Tiptastic Tuesday: Dealing With Stress

AARP recently posted five easy strategies for de-stressing.  For tips on how to dial down your stress, read below!

1.  Get to know your stress response 

Before you can tame tension, you need to understand what triggers it.

Tip: Do a personal body scan. Try to hone in on what might be triggering it

2.  Start Exercising 

Exercise short-circuits the stress response by triggering the release of BDNF (brain-derived neuropathic factor), which nourishes cell growth, as well as endorphins (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine), brain chemicals that boost feelings of well-being, ease muscle tension and improve sleep.

Tip: Carve out 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise.

3.  Good Nights Sleep 

“When you sleep poorly, your mood, memory, creativity and problem-solving capabilities [all] suffer,” says John Medina, director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning at Seattle Pacific University.

Tip: National Sleep Foundation suggests adults aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

4.  Try Meditation 

Compared to a control group, meditators showed an increase in gray matter in the hippocampus (devoted to learning, memory and attention) and a decrease in gray matter in the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with emotions, anxiety and stress).

Tip: Try different types until you find one that works for you.  Ideally, set aside at least 15 to 20 minutes twice a day to meditate. But even a five-minute break to sit quietly, feel planted on the floor, breathing slowly and deeply from your abdomen, can break the gridlock of stress.

5.  Don’t fret 

The worst stress is triggered by situations that leave you feeling powerless, whether it’s a demanding job with lots of responsibility but few rewards, a tanking economy that takes a big chunk of your retirement savings, or caring for an ill spouse. But just fretting itself can decrease physical and psychological well-being.

Tip: schedule a worry break: Set aside 15 minutes a day to actively dwell on problems and concerns. When that time is up, though, tell yourself to STOP (or picture a large red stop sign).  Finally, instead of allowing your to-do list to take over your life, reconsider what’s on it and prioritize.

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