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Copyright © 2013 Nutrifrontier Limited

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Published by Kevin Richardson

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Table of Contents

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 4
Understanding Stress and Uncovering its Causes ................................................................................. 6
The Symptoms and Effects of Stress ..................................................................................................... 10
How Stress-Free Living Slows Down the Aging Process ...................................................................... 12
The Basics of Beating Stress ................................................................................................................... 18
Nutritional Supplements for Stress Relief ............................................................................................ 30
The Best Natural Foods for Guarding Against and Relieving Stress .................................................... 32
Physical Stress Busters .......................................................................................................................... 39
Simple Ways to Minimize the Negative Effects of Stress .................................................................... 46
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................... 52


There's no doubt that stress is a serious health issue today. In fact, it may
be much more serious than most people realize. According to some
medical experts, stress is the number one threat to our collective health
in western society these days. It may be responsible in whole or in part
for eighty percent or more of all diseases – not just the degenerative
diseases that plague us as a modern society.

Stress is a sign of the times we live in. Everyone it seems is faced with unlimited choices,
opportunities and demands on our time. Yet there's only so much one individual can do or pay
attention to. Everything else is “noise” but it's nearly impossible to block out these distractions
and the added stress they tend to generate by default. Fighting off and relieving oneself of stress
becomes another task we all must engage in, not just as a means of getting more things done, but
as a means of our very survival.

The problem is rampant in that stress negatively affects almost everyone – at least to some
degree. Those who handle stress best, deflect much of its impact. But those people are in the
minority. Stress management wasn't something we were raised with and nobody learned it in
school. But after all those years of schooling, it's time to get out into the workforce and to use our
training to contribute and earn a living. But we're cast out into an environment that's often high-
pressure, hectic and chaotic and that's where the real stress begins to inflict its damage.

We tend to experience stress in more of life's situations. At times, this stress can feel intense while
at other times, we don't even notice it. But it's there for sure... and it weighs us down. Eventually
we become accomplished at acquiring stress and even getting stressed-out automatically on auto-
pilot as we react to the goings on in life.

But we don't have a clue as to how to deal with all that stress in a healthy way. We hear about the
dangers of stress from all directions – on television news programs, radio, magazines, newspapers
and in casual conversation. And the more we hear about it, the more we realize just how prevalent
stress is in society today, which only burdens us with more stress. It's a never-ending circle until as
individuals we take total responsible and positive action steps each and every day to minimize its
potentially devastating effects.

Understanding Stress and Uncovering its Causes

Stress is a reaction to something that is going in internally or externally. It is

something that the body recognizes as a signal and then responds to
automatically. Whenever you feel stressed by what you're thinking, feeling,
seeing, or experiencing, your body instantaneously reacts by releasing chemicals
into the bloodstream.

It's a natural response and it's a protective measure when it sharpens your senses and helps guard
you from the physical danger of an approaching wild animal looking for food, or a human enemy
intent on taking over your village. And this kind of stress response probably served our forefathers
quite well.

But today's stress is of a different variety. We seem to experience far more mental and emotional
stress than its physical counterpart. Yet the body instinctively responds in a physical way by
releasing adrenalin and cortisol into the circulatory system. But without the physical release of
running away or engaging in a battle with the enemy, there's no outlet for this infusion of
immediate, extra strength, alertness and energy. Therein lays a large part of the problem related
to stress.

We get all pumped-up ready to do battle. It's the body's natural “fight or flight” response that's
designed to save us in times of danger. It's instinctive and it prepares us for a physical battle – or a
hasty retreat. I prehistoric times, this instinct undoubtedly saved lives. But the problem today is
that we still get this surge of hormones coursing through the bloodstream – but a physical
response to the stress we're under these days is not only inappropriate – but harmful too.

The lion's share of today's stress comes from things like workplace hassles and disagreements,
family issues like relationship conflicts and troubled children, financial pressures in difficult
economic times, and everyday traffic jams going to and coming home from work. It's enough to
push anyone over the edge at any time. And that's exactly what is happening all too frequently.

Without the opportunity to release all this pent-up energy – we remain tense, on edge and
chemically out of balance and we pay a huge price for all this stress that builds. Those powerful
hormones remain, weakening the body's natural immune system and damaging one's overall
health substantially in the process. One issue gets stacked on top of the next until the tipping
point is reached and we blow a gasket and all hell breaks loose.

Stress sets off the alarm and the body responds by changing its structure and chemistry
immediately. In spontaneous fashion, the body readies itself for action and responds on an
instinctive level.

