Is it possible to live a healthy low-stress lifestyle in today's grind? While there is no simple remedy for dealing with the stresses of daily life whether they be children's soccer games, a high-powered business meeting, or a final exam- there are solutions to this inevitable and compromising monster of a roadblock we often encounter in our everyday hustle.
Stress is a near-paralyzing agent within homes, workplaces, and relationships, it has been scientifically linked to the release of cortisol which aids in the building of fat around the abdomen, lower cognitive response, and increased blood pressure. On the surface stress may result in restless sleeping patterns, decline in diet and physical functions, and depression, while interfering with our ability to handle simple tasks. No one wants to be slowed down by stress and it seems that the only sincere way to combat these possible symptoms is a balancing act of several different factors.
Number one: EXCERCISE! Excercise cannot be "stressed" enough in the daily routine. While simple cardio is the average recommended workout there are many ways in which one may excercise the body to accomodate age, time, ability, or health problems. Recently biking has become a phenomenon across America, while running often sounds dreadful in the face of shin splints, sore joints, and hydration-biking offers a means of a healthy cardio workout without the possible damage to joints later on. Many people have found biking to even be helpful in their daily commute or a simple pleasure activity to be shared with a community! Where cardio ends, stretching begins, it is always necessary to find a good stretch before and after any physical activity, it loosens, decreases pain, and gives an ample "cool-down" period for your body to find it's natural state again.
While yoga has often brought to mind images of eastern men inert in tangled positions that seem endlessly terrifying there are many different levels and forms available within or outside of the home to practice in a group or alone. Yoga and it's cousin pilates can form a well structured workout in under an hour for the working individual who is lax on time and energy, when these are done in the morning they actually lead to increased productivity, awareness, and comfort! But even a simple hands over the knees stretch will do some work on that worn-out waist.
Number two: DIET! We are not talking about skipping any amount of viable nutrition to scrounge for the bottom-of-the-barrel-handful-of-alfalfa-sprouts-for-lunch diet plan, there are thousands upon thousands of available diets in a myriad of shapes and sizes for your shape and size. Find the amount of food you actually require, don't stuff yourself and keep it simple- you can find some of the best amounts of nutrition from the simplest forms of food, (raw fruits and vegetables and rice and beans to name a few). It is simply a matter of asking yourself "what am I eating? And why am I eating it?".
Number three: RELAX! Some of the greatest minds of our time found answers to their most intense specultions by walking away for a cup a tea or a few minutes of rest, allow yourself the time to de-stress and indulge your environment. Even if for only a few minutes at a time take a look around, absorb your atmosphere, find something to enjoy, to laugh at , pay attention to your breathing and think about that warm couch or melody enchanted amphitheatre waiting for you after work, letting the mind wander in times of stress is natural, and recent studies show that the mind wanders of it's own accord so there is no use in fighting it, it is only through a small amount of down-time that we may achieve our full potential. So SLOW DOWN, honking the horn is not going to teach the driver in front of you road etiquette and screaming at the barista isn't going to satisfy your need for a good r.e.m. cycle sleep.
So take the time to remember that our minds and bodies (no matter the shape or size) are complex machines with endless potential and deserve to be respected thusly, don't beat yourself up over ethics if you need five minutes to watch a cloud or two, just slow down, stay focused, and practice discerning your aim and true potential. And don't be afraid to laugh if you slip on a banana peel from time to time.