Ten Ways to a Healthier, Happier Life

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You think the ‘silent killer’ you have to watch out for is high blood pressure? Guess again. It’s stress. That’s right, stress. In fact, stress is the silent killer behind the silent killer. It’s one of the primary causes of high blood pressure. In today’s article I’m going to give you 10 tips to lower your stress levels, feel better, and be healthier.

Stress is the ‘Silent Assassin’

Is it just high blood pressure you have to worry about with stress? Nope. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stress. It also wreaks havoc on your immune system, blood sugar levels, endocrine system, cholesterol levels, and brain chemistry. And that’s just for starters.

Stress can literally break your heart, causing depression, cardiovascular disease, and heart attacks. How about cancer? Turns out stress has been linked to cancer as well. It’s shown to cause cancerous mutations and drug resistance, allowing treatment-resistant tumors to grow.

Stress is the ‘silent assassin’ behind a lot of big, headline-making health issues.

I promised this article would be about a healthier life, but so far it’s been anything but. So, read on and I’ll show you some ways to get healthy while putting stress in its place.

Here Are Ten Ways to Put Stress Out of Business

You don’t need to make stress reduction your life’s work to get some relief. There are loads of things you can do without much effort that will begin to lower your stress levels.

1.Crank Up Your Playtime

Engaging in fun activities that you enjoy gives you important time to play and enjoy yourself. A hobby is a great way to take your mind off any issues that might be weighing on you.

Having fun is one of the best stress relievers there is. It doesn’t matter what your hobby or playtime activity happens to be. From stamp collecting to square dancing, if it’s making you smile, it’s fighting stress.

2.Enjoy Nature

Getting outdoors in the sunshine is a natural stress reliever. Research has shown cortisol, a stress hormone, is lower among people who live closer to nature. The same people report lower levels of stress in general. Spending just ten minutes outdoors in nature each day can lower stress levels and make you feel happier.

Forest Bathing: Walking in the woods is considered especially good at reducing stress. In Japan the practice of walking in the woods is called “Forest Bathing”. In that country it has become a popular stress management tool and relaxation activity. And recent Japanese studies have shown it increases a cancer-fighting component of the immune system.

3.Exercise

There’s no substitute for the powerful effects exercise has on stress reduction. Studies show that stressed-out people who don’t exercise are nearly 40% more likely to develop health issues. Here are a few fun ways to get some daily stress-reducing exercise. And notice that none of them are overly-strenuous, since too much of strenuous exercise just causes more harm.

  • Go for a walk
  • Do some light yard work
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go out dancing
  • Go bowling
  • Do some canoeing, kayaking, or other boat rowing

I’m sure you can think of more fun activities that would fit your lifestyle.

4.Get Enough Sleep

Turns out that sleep is the most powerful stress reliever of them all. Not enough and we’re cranky, on edge, and irritable. Try to find a balance that lets you feel rested and ready to take on the day.

You can help yourself to a better night’s sleep by setting up bedtime rituals. These will signal your brain that it’s time to sleep. And be sure to avoid all but the lightest exercise for at least three hours before bedtime.

5.Eat Good Food

It’s been shown that junk food will make you depressed, right along with making you fat. Eat healthy whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and natural (and preferably free-range) dairy, eggs, and meat.

These foods provide healthy nutrition and a sense of wellbeing. Eating good food will make you feel more relaxed and less stressed.

6.Think Positive

This is often something that must be learned, but you should make the effort. Why? Positive thinking will lead to a happier life and better health. People who are optimistic find it easier to deal with stress. They also tend to be more open to new and positive experiences.

To help yourself become more positive, try looking back on your life and think of all the things for which you are grateful. For example, maybe you’re thankful that something bad didn’t happen when it might have.

Make a commitment to yourself to stop any negative internal dialog, then follow through. You’ll find yourself feeling better about yourself and life in general. This will lead to a less stressed outlook on life.

This might all sound a bit “woo”, but science is confirming that people with positive outlooks are healthier and live longer. That doesn’t mean that you should try to suppress negative thinking. It just means that you don’t need to ruminate on it. Let it go and focus on what you are grateful for. It’s good for your health.

7.Make Connections With Others

Studies have shown that lonely people tend to be far more stressed than people who have lots of interpersonal relationships. Make it a point to connect with others in your life. Or, reconnect. Get back in touch with old friends or family members.

You could also try volunteering. This will connect you to others and make you feel better about yourself at the same time. Consider taking a class as a way to meet others. Making the effort to connect leads to a feeling of centeredness and wellbeing.

8.Try Meditating

You don’t have to get into all the Eastern mumbo-jumbo to meditate. Simply commit to taking ten or fifteen minutes each day to quieting your mind. Shutting out life’s chaos, even for a few minutes, will make you feel more relaxed and less stressed.

9.Get a Massage

This one is a no-brainer. If you’ve ever had a professional massage you know how relaxing it feels. Anybody anywhere can get a massage, so there’s no excuse for not taking advantage. They are a great way to quickly de-stress.

10.Get Yourself Organized

Organizing your life generates peace of mind and an end to feeling overwhelmed. Start by organizing your desk or workspace. You’ll be amazed how free you will feel when you divest yourself of unneeded clutter.

Stress is a killer. Literally. It is a leading cause of serious illness and death. You can go a long way to extending your lifespan by doing things that reduce stress in your life. Think of stress-avoidance as being proactive about your health. Finding ways to reduce stress, like those I’ve outlined above, will lead to a much healthier, happier life.

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