When Oprah interviewed supermodels who’d just turned fifty, Cheryl Tiegs was very clear about why she still looks and feels so young. She said that she never worries. She also said that everything always works out anyway, so why worry?
Stress and worry literally create not only poor health, but wrinkles as well. According to the AMA (American Medical Association), stress is responsible for 89-85% of all human illness! But there’s more, it can also wreak havoc on our outward appearance.
Think about it for just a moment. If stress affects the health of the body, and the skin is the largest organ in the body, doesn’t it stand to reason that our skin may be affected the most?
Here’s what Dr. Dale Healy of Northwestern Health Sciences University has to say about the body and stress; “When you allow stress to affect your life, you are allowing it to influence every organ and every cell in your body.”
And Now, For the Good News
You can lead a full and active life; a busy and even high-pressure life at times; still have problems; and believe it or not, still find ways to sail through it all with a strong, yet calm nervous system. There are ways to cope with the challenges that threaten your youthful appearance and energy.
I’ve listed ten tips below from which to choose in order to help you de-stress. Please keep in mind that everyone’s body is different, so what you need to feel less stressed will be different than what your best friend needs, or even what your sister needs. However, a few key techniques and tools seem to be universal.
Try just one of these a week, you don’t want to get stressed about de-stressing!
The Top Ten Tips to Take You Back in Time
1. Mark your calendar for one day a week to rest, relax, recuperate and play!
It’s actually been proven in scientific studies that people who take a “Sabbath day” or recuperative rest day are actually healthier, happier and more efficient. They get more done because they have more energy.
Do you find yourself dragging yourself through your work-day or week?
The reason may be partly that your subconscious knows you are never going to get a rest or reward, so it will fight you for it.
Choose one day and mark your day planner for that day off. Put a big X on the page, or simply write R& R in big letters to fill the entire page. I take Sunday, myself, plus Saturday afternoon all the way through Sunday night.
Figure out what works best for you to have twenty-four hours completely un-interrupted rest. Some Sundays I am busy with church (just once a month) or other volunteer work, but that’s just part of the day and it feels like playing to me, because I enjoy it so much.
2. See a chiropractor regularly to keep your spine, and thus your nervous system, aligned as perfectly as possible. You’ll be amazed at how not just backaches, but headaches and even heartaches are improved because you are more calm, relaxed and comfortable in your body.
With an aligned spine, you are more easily able to flow with the bombardments of the day. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to change and support your body’s ability to flow with the stress. Your body will thank you a million times over, and long-standing health issues (that age you, by the way) may disappear.
In choosing a chiropractor, make sure he or she is dedicated to long-term care and believes the principle that they simply remove the obstructions in your spine so that the power that made the body can heal it.
When they ask you if you want immediate relief or long-term health, go for the long-term health every time. And don’t expect overnight results without some minor pain, as the muscles which have been pulled out of place are now going back to unfamiliar territory. Go to your local health food store for natural pain relief, like Arnica gel, to help your through the few weeks of that.
3. Choose an hour every day to de-stress with exercise. Mark your day-planner and don’t let anything get in the way. This is one of the very best ways to stay young. The older we get, the MORE exercise we need. If the wonderful benefits of exercise could be bottled, it would sell in the billions.
Occasionally, you may want to substitute a spa treatment or hair appointment. This is time for you to unwind, whatever it is, but be sure you take at least four days a week for exercise, alternating days and types of exercise.
Walking is one of the very best exercises we can do. Humans were made to walk. It’s weight-bearing and you can certainly swing your arms and even hold weights or put on wrist weights when you walk. I choose to live in areas where I can walk right out my door and hike uphill somewhere. That is the best exercise for me.
Every morning or evening, even for a little while, or after your exercise, be sure to get in some good stretching. Yoga is wonderful for that. If you are a member of a gym, you have so many options. Choose something you love.
4. Try to get outside in the fresh air every single day, no matter how bad the weather. Breathing fresh air and letting the sun hit your skin even briefly helps your whole body feel better.
Having a stressful day at work? Make sure you take a small break, even if you think you don’t have time (pretend this is an urgent phone call, you would always have time for that) and walk around the block or the building, breathing deeply and taking in the surroundings, whatever they may be.
You’ll find upon your return that your energy has shot up by about 100% or more!
