Implement Stress Reducing Tools > Improve Your Mood > Boost Immunity

By Lisa Shanken | Healthy Living

Between the pandemic, a highly polarized political environment and upcoming election, historic fire and hurricane seasons, remote learning, and winter just around corner, many people are feeling intense stress, anxiety and depression right now. Individually we can each do our part to take care of our planet, vote, and follow Covid-19 protocols, but there is still a lot out of our control. Feeling out of control can lead to anxiety, depression, and/or unhealthy behavior, so let’s learn what we can do to cope with these emotions.

Listen to this stat - according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, adults ages 18-25 years old have been more likely to report having depression in the past year than any other age group, yet the least likely age group to receive treatment.

Another survey by the CDC in June 2020 found that 41% of adults surveyed were anxious and/or depressed, a considerably higher percentage than a 2019 survey. Psychiatrists are referring to this year as a “mental health pandemic.”

Stress can manifest in many different ways, but one thing is clear - it can absolutely impact a person’s gut health. Dr. Mercola does an excellent job of explaining the science behind why our bodies start to produce more of the hormone, Cortisol, when we are under stress. Stress can make you unmotivated and isolated, eat out of emotion, and impact your sleep, which can all make your more susceptible to illness.

Therefore, it's essential to your overall health to reduce stress, which you can do using the following tools:

  1. Meditation – Whether it’s Jon Kabat Zinn’s MBSR (The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program is a Buddhist-based approach to meditation. It has been well studied and proven to help decrease stress.), Transcendental Meditation (Founded by Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi, TM is well studied and found to bring inner peace and wellness to people that practice it.), or any other type of meditation practice, meditation is an incredibly powerful way to reduce stress.
  2. Exercise – According to the American Psychological Association, exercise can help reduce stress. Moving and exerting your body, as you know, produces endorphins, which can make you feel happier and more relaxed, therefore reducing stress. It’s like meditation in motion!
  3. Deep Breathing – Learning to breathe deeply can help slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and lower cortisol levels, so it’s a great stress-reducer that can be used anytime, anywhere.

These stress-reducing techniques are probably all things that you are already aware of, but it's the implementation and consistency that make them effective. Consider using these strategies to be consistent with these practices:

  1. Have an accountability partner do these things with you and rely on each other to follow through
  2. Hire an Executive Functioning Coach to help you organize your schedule to work these stress-reducing tools into your routine and hold you accountable
  3. Connect an anchor activity to remind you to do these activities. Here are some examples:

    a. Your anchor for daily meditation can be to first brush your teeth each morning>meditate.

    b. Your anchor to exercise daily can be to call/text your coach or accountability partner to tell them your exercise plan for the day>start your exercise routine.

Reducing stress will give you more energy, make your healthier both physically and mentally, and make your feel happier. Please feel free to reach out if I can assist you with reducing stress or anything else to make you feel better and more organized.

Have a happy, healthy day!

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