If we practice gratitude and keep a thankful heart, we’ll automatically extend inspiration wherever we go.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What I'm doing to combat stress

The economy is still in the dumps, the real estate market isn't bouncing back any day/month/year soon and everywhere in the news you hear of more layoffs. Both my husband and I are currently unemployed and looking for creative ways to keep our home. The system is broken but I promise not to talk politics. Needless to say stress is inevitable but there are ways, healthy ways to combat it.

Nothing beats good old fashioned exercise as a stress-busting technique, not even chocolate or a good glass of wine.

If your day is high stress and sedentary, odds are good that your body and creative mind crave oxygen and motion. Life in general can leave you feeling lethargic, as stress sucks every ounce of sunshine out of you.

Stress uses a tremendous amount of your valuable energy. So instead of expending all of that energy in a non-productive way, like punching the couch or yelling at the driver next to you, try channeling it into proper exercise, be it a brisk walk, a run, a P90X workout, a bike ride or something as simple as opting to take the stairs.

Experts recommend that we exercise at a moderate intensity for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5-6 days of a week. Exercise not only improves health and reduces stress, it also relaxes tense muscles by getting your blood pumping to all the tight areas of your body. Exercise is also the best sleep aid off the shelf. Exertion causes the release of chemicals called endorphins into your bloodstream, making you feel relaxed and happy. As such, it can be a helpful tool in warding off and fighting depression and anxiety, as well as keeping you fit, reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke, managing high blood pressure, diabetes and back pain. Ladies, sex is also considered exercise, at least in my house it is!! All in all, people who exercise regularly are better able to handle the long-term effects of stress without suffering ill health.

If the word exercise scares you right out of your gym shoes and onto the couch, relax. Exercise should be fun! It’s always difficult to keep up with a regimented program that you don’t enjoy. Here are a few ways to keep your gym shoes on and your waistline trim

• Take the dog for a walk
• Turn up the music and dance in your kitchen
• Go fly a kite
• Put on some snow shoes and go shoeing
• Take a hike
• Go for a swim
• Try roller skating
• Weed your garden

Personally, my husband and I have started Beachbody and P90X workout. It's a fantastic workout routine but I can tell you it's not for the faint of heart. There are days when we finish and I want to cry like a baby, just kidding. The best thing about these workouts are they're on dvd. As Tony Horton says "Do your best and forget the rest." Which makes us feel so much better as we're hitting the pause button gasping for breath every few minutes.

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