5. As Cheryl Tiegs does, stop worrying.
How? You can’t talk logic to the emotions, so get above them. Let go and let God! Do you pray or meditate? If not, start immediately, if you want your stress-level to drop dramatically.
It’s actually been proven in scientific studies with plants and green mold that prayer worked to grow them faster, but the fastest-growing plants were blessed with the prayer, “Thy will be done.” It’s the most powerful prayer. The following is another way to say, “Thy will be done.”
Try singing this ancient name for God, HU. It’s from many different religions and cultures. Even hallelujah comes from the sound of HU. Look at the words human, humor, humility and hue. HU sounds like the word hue, and is sung in a long, drawn-out breath, like this: HUuuuuuuu.
You’ll find that it relaxes you, brings inner peace and healing and can open your heart to God’s love.
6. Nutrition is vital for your body to be able to handle higher levels of stress, which seem to be a regular part of life these days, even in small towns, I’ve noticed.
What helps? Try eating more natural oils and fats. That means uncooked, unheated, cold-pressed oils. If you cook with oil, the best are grapeseed or clarified butter. You may be surprised at how much oil your body actually needs. We’re all different, but your nervous system requires a certain amount to function properly. Why do you think comfort foods are high fat? When we feel most stressed, whether emotionally or physically, we want to help our nervous systems handle it (great excuse, huh?)!
Don’t worry about gaining weight IF you are eating natural oils and fats, even real whipped cream. Your body will simply use what it needs and send the rest right out!
7. Take a REAL lunch break. Go outside or at least to the break room. Eating at your desk will not only stress you more because of digestion issues, it will keep you from really focusing on your work. Once again, like the Sabbath day, you’ll be more efficient.
I work at home, so I’ve had to make myself take one-half hour or one hour to eat and rest. I enjoy reading, so I do some light reading at lunch, usually escape reading.
If you can’t find the time, or any possible way to carve out a lunch break, you may need to find a career consultant to find a new job!
During the work day build the habit of taking deep breaths. When I am concentrating on something, I tend to stop breathing, or at least it seems like I’m holding my breath. This is a tough one for me too, so I have to constantly remind myself to breath. If I’m writing, like this article, it’s even worse. I run upstairs to the kitchen, from my office and find I feel faint, so I open the door and take several deep breaths of fresh air. It really helps!
Find something to laugh about, read something funny every day. Laughter actually clears the carbon dioxide out of the lowest levels of your lungs. Nothing else does this quite so effectively.
8. Beauty Sleep is essential. Raquel Welch, in her advanced age (I believe she’s in her seventies) still looks fabulous. A few years ago, even the young actors at the academy awards were saying how attractive she was. Her biggest secret? Beauty sleep!
She sleeps an average of twelve hours a night! She says she doesn’t party, goes to bet at 6pm and gets up at 6pm.
Now I know you’re probably saying, “Yeah, if I had her money I could, too!”
Of course you have a life. But think about what you usually do in the late evening. Do you watch television? Read? Party? How much of that can you cut down in order to get more sleep, a very much needed part of your health as well. People who don’t get enough sleep look so much older so much faster.
If your problem is insomnia, and your doctor hasn’t been able to resolve it for you, try some natural remedies found at your local health food store, or find an alternative health practitioner who understands neurochemistry and neurtransmitters (Google it for your area, but some of these doctors work by phone).
If you wake up with hot flashes, again, see your doctor or local health food store for some natural remedies. I’ve had to try quite a few until I found out that just eating freshly ground flaxseed (mixed with yogurt or something for a snack – ground it in a dedicated coffee grinder) worked better than all the other expensive things I tried!
9. Create something to look forward to each week that you absolutely love; for me, it’s ballroom dancing. This will give you a mental vacation every time you think about it. Your serotonin levels will boost, as you walk around with a smile on your face and a lighter heart.
Put your attention on this treat whenever something difficult is thrown your way, then you’ll be able to step into the fray with a stronger heart and mind, knowing there will be an end to it, a time of joy and exuberance coming soon.
10. Check with your doctor and your local health food store for natural remedies for any stress you still feel after doing all of the above. Are you getting enough sleep? Try some natural supplements like Valerian extract or Melatonin. These are inexpensive, natural and safe means, used properly, for rest and sleep.
Chamomile tea does wonders for helping me relax.
Remember that a more relaxed person is a less wrinkled person!
Enjoy life, take it in stride and keep your sense of humor.