Ah yes, stress. That great mountain so many of us have to climb. However, when I take a step back and observe, I realize something: we are making a mountain out of a molehill. Everyone scurries here and there, works their tails off, eats bad, drinks worse, make bad choices and wonder what went wrong. Wowzers. Alright, my beloved reader, calm down. Fine, everything will be.

A while ago, I realized I was at a stopping point for losing weight. I lost a bunch, but couldn’t lose anymore (aiming for the sixpack, almost got it). Aside from my semi-narcissistic goal, I was worrying about WHY I COULDN’T LOSE WEIGHT. It just wasn’t happening for me. But, I took a step back, observed my life, and realized the following:

#1 – I work a high-intensity job where I don’t take time to relax or recuperate

#2 – Family situation is out of whack, and a great source of stress

#3 – My nutrition was great for weight loss, but not neccesarily for overall health (ouch)

#4 – I worked full-time, then crammed my weekend full of social business (girlfriend, partying, extra work)

#5 – I didn’t take time to RELAX. ENJOY LIFE. And boy, I paid a price. My hormone levels were… bad.

But the good news, my intrepid reader, is that I’m going to share with you my tactics for reducing stress and increasing positivity.

Tactic 1) Yoga: I do yoga 3-4 times per week, and as a whole, its relaxing. Going through a series of poses slowly, listening to gentle music (or calming sounds like waves), and mmmmm, feel that calm energy flow. Best part? Time Economical (note the capital E). It only takes about 15-20min for my schedule. So I get great ROM improvements plus the stress reduction.

Tactic 2) Diet: Eating a diet that delivers all the necessary nutrients is essential. I eat high fat, low carb, med protein, and supplement well. I’m working on growing my own veggies (I live in the country and we have… unwelcome visitors). Before, I didn’t supplement, and ignored the usefulness of certain supplements/food strategies for improving calm. Magnesium is awesome before bed, and I love drinking tea (shout-out to chamomile decaffeinated).

Tactic 3) Work: This may be a controversial area, so bear with me. I do several things at work. I take short breaks (this breaks up monotony, and since I stare at a book or computer all day its necessary for eye health); I always have something to drink (vitamin C water, water, tea with butter; this helps to keep my hydrated, focused, and not be worried about running to grab a drink in the middle of the work day); I have a standing desk (this allows me to break up monotony of sitting and move around freely as I have a large desk); I talk with coworkers (our environment is fairly laid-back, and I love the people I work with).

Tactic 4) Activity: 3-5 times a week I either take a walk in our woods, do Insanity (a very fun DVD exercise program), walk the countryside, just get out and get physical. This helps in two ways. One it provides a counterbalance to my sedentary indoor working lifestyle. Two getting outside and getting some realness really helps keep me centered.

Tactic 5) Relaxation techniques: Some people do breathing exercises, yoga, etc. I love hot baths. Just sitting there, cool (mentally), calm, collected, listening to Beethoven’s 5th. Mmmmm. I love using my acupuncture mat for releasing endorphins/enkephalins, natural relaxers in the body. Experiment in this area, let me know whatcha come up with 🙂

Tactic 6) Religion: For me, my faith is important, and being able to give everything that happens to God is such a relief. Matthew 6:34 says,”Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Some of you may not be religious, but its something of great and precious value to me, and I’d encourage some exploration if you think it will help.

Overall, life is better now. I’ve begun to lose weight, and my situations are much less stressful. Taking time out of your life to purposefully combat stress could perhaps be the key to unlocking a whole new you 🙂

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