Let's say that someone was following your car a little too closely and they weren't able to stop in
time and slammed into the back of your car as a result. Instantly, the body detects danger and
releases adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream to prepare you to deal with this apparent
urgency. Immediately your muscles contract to provide you with better protection from bodily
injury. Your metabolism gets cranked up several notches to deliver an instant jolt of energy and
strength. Your heart beats faster and you begin breathing more rapidly to send more nutrient-rich
oxygen to the various parts of the body. Then your arteries constrict to prevent the loss of extra
blood, should you suffer cuts. The digestive system speeds up to give the muscles of the body
extra nutrients. Your hearing becomes more acute and your pupils become dilated – sharpening
your vision.

It's a whole combination of things nature provides in a seemingly helpful way to respond to what
it perceives is an emergency situation. The body responds in a similar way to chronic stress – a
long-term tension that emerges from todays fast pace and negative, out of control emotions –
that are often associated with this condition of unrelieved stress.

If you're chronically stressed or depressed, you're bloodstream is full of cortisol. This leaves you
susceptible to other serious health issues like osteoporosis.

When you worry about life, your kids, your aging parents, or about losing your job, you send the
wrong kind of signals to the brain which activates the stress response mechanism. What happens
is this negative emotional focus saps your strength and energy. It keeps you awake at night and

can lead to depression. Soon you are completely wiped out and dead-tired. Your immune system
gets depleted, leaving you wide open to and unprotected against a whole host of illness – from
the relatively minor like a cold or the flu, to a major, life-threatening affliction like heart disease or

Whenever you visit your doctor's office, look around at all the other people in the waiting room.
How many of them are suffering from stress-induced conditions? Chances are that two out of
every three people who visit a family doctor or general practitioner fall into this category. Stress
may not be identified as the culprit and most often is not. But you can bet that a weakened
immune system triggered at least in part by stress plays a role and perhaps a significant one. It's a
common pattern – a by-product of today's hurried, highly-competitive and multi-faceted world.
But in order to change this pattern yourself, you have to first become aware of its presence.

You need to gain perspective and pinpoint the actual cause of the stress you're feeling and look at
it from a more objective point of view. The idea here is to cut your stress down to a manageable
size and minimize the physical and mental damages it can cause. Here are some simple questions
to help you re-evaluate the pressure and tension you're feeling to weaken its grip on you.

1. What is the worst thing that could happen in this particular situation?
2. How likely is it that the worst possible outcome actually materializes?
3. Have I done all I can to prevent the worst from happening, or is there something else I can
do right now?
4. Will this situation change my life one way or another, or will I not even remember it a year
or two down the road?
5. If I was advising a close friend in the same situation, what would I suggest they do?

When you make a concerted effort to consider questions like these, it helps you gain a better
perspective on the whole thing. When you look at the bigger picture, this bird's eye view helps you
reframe the situation and typically, things aren't as bad as they seem. Taking a fresh new look
tends to lift some of the burden off your shoulders, easing the stress you feel.

Some Stress is Actually Good For You

It's fair to say that some stress is good because it gets us off the couch and into action. Just as
there are good fats and bad, there is also positive and negative stress. Almost everything you hear
about related to stress is referring to the negative kind as it clearly dominates in this day and age.

Positive stress propels accomplishment and all the advances that have benefitted society.
Whenever you're excited about a new project, joining in a celebration, starting a new position,
setting an inspiring goal, or simply seeing an old friend you haven’t seen in ages – it induces a level
of stress that motivates, enthuses and inspires you – and that's a good thing.

But the reality is that most of the stress in our lives does us far more harm than good.

The Symptoms and Effects of Stress

Stress can cause you to lash out verbally and angrily. It can trigger violent
responses and agitated behaviour, as evidenced by cases of “road rage”.
What happens is it builds (sometimes very quickly) and one responds instantly
to the stress without any analysis. The pressure builds and an emotional
explosion often results. A momentary reaction to stress can cause an
otherwise level-headed individual to act in what could only be describes as
“completely out of character” and do things they would never otherwise
consciously consider including committing a dastardly offense such as murder.

Stress can cause you to age faster a whole lot faster than normal or average. If you're routinely or
perpetually under stress, you're far more likely to have your hair thin, turn gray and fall out much
earlier. Wrinkled, pale skin, bags under the eyes, poor posture and a lack of vitality are some of the
telltale effects of someone under a lot of stress.

Multiple studies have conclusively demonstrated that prolonged exposure to stress does
significant harm to the body by inhibiting the immune system and therefore depleting the body's
best natural defence. Without a strong defence, you are essentially unarmed in a dangerous world
of innumerable illnesses of all types and degrees.

Left unchecked, stress can interfere with your ability to think clearly and effectively. It can also
cause significant memory loss. And frequent and unrelenting stress damages and even kills off
brain cells.

