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Stress Less

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Our bodies were equipped with a beautiful system to help us handle acute stress: the flight or flight response. In the event of danger, we’re wired to either stand our ground or hightail it out of there. Fight or flight was meant for emergencies — not everyday living. Unfortunately, the modern high-stress lifestyle means many of us are living in emergency mode — and that ends up damaging our bodies.

You probably know ongoing stress is bad for you, but do you know exactly how bad?

Chronic stress can:

  • Impair your memory and concentration
  • Suppress your thyroid
  • Destabilize your blood sugar
  • Lower your bone density
  • Decrease your muscle tissue
  • Raise your blood pressure
  • Reduce your immunity
  • Decrease your ability to heal
  • Increase fat deposits around your belly
  • Cause insomnia
  • Give you headaches
  • Disrupt your digestion
  • Make you feel depressed and anxious

“So how do I get rid of stress?” you’re probably wondering. Here’s the good news. You don’t have to. (Phew!) Life is always going to be throwing stressors your way. The trick is to build your resilience to stress.

3 ways to build stress resilience

Take 15

Your mind is a powerful tool for creating the reality you want, so use it! Upon waking, take 15
minutes to visualize your perfect health picture: What does being in perfect health look like for
you? Are you rosy-cheeked? 20 pounds lighter? Filled with energy? Paint the picture in your
mind’s eye as clear and crisp as it can possibly be. Visualizing your perfect health picture every morning sets the tone for all of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy to come together to deliver exactly what you want.

Nurture your social network

Friends aren’t a luxury; they’re a necessity for your health and well-being. Believe it or not,
Research from Brigham Young University reveals that being socially isolated is as dangerous for
your health as being an alcoholic. It’s also as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes every day (3/4
of a pack) and more dangerous than being obese. Make time for that coffee date or night on
the town — your life depends on it!

Remember to breathe

Taking deep breaths throughout the day is one of the best ways to destress. Why? It has to do
with your nervous systems. Yep, you’ve got two: your sympathetic nervous system, responsible
for your body’s “fight or flight” response, and your parasympathetic nervous system,
responsible for your body’s “rest and digest” mode. Deep breathing shifts control from your
sympathetic to your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your nerves a chance to relax.
Set a timer to go off every hour and take several deep breaths while you repeat the word
“calm” silently to yourself.