Relax. You’ll live longer.

by | Jun 21, 2010 | Emotional wellbeing, Stress and Fatigue | 1 comment

Let’s face it: we are stressed.

Maybe a little bit, or maybe a lot – but we citizens of this modern age are always on the run and always on alert. That’s stressful!

It never fails to amaze me how easily stress creeps into our lives.  Anything from worrying about family matters, financial pressures, waiting too long in traffic or poor sleep can place stress on our bodies – and we’re often too busy to notice.

Research tells us that prolonged stress plays a major role in illness. Lowered immunity, colds and flus, poor memory, disturbed sleep, headaches, muscle pain, digestive disorders and high blood pressure are just some of the signs associated with chronic stress. It is also a common component of depression and anxiety – each perpetuating the other. Ouch.

Ultimately, we can’t escape our lives (I have tried… it doesn’t work). So, we have to learn to manage the stresses and stimulus we regularly face. But how?

What can you do about it? Well, plenty. To start you on the right track, here are a few simple suggestions:

Diet – Stress actually makes us crave junk food. However, by eating a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits, with good quality proteins and fats, you will be in a much better position to manage stress.

Magnesium – This mineral is deficient in most people’s diets. Magnesium relaxes tight muscles; calms nerve function; harmonises mental and emotional imbalances such as irritability and depression; supports digestive elimination … and a lot more. Food sources of magnesium include whole grains, vegetable greens, legumes and sea vegetables.

Exercise – A short walk at lunchtime, riding home from work, or a yoga class might be just what you need to get your body moving. This improves circulation and will also help to shift tension accumulated in your body.

Time off – This is a challenge for most people, but persevere. Make a regular time for something you find relaxing and enjoyable – be it reading, napping, having a long bath, or going bushwalking. If it’s hard to make the time for yourself, then book in a weekly treatment or class to help you unwind – such as massage, acupuncture, yoga or tai chi… as long as it’s something you enjoy.