A guide to de-stressing

Stress is at the root of 80 percent of all complaints heard in doctors’ offices, not to mention the complaints you continually hear from friends and co-workers.

by Melissa Jones — 

Stress is at the root of 80 percent of all complaints heard in doctors’ offices, not to mention the complaints you continually hear from friends and co-workers. Having a stressed-out, unhappy and pitiful mindset can become a bad habit and an all too familiar way of being.

Stress not only causes mental issues such as insomnia, depression and general weariness, but it also can take its toll on the physical body with elevated blood pressure, a tendency to carry excess weight, muscle tension, headaches and feelings of malaise. There is a plan for de-stressing that is so simple anyone can follow it. Share it with your friends and family. The hardest part is letting go of old behaviors; the easiest part is feeling fantastic every day for the rest of your life.

  1. Stop complaining. This is a habit, and a bad one — worse than cigarettes or alcohol — because it feeds on itself. Start a gratitude journal. It will keep you focused on the people, places and things in your life that are amazing.
  2. Laugh every day, even at yourself. The body does not know the difference between laughter from pure joy or any other kind of laughter. It resets your internal thermostat, brings your blood pressure back to normal and acts like a giant sigh in your body. Laugh for at least 30 seconds every single day.
  3. Get out there and do something that makes your heart happy. Get a massage, take a class, paint, scrapbook, garden, take a walk, hike or jog, people-watch at the mall, visit a museum — get up and get out. Save one day a week, a morning or an afternoon, as your time to go find something beautiful or interesting to marvel at.
  4. Perform acts of service. It is really hard to feel sorry for ourselves when we are helping others. Performing these kind acts can bring about the release of endorphins, which is a natural kind of high. Who could not use that?
  5. Limit your use of alcohol, recreational drugs or other chemicals. These may help you cope, but only in the short run. Eat a more plant-based diet and reduce the amount of processed foods you put into your body.
  6. On those bad days (and we all have them), let it go. Take a bath, sing in the shower or even call a friend to vent for no more than five minutes, and then move on. Your mid-section and your heart will thank you.
  7. Celebrate the fact that you are alive. Do yoga, get a massage or do some form of exercise every day, meditate and breathe intentionally, focusing on the breath.
  8. Do it now. If not now, when? When the kids are grown? When the grandkids come to visit? When the bathroom is clean enough? Now is the time. Go do it.
  9.  Invite your friends and family on your new path to wellness. Help them get on the same path. How fantastic would life be if we spent our time counting blessings instead of complaining about the person who cut us off on the freeway or the fact that our boss is a jerk? 10. Find joy every single day. This makes life worth living; otherwise, what is the point? I choose joy and so can you.

Melissa Jones is a certified herbalist at the Center for True Harmony Wellness and Medicine in Mesa, Ariz. She sees clients for a variety of health concerns and custom-blends medicinal teas and medical liquid herbal extracts. 480-539-6646 or www.trueharmonywellness.com.


Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 6, Dec/Jan 2012.

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