Meet Anson Paul, a fitness and wellness coach, in Maryland, who has highlighted 5 important tips to help us Live 4 Today! These tips are fundamentals to being the best version of you, yet are we really mindful to putting them into practice? Read, practice and share Anson’s first 5 tips and more to follow in future posts.
With the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it is very easy for us to feel overwhelmed, stressed out or anxious. Here are some basic tips to help lower stress and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Tip #1 Get Plenty of Sleep
Don’t stay up late finishing projects or those episodes of Breaking Bad too often. Sleep deprivation results in high blood pressure and can reduce blood circulation to the brain. Poor blood circulation leads to lack of memory, headaches and dizziness. These factors can increase the amount of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone in the human body that depresses your mood and causes an overall increase in stress. Sleep loss also results in a slower metabolism and a debilitated immune system. Adults should get a recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This amount of sleep will help suppress cortisol levels.
Tip #2 Proper Breathing
When the body is under stress it’s breathing pattern changes. Typically, an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using their shoulders rather than their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. This style of breathing disrupts the balance of gases in the body. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure will result from this, thus triggering the body's stress hormones. When an individual is relaxed, their breathing is gentle and under control. It’s best to breathe, long, slow and even breaths through the nose. This relaxed breathing pattern will calm the nervous system that controls the body’s response to stress.
Shallow over-breathing, or holding ones breath, can prolong feelings of anxiety by making the physical symptoms of stress worse. When a person is anxious or overwhelmed, they should breathe deeply through their nose, and slowly out their mouths. The inhale should last roughly two seconds and the exhale should last roughly 3 seconds. Controlling your breathing can help to improve some of these symptoms including, headaches, faintness, constant fatigue and insomnia. Controlled breathing can also cause physiological changes that include; Lowered blood pressure, reduced stress hormones in the blood and less Lactic acid in muscle tissue.
Tip #3 Drink More Water
A great way to relax the body and calm the mind is to have a glass of water. Sound easy enough? That's because it is that simple. The link between water and stress reduction is well documented. Most of the human body is water, including the brain and other vital organs. Your body needs an adequate amount of water to run properly. If you’re dehydrated, your body isn’t running well and that can lead to stress. On average a non -active person needs 64 Oz’s of water per day assure proper hydration. Studies have shown that being just 15 0z’s of water short can increase the body’s cortisol levels, according to Amanda Carlson, RD, director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance and trainer of world-class athletes.
Tip #4 Proper Posture
Your mother was correct when she told you not to slouch, or to sit up straight.
You may be pondering the link between posture and stress. Well, it turns out that good posture has more to do with stress relief than you may think. When an individual is stressed out or anxious, they will often slump forward, this position is considered poor posture. Poor posture restricts proper breathing, it also disrupts blood and oxygen flow to the brain. With less oxygen flowing to the brain, it becomes increasingly difficult to think clearly. This makes it easier for us to panic or feel overwhelmed. Strengthening the spinal and core muscles through exercise helps you maintain good posture. This allows the body to relax by increasing blood oxygen flow to the brain and soothes muscle tension.
Tip #5 Exercise
Exercise can work quickly to relieve a depressed mood in many people. Serotonin is a hormone that contributes to our feelings of well-being. Just 10-15 minutes of physical exertion will release serotonin to the brain, which will help relieve stress. Activities as simple as a brisk walk or push-ups can help. Studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness, concentration, and at enhancing brainpower. Activities as simple as a brisk walk or push-ups can be especially helpful when stressed, and can even make you feel energized!
Live to Act on these 5 healthy tips and make them part of your daily routine to become the best version of you. Thank you Anson!
Live 4 Today!