded with his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni 25 years ago. He is also the cofounder and chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or email him at [email protected]