Yesterday, in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, I listened to a video between Lloyd Sederer, M.D., the chief medical officer at New York State Office of Mental Health and Jeff Borenstein, M.D. the president and CEO of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. They discussed Stress Reduction.
We all live with stress at times, but chronic stress causes inflammation in our body, which in turn weakens our immune system. So, how can we reduce our stress for a healthier lifestyle and better mental health? These doctors hit these five points.
A. Our diet – we are what we eat. Dr. Sederer recommends we reduce our intake of sugar and processed food. According to him, our bodies love vegetables and fish.
B. Exercise – Dr. Sederer suggested 10,000 steps per day. The benefits include
1. increased strength
2. quiets our inflammatory responses of overactive minds and high heart rates.
3. releases endorphin, a natural “feel good” hormone
C. Sleep – our body rejuvenates and repairs itself as we sleep
D. Relationships – Find others who experience similar things so you don’t feel alone. Support can help reduce stress
E. Mind and body interaction – actions such as yoga, meditation, slow-breathing can help reduce stress.
Reduction of stress is one of my goals to a healthy and long life. Here’s what I plan to do:
A. I have already reduced sugar and processed food. Yes, it takes more time to cook, but I feel well most of the time. Plus, I love my veggies and fish.
B. I can’t get 10,000 steps a day right now, but I set a goal to increase each week until I can. I expect it to take a month or more to reach this level each day.
C. I try to maintain a regular bedtime and morning routine. My morning begins with coffee and morning devotions.
D. I have an intimate circle of friends/family I can call on when I need to chat/vent. I surround myself with positive people if I can. Sometimes, I can’t and this is when I talk with one of my trusted people.
E. I need to incorporate this more. I hope to do more deep breathing during my devotion and prayer time each morning.
Think about what works for you to manage your stress. Your body will thank you for it.