10 Ways to Dodge Stress

Do you ever step outside of yourself while you’re driving and think, “Man, I’m crazy — who am I yelling at?” How about at the end of the day when your kids are full of life, questions, and energy and you’re ready to SNAP at one more question or debate?

Forget fitting into a size 6 or your jeans from high school. Pursuing health and fitness (which also includes maintaining a healthy body weight) also helps you deal with the everyday stress that life throws at you. Exercise relieves stress and releases great-feeling hormones that enhance your mood. Eating nutritious food helps support your entire system, including your immune system, hormones, organ function — all of it.

How about a diet that doesn’t make you go up and down on that sugar and caffeine roller-coaster our culture lives on? No wonder we’re all glaring at each other on the freeway and in jammed supermarket lines. Most of us are living on the edge, being sedentary and filling our bodies full of chemicals, preservatives, sugar, caffeine, and loads of other crap that tastes fine but doesn’t serve our bodies in any way.

I love my family, and whenever I freak out over nothing, I just wish I weren’t wasting my energy on little stupid things that don’t matter in the end. Easy to say, hard to do. I keep asking myself, is this life and death? No? Then, how much do I want to react to this?

Now as you ladies especially know, we can be a little more “sensitive” at certain times of the month. I believe I’ve even experienced hormone-induced psychosis once or twice. I actually feel that eating badly and not exercising puts us in a similar state — where it’s all you can do not to get mad, emotional, depressed, or even ready to cry. So if those last 10, 20, or 100 pounds aren’t motivating you to make a lifestyle change, how about doing it just to feel good? Here are 10 ways to start:

1. Drink only water.

2. Limit the coffee to just in the A.M.
(Don’t be sipping java at 4 in the afternoon)

3. Exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week for 20 minutes.
Just get started.

4. Try to eat real food.
Nothing from a bag, freezer, microwave, or drive-through. Do the best you can.

5. Don’t use food to relieve stress.
Call a friend or go for a walk.

6. Limit the amount of time you sit in front of the idiot box (TV or computer).
All the bad news out there only makes us more bummed and sucks the energy out of us. Turn it off.

7. Get some sleep.
Talk about a life saver? Sleep.

8. Have some fun. Laugh with your friends and family every day.
The first time you see your kids in the morning, throw them a big fat smile. See what happens.

9. Take a deep breath.
When you’re just about to freak, take a deep gulp of air and on the exhale, ask yourself “Is it really worth it?”

10. Keep reminding yourself what’s positive in your life.
Listen, you hear it every day, and I’m going to say it again and again. Stress is the number-one bad boy. Do anything you can to keep it at bay. I’m trying to remind myself that life is short. How do you want to spend it?

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