Stress – it’s everywhere – in much of what we do, see, hear, and read. Most of us think of stress as an external circumstance that affects us in a detrimental manner. But we can have a lot of self-inflicted stress, as well, that can be just as harmful.
In a past post (Nature Interrupted), I addressed the idea of stressors that we don’t normally consider. These include matters that deprive our body’s cells of what they need for normal functioning: inactivity, too little time in Nature, being a night owl, poor eating habits, dehydration, and time in unsuitable environments, whether at work or home. And stress within a biological system, although it may go unrecognized, affects the entire human organism.
To reduce the stress you might be placing on your body, I’d like to offer a few suggestions. I realize making change is not easy, so I’d recommend trying one of these once or twice a week. In the words of the 70’s musician Robert Parker, A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.😊
- Take yourself on an active Nature date. Research parks, trails, Nature preserves, and the like in your area and visit one to walk, run, cycle, do yoga, or practice Tai Chi. This idea is borrowed from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, in which she proposes Artists Dates for sparking imagination and playfulness. When deciding where to go, Cameron writes, ask yourself ‘what sounds fun?’ You already know how much better you feel when you exercise; it makes your cells happy. And an article in Science Daily explains that even 5 minutes of outdoor exercise boosts mental health.
- Go to bed earlier. Our biorhythms have been tied to earth cycles since humans first appeared on the planet. Burning the midnight oil is a modern expression often used as praise for one who works late into the night in the name of achievement. But getting your sleep and wake cycles more closely aligned with the movement of the sun can help you achieve cellular rejuvenation, preventing premature aging, disease, and early death. I’d say that’s more important, wouldn’t you? (For more on this idea, check out this post.)
- Cook or make a healthy smoothie. On a regular basis, refrain from restaurants & processed foods to try a new, healthy, easy-to-prepare recipe. This not only loads your cells with nutrients & helps diversify your gut’s microbes, it also ensures your creations are infused with love. I have read that food preparation can be a spiritual practice, and your love & attention instills home preparations with benefits for the eater’s body, mind, & spirit. This is probably not the case at your local restaurant, and certainly not with food manufacturers.
- Drink fruity water while soaking in a tub with Epsom salt. Slice up a lemon or lime and drop into a big glass of water for sipping as you soak your feet – or your entire body – in a bath with this magnesium compound. The citrus minerals and the magnesium in the bath contribute to deeply hydrating your cells. And since water is needed for each one of the billions of chemical reactions occurring in your body each second, this is an act of profound self-generosity.
- Visualize a more positive life. If you’re not loving your job, home, the state of your health, or your relationship, take some time to visualize in great detail a better situation. An article in Psychology Today refers to visualization as a mental rehearsal used by such sports greats as Jack Nicklaus, Muhammad Ali, and Tiger Woods. Over the years, I’ve read about “miraculous” physical healings occurring using this method, as well. Seeing, even in our mind’s eye, is believing, and our biology responds accordingly.
Unlike much of the stress in our external world, we can control many of our internal biological stressors. Becoming mindful of the ways in which we can avoid inflicting harm on our personal organism can help our cells, and therefore our bodies, reach a higher level of being.
Blessings for Less Stress,
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.