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Stress:the Known Silent Killer

While it is close to impossible to find an universal definition of stress it is safe to say that most of us clearly understand the concept. Especially,in our often hectic lives stress seems to have become a normal part of it all.

To be fair, stress is a normal bodily response when it comes to ensuring survival. Stress is actually a natural response that saves our lives when we need to run from a predator or become the predator ourselves.

However, while stress is certainly common it is often referred to as the silent killer and for several reasons. Stress can manifest in a person's body in a multitude of ways. Headaches, gastric problems, aches and pains, mood swings and irregular heart rate are all examples of typical ways that stress impacts our bodies. Additionally, over time long periods of stress are directly linked to massive health issues such as coronary heart diseases, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and skin problems. Long-term stress has also dramatic effects on brain health.

We have a tendency to go through life without noticing the effects of stress on our bodies and simply ignoring the signs altogether due to the 10 other things on our to-do list that need to be completed once we leave work.

Every time we go to the doctor complaining about migraines, acid re-flux, insomnia, depression and/or anxiety we get slapped with yet another medication that only serves as a band-aid covering up the real issues. This is where holistic methods come into play. The band-aids will end up leading to side-effects and eventually bigger health issues. This is why it is important to seek out natural approaches to problems that we create due to our lifestyles.

How can YOU deal with stress the HOLISTIC way?

* Massage Therapy - Find a good massage therapist in your area and allow yourself to de-stress with a gentle massage at least once a month. The benefits of massage therapy are many; relax and unwind sore muscles, lower stress levels, increase blood circulation, boost immune function and elevate moods.

* Aromatherapy - Essential oils are one of nature's greatest gifts with a number of amazing health benefits. When it comes to choosing an essential oil that has a calming effect Lavender is the most popular go-to. Oils can be diffused, ingested, added to bath water or even directly onto the skin.

At the end of every session I do a brief guided meditation accompanied by essential oils depending on the needs of my client that day. My favorite ones are lemongrass due to its properties when it comes to muscle health and soreness and of course lavender for its calming effect.

I encourage all readers and potential clients to see what doTerra has to offer via my link.

* Meditation & Breathing Techniques - If you are just starting on your meditation journey I recommend YouTube. You will find a multitude of amazing short and efficient guided meditations that will teach how to properly breathe and what to do with the thoughts that continue to arise. I remind all of my clients that meditation is really an art - it is not something you master overnight and it requires a lot of discipline. Look for Michael Sealey and John Kabat-Zinn for guided meditations on YouTube.

* Exercise - Join a gym, hire a personal trainer, jog in the park, get BeachBody on demand, follow virtual trainers, get an app .... I do not care the key here is to EXERCISE at least 30 minutes per day. When you exercise a number of hormones are activated and increased in your brain naturally. Of course, the main one we speak of is Serotonin - your happy hormone. Yoga is offered at most studios and gyms something you need to take advantage of as well. Cardio & weightlifting is great but Yoga is different because it adds the deep breathing techniques, the introspection and the calming aura that you need to effectively recover from your daily stress.

* Herbal Supplements - There are a number of herbal supplements on the market that have a calming effect on the body. DoTerra for example has a blend called Serenity that I swear by. Yogi sells a great Honey Lavender stress relief tea that can be found in most grocery stores. Generally anything that contains Lavender, Chamomile or St. John's Wort will be geared towards stress relief and calm. HOWEVER - just because a supplement is herbal does not mean it is safe for you to take. Always, consult a professional especially if you have certain health conditions, read reviews and do your research. All products are not safe, healthy or effective.

* Spending time outdoors - Soaking up that Vitamin D by spending time outdoors everyday makes a world of a difference. Sometimes a simple walk around the building on your lunch break or a walk with the dogs after work can be that time you get to check in with yourself and be in harmony with the environment. Nature in itself has a calming effect. Think about sitting on a bench in the park and watching the squirrels hop from one branch to another. Think about the sound of the waves when you are sitting on or close to the beach. Just imagining these should have a calming effect on your body, mind and soul.

This is not a blame game - it is just a reality check. Take time out of your day to check-in with yourself. Take a step back before rushing from one activity or obligation to the next. This is the only way that one can become aware of what the body is signaling to us.

I hope that this little bit of knowledge will make a big impact on your body, mind and soul from here on out.

Love, Light & Peace to you all!

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