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Stress Less

Having a balanced lifestyle doesn’t only mean eating right, exercising, and having a good devotional time. Those all help in a wonderful way but staying balanced also means taking care of our health in other ways too. One of those ways is learning to have less stress in your life because we all deal with stress on a regular basis in some form or another. Today I am going to share with you some ways to help eliminate some of the stresses you may be facing or how to help when you start becoming stressed.

Listen to Music: If you're feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

Call a Friend: When you’re feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and they’re especially important when you're under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.

Laugh it Off: Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy.

Exercise (even for a minute): Exercise doesn't necessarily mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation.

Sleep better: Everyone knows stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time. Make sure to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep.

Breathe Easy: The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. For an easy three-to five-minute exercise, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.

Eat right: Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we’re overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead.

And don’t forget to use your 5 senses too…

Touch: Hugging, holding hands with, or just caressing someone you love can help protect against the negative effects of emotional stress–and it boosts your loved one's mood, too.

Sight: Gazing at photos of Mother Nature soothes the nervous system into relaxation mode. Viewing awe-inspiring outdoor scenes is a mood lifter. It seems that a brief glance at nature from the window can have these so-called 'restorative' effects on us. Other photos to keep on hand: ones of your pet or any animal you like.

Hearing: If you're feeling stressed, you're going to want to call on the people you love–literally. Girls recovered faster from a stressful situation when they heard their mother's voice soon after. Sounds of nature have also been shown to boost stress recovery.

Taste: You might be thrilled to know that cocoa could be your new go-to stress buster. Sip a cup of hot chocolate made with real cocoa or eat a few squares of dark chocolate before you dig into a project you've been dreading.

Smell: When elementary school teachers were exposed to 15 minutes of aromatherapy with bergamot oil, their nervous systems shifted to parasympathetic (a.k.a. "rest-and-digest") mode. Also breathing in a lemon scent lowered blood pressure, heart rate, mood, and tension.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 16.33

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