by Daniel Lucas

It’s no mystery that stress can be a health killer. It can manifest instantly, but it can also grind you down over time. The Mayo Clinic describes the human stress response like this: “Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. This system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including Adrenaline and Cortisol.”

The effects of stress on your body are powerful. The adrenaline release raises your heart rate and your blood pressure. The cortisol pushes sugars (glucose) into the bloodstream. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential in a fight-or-flight situation: immune system function and digestion go down, and reproductive function and growth processes grind to a halt. (Mayo Clinic).

94c5e9c9-1a99-442c-9baa-fff91dee3757The fight-or-flight response is strong. All that cortisol and adrenaline can wreak havoc on your system if it’s not balanced with some down time. If you’re on stress overload, it’s like pushing on the gas and the break at the same time in a car. There’s no way your body can function at its best if your immune system, digestive system and reproductive systems are all suppressed!

So let’s cut to the chase–if something is stressing you out, you have to be able deal with it! As scary as the thought can be, sometimes you have to face the fire, recognize what is stressing you, and take focused action to release, relax and rebuild your energy. You have to do it now! There is NOTHING more important to your health and longevity than getting rid of stress. How do you release stress? Really, I’m asking how you de-stress. Do you have a strategy for it? Making the time to do the things that help you feel great has to be a priority as important as your work.

Here is my personal de-stress cheat sheet:

  • Diaphragmatic and 3-dimensional breathing techniques

  • Meditation

  • Get quality sleep so make sure your bedroom is nice and dark

  • Limiting stimulants—alcohol, caffeine, etc.

  • Eat nutritious whole foods and no skipping meals

  • Share love or forgive someone today

  • Be honest and in alignment with friends and family

  • Sit, walk or simply be quiet

  • Turn off the TV and light some candles

  • Take a nap – take a vacation – take a walk

  • Get a massage, acupuncture or any other healing treatment

  • Do something, anything that you find relaxing