We've all heard stress is a killer! It wreaks havoc in all areas of our lives - from the physical to the emotional.
"With stress, the body is more prone to infection, inflammation, more rapid aging, and an impaired carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism," reveals New York City age-management specialist Dr. Florence Comite, who also adds, "High cortisol levels from stress, will lead to weight, and the face and eyes will also seem puffy as cortisol is a steroid."
Not to mention, stress decreases energy and actually de-motivates us to be accomplished. In other words, stress does not do a body good!
But, in this fast-paced world of juggling and non-ending stream of commitments, it's hard to avoid stress. But, can we learn to manage it better? As I write this article, I am wishing for a chill pill. My stress level is at its maximum between my work schedule, being a single mom and crazed with my daughter's teen activities, a financial crunch and major regrets over a recent breakup.
But, Dr. Comite advises there is no miracle pill! However, there are things we can all do to mellow out.
"Knowing your limits and respecting your time will go a long way in helping you avoid stress. Realize how you adapt to stress: for instance, if stress makes you high-strung and increases perspiration, heart rate, you may need a quiet release later in the day to bring down stress levels such as meditation, yoga or quiet stretching on your own. "
Plus, try and surround yourself with positive people who add value to your day.
Recently, Healthy Hollywood got invited to a dinner with Dr. Comite and Sarah McNamara, founder of Miracle Skin Transformer, and the night's topic was the art of erasing stress. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend the dinner, but I wanted to get tips from these two lifestyle experts.
Sarah, who created an anti-aging skincare line, said stress does a number on women's complexion. "For instance, when a person is stressed out, the levels of the body's stress hormone rises, which lead to oily skin, acne break outs, and overall irritated skin."
So, what are some basic stress-reducing tips everyone can do now? Dr. Comite offers five sensible ways to fight back feeling over-whelmed.
1. Identify stressors - like any other situation, raising awareness is a key first step
2. Avoid high negative stressors and focus on happiness - if you have negative people around you, try to distance yourself
3. Take some "me" time - Take up to 15 minutes 1-2 times daily for quiet time to collect your thoughts and clear your mind. Closing your eyes helps. Be sure to eat properly and stay hydrated. After all, if there is no healthy you to do your job, then you won't be at work anyway. Eating and taking care of yourself is not selfish, it's your right. Also, get away from your current routine on occasion by trying something new or going on a vacation. Even a low key weekend out of town can do wonders for your psyche.
4. Have a regular schedule, especially for going to bed and awakening - your circadian rhythm is a huge component regarding the underpinnings of stress as a result of your metabolic and hormonal balance.
5. Reward good behavior, not stress - have a delicious, not-so-good-for-you meal, a diet cola or an alcoholic beverage when you've had a good string of exercise and healthy eating, not when you're under increased pressure at work.
For tips on reducing stress, check out www.comitemd.com.
-- Terri MacLeod
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- Mental Health