The reason why stress is connected with poor health and life-threatening conditions like cancer is because it suppresses immunity. Unmanaged stress also leads to further unhealthy behavior like excess eating, too much alcohol drinking, and poor sleep – all of which lead to disease.
Almost every patient I’ve ever met with prostate cancer connects their disease to some stressor sometime before their diagnosis.
If stress is so harmful, what can we do about it? How can we physically minimize the detrimental stress chemicals produced in our bodies?
Through the XY Wellness program, each element of sleep, exercise, clean eating, and nutraceuticals positively affects the other.
There are hundreds of tips and meditation exercises to manage stress online. I think most information out there is either overwhelmingly difficult to do, i.e., a 10-day silent retreat, or simply not practical.
Let’s keep it holistic, but realistic.
In this blog post, David and I share realistic tips to manage stress better.
My practical stress management tips.
Write down your thoughts, concerns, or to-do list on paper. Take two minutes to journal a day. This practice helps dump your brain on paper and improve the ability of problem solving. The practice of writing daily (for only two minutes) helps remember important events you don’t want to forget. The brain is made to think, not to remember.
Take 10 minutes a day for vigorous physical movement. Just 10 minutes helps with mental health, but more may be needed for physical benefit. The movements can be a quick run, jog, skip rope, jumping jacks, or hitting a punching bag. In Chinese medicine, physical activity helps with stress by moving the qi – the life energy.
Abstain from catastrophizing. Things are sometimes tough enough, don’t make it worse than what it is. When the going gets tough, calmly focus on solutions. If it is beyond your control, shift your focus to the next most important thing on your list. And do vigorous physical exercise for 10 minutes.
Here are David’s practical tips for managing stress from a previous blog.
Give up all hope for a better past. Regrets and grudges are a waste of your here and now. As is worrying about an uncertain future. It is how you take advantage of and use your here and now that will determine your future. Act accordingly.
Apparently not everyone is in your hurry. Yes, I’m talking to you. Traffic is traffic, and it is not our job to teach the world how to drive. And that is just one example. The more we react to things that we cannot affect, the more stress we needlessly inject into our daily life.
Avoid the absurd and unnecessary. Arguing over politics has as much chance of leading to a change in either party’s perspective as arguing over religious beliefs. So what’s the point? There is far too much self-induced and misdirected anger in America today. You have better things to do. Start by turning off cable news.
Meditate, don’t medicate. If the term “meditation” seems too New Age to you despite it being an ancient practice, then let’s simply refer to it as gathering your thoughts. A few moments each day unplugged and off the grid will not only lower your stress level but will boost your available energy level.
But definitely naturally medicate. Tap into the powerful benefits of exercise, and enjoy life riding a wave of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and adrenaline: all so good that it is hard to believe they are both free and legal. The fitter you get, the less you will crave other stimulants that actually further stress your body and increase your stress levels.
Focus on your priorities. Understand what truly matters to you, and make certain that you are investing your time and energy accordingly. Recognize the difference between being busy and being successful. Set and act upon priorities that make sense for you. Otherwise, others will set your priorities for you. Are you using your time and energy to pursue what you value most? If the first thing you do upon arriving at work is to check and clear your e-mail inbox, what does that suggest?
Life is far simpler than we allow it to be. “No drama” is my mantra in life and at work, but don’t get me wrong: I am a work in progress, and that’s on a good day. That aside, before you get upset about something, ask yourself if you will even remember the issue in two weeks. If not, just let it go. In general, lighten up, focus on the here and now, pursue what matters most to you, and don’t forget to have a great time along the way.
See how many of our stress management suggestions apply to you and get to work. We have one life. Lets not squander it by living in frantic mode or with unnecessary stress.
Eat well, exercise, and get good sleep – the compounding effect of all also helps to de-stress.
Yours in Good Health,
Dr. Geo, Co-founder & Medical Director