We all feel stress... sometimes real and sometimes perceived. Either way stress takes a toll on our bodies and increases our risk for cardiovascular diseases and many cancers. Breathing can help change the increased cortisol levels which result from daily stress. Try these simple exercises to reduce stress in your life:
1. Take a deep breath! Try to sit for one minute and count the number of breaths you take. Breathing in and out counts as one breath. Strive to bring this number down to 8 or less.
2. Stop at the end of your day and pick at least three times during the day you felt happy. Replay these thoughts while taking a few deep, slow breaths. Fill in all the details of the moment and be grateful. Happiness is where we see it.
3. Sleep is important for weight loss, creative thinking and body repair. Opt for at least 6 hours of sleep and when you do not meet that minimum, cat naps of 10-20 minutes can help reset your body and optimize your health.
4.Nothing is more important than your health. It is important to feel your body and notice your heart-rate. Place your feet evenly on the floor and sit at the edge of your chair. Squeeze your shoulder blades on the inhale and relax our shoulders on the exhale. Try this for 10 deep breaths.
6. Some nights it might be hard to fall asleep. If this happens to you, try the following tips for better sleep: dim the lights, use your bed only for sleep, count backwards from 300 by 3’s and breathe deeply each numberplace a pillow under your knees.
7.Try this simple meditation to take yourself away from your day: Close your eyes. Picture the beach, sand, breeze, salt air, and warmth of the sun. Feel the heat on your face and take a deep breath. By imagining you are at your favorite beach, forest or vacation spot can relax your body and lower your stress level.
Remember to take the time to be grateful for your loved ones, accomplishments, and ability to change the things you can and accept the things you can’t. You are your best asset!
Andrea Metcalf is a healthy lifestyle spokesperson, author of Naked Fitness, and fitness expert for AnytimeFitness clubs.
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