Body Sense

Winter 2011

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5 Ways to Beat By Helen Lee Seasonal Stress 2. BE GRATEFUL Remembering things to be grateful for throughout the day really does wonders for your personal state of mind and for the body. Positive thinking releases chemicals that help with digestion, euphoria, relaxation, and overall well-being. 'Tis the season for joy and craziness. Pausing a little each day and reconnecting with the inner self works wonders on the body, mind, and spirit. It's also an excellent way to ease stress. Following are five ways to stay calm and relaxed throughout even the busiest days. 1. BREATHE It is important to take deep abdominal breaths, which stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This optimizes digestion, relaxation, and detoxification, while keeping hormones balanced. Taking shallow chest breaths causes the body to operate in fight-or- flight mode, which is highly stressful. Shallow breathing means less oxygen goes to the brain and the body continues to operate on high alert. 3. LAUGH As the saying goes, "Laughter is the best medicine." Laughing for 10 minutes a day will do amazing things. It changes the physiology of the entire body—it increases circulation, releases different "happy" chemicals in the body, reduces stress, keeps everyone in a lighter frame of mind, helps the heart, and even burns calories. It's contagious, too! 4. SIT IN SILENCE Taking 10–30 minutes to quiet the mind and clear your thoughts can be very beneficial. Meditate or spend time visualizing goals for the day. This helps you focus on personal needs, which will be relaxing later when the day starts to get stressful. 5. TAKE A WALK OUTSIDE Fresh air and sunlight—even for just 15–20 minutes—can be clearing and calming. Step away from the computer, the phone, the office, etc., so that you can clear your thoughts. B S Helen Lee, DC, HHP, is a chiropractor and holistic health practitioner from Chicago Healers. This integrative health-care network features 200 practitioners and more than 300 treatment services. For more information, visit Body Sense 13

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