Stress can be one of the leading indicators of health.  You can eat well and exercise all the time, but if you’re a mess emotionally, it can take a toll on your well-being, and ultimately, age you faster.   High stress levels can hurt your stomach and digestive system, blood pressure, and overall thinking process.  Your skin will wrinkle faster, and your hair will turn gray sooner.


Your mindset and daily habits have a lot to do with your stress level.  Are you a naturally happy person or pessimistic?  Do you think the best of other people?  Do simple little occurrences annoy you?  Do you make a big deal out of simple problems?  There are ways to make all of these problems less stressful and not affect your health.


Breathing Exercises

As I mentioned before in one of my previous posts, breathing exercises are a great way to reboot the body and soul.  Each day, before I get out of bed in the morning and before I go to sleep, I relax my body by taking deep breaths and holding it for ten seconds.  I do this until I feel naturally less anxious and any stress has left my body  It makes for a more relaxing day, along with a more peaceful sleep at night.  If you don’t believe me, some form of relaxation or meditation is also mentioned in the Blue Zone.  They’ve shown that people who live the longest tend to include some kind of prayer or relaxation ritual in their day.


Exercise Your Stress Away

I know many solutions start with exercise, but you would be surprised how working out can help you both physically and mentally.  Remember, exercising can mean heading to the gym, but it can also be as simple as taking a walk around the house, doing some yardwork or taking a stroll at the mall—anything to improve circulation  It will get new blood to your head and  increase oxygen to the lungs.  As I mentioned above, exercising will naturally cause you to breath deeper, which ultimately relaxes you more even when you don’t notice it.  Reports have also shown that walking improves stress.



Change Your Environment

Not only will exercise provide circulation to your body, it’s also a way to get out of the house (or work) and provide a new atmosphere.  Getting your mind off of what is bothering you is half the problem.  Get up from your desk and take a quick walk around.  Soon those big problems turn into small ones.  With a new perspective, you can come back and tackle issues that before seemed daunting. 


Changing your environment will also change your physical surrounding.  So Instead of thinking about the same problems, you’ll see what’s in your yard or what items are at the mall.  Without even thinking about it, you’ll start to take your mind off what’s bothering you.  


Take A Mini Vacation

When my kids act up, I’m amazed at how much better I feel if I’m away for a little bit.  Even if it’s just doing a quick errand or being away for one night on a work trip, I’ll come back home and all of those little problems that bothered me before don’t seem so big.  I’m happier, my kids are more cheerful because they haven’t seen me in a while, and they’ll notice that I’m much enjoyable to be around.


Find A Hobby

There’s a reason why people take up hobbies—they fill up all of those times when there’s nothing to do except thinking about the same old problems.  Picking up a hobby can be as simple as taking an art class, learning a new language, or joining an intermural league.  It will give you something to look forward to, along with providing a distraction to what’s bothering you.  Along with relaxing, you’ll learn something new or develop another skill.


These are some suggestions on how you can avoid stress using physical activity.  On my next post, I’ll provide suggestions on how to avoid stress by simply changing your mindset.  These will not be clichés or what you’ve heard before—they will be simple solutions that I learned in life and help me solve life’s challenges.