According to Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, author of the book, Brain Longevity, “Stress acts like
poison to the brain”. Sensing a stressful event, the body's natural response mechanism kicks in
and the adrenal glands begin to pump out cortisol and adrenaline – powerful hormones that help
you whether the storm of sudden emergencies.

But over the long term, this regular, unrelenting stress causes irreparable damages to the brain
and the high hormone levels remain in the bloodstream. It's at this time when the real and
significant damage of stress seems to flourish. This in turn weakens the immune system and
impairs its ability to defend the body against the onslaught of invaders.

Stress is also a major factor in heart disease which could manifest in numerous ways and directly
affect the heart muscle, arteries and veins. It taxes the heart muscle in constricts the veins and
blood vessels, limiting the circulation system in its task to distribute life-giving oxygen and other
vital nutrients to every organ and cell of the body.

Stress wears you out both mentally and physically, leaving you in a state of emotional disarray and
physical exhaustion. This makes you unable to do some things and far less effective in whatever
tasks you are able to perform. Panic attacks often occur as a result of the body's inability to
tolerate any significant physical, mental or emotional stress. When you're stressed out – you're
emotionally burned out. When that's the case, even a simple every day event can push you over
the edge.

Major contributing factors to stress include the lifestyle we lead, the foods we routinely consume,
the amount of regular exercise we get and our ability to manage stress, minimize its effect and
regain a sense of calm and balance in our lives.

How Stress-Free Living Slows Down the Aging Process

Life in general and all its specifics improve greatly when stress no longer
dominates your life. When you learn how to minimize its effects, or avoid
stress altogether, life is good. You avoid the tumultuous ups and downs and
stay balanced and centered. At this point, you are truly in control of your life
and therefore, far less susceptible to the typical stressors that can
completely derail other people.

If you want to extend your life and pack more joy and peace of mind into your everyday
experience you simply need to get a better handle on this thing called stress and free yourself
from its chains. Only then can you make significant improvements to your health and state of

Below are seven sound reasons to substantially reduce or eliminate entirely stress from your life.
Those benefits of a stress-free life include:

Without stress, your brain remains more youthful, flexible and functional. You think clearer and
are generally happier, more content and able to go with the flow of life. Whatever happens
happens and you readily adjust without letting stress hold on. Body chemicals released into the
bloodstream in times of stress are supposed to protect you.

But whenever the body isn't allowed to recover and return to a balanced level of internal
chemistry, that's where the most serious damages occur. This damage is even more pronounced in
older folks as they experience stress. In many cases, there are other health issues involved and
therefore, they don't have all available body defences ready and able to swing into action to
counter any stress with the minimum of damage.

Having a younger, fully-functional brain helps you think clearly, assess your options, communicate
with lucidity and take the kind of steps that help you maintain a state of optimal health.

Being stress-free boosts your immune system. Staying calm, cool and collected helps keep you
centered, healthy and strong. When you're not anxious, on edge or worried about something that
may or may not happen, you're immune system doesn't suffer the same depletion of resources as
it does when you're stressed out.

The more you remain in that peaceful and serene state of mind and body – the better it is for all
the systems of your body especially the immune system. Stress seems to impair normal function. It
slows the body’s natural production of bacteria and virus fighters. When you don't maintain the
optimum level of these fighters, it weakens your protection and leaves you susceptible to a whole
host of potential harm.

The fact remains that relaxed, more centered people and not just happier – but healthier too. This
probably isn't news to you, but it never hurts to be reminded of fundamental truths every now and
then – particularly when those truths can have a direct impact on your state of health and
wellness. Even the Ancient Greeks figured out that there was indeed a connection between stress
and sickness. It's too bad that we don't place more of an emphasis on living with less stress today.

Being stress free strengthens your bones as well. When you're feeling the heat of a stressful
situation, the body's natural mechanisms are activated. But exposure to the stress hormone,
cortisol causes more damage than you might think. Not only does it obstruct the regular
functioning of your natural immune system, cortisol also causes the bones to lose mass and
become more brittle. Anyone who gets stressed out a lot or feels depressed, likely has a
bloodstream that's loaded with cortisol. With weakened bones, you are far more likely to get

The reality is that cortisol is also a steroid drug that's manufactured in a laboratory. Its purpose is
to treat rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. But it's commonly known that long-term use of steroids
is something that should be avoided and one of the reasons is due to the steroid's damaging
effect in thinning and weakening the body's bones.

But this very condition can also occur without any assistance from an outside lab. Any human body
under stress for an extended period of time produces excessive cortisol as a programmed,
automatic response to the condition and a weakening of the bones. Yet another reason to try to
chill out more to significantly cut back on your stress level.

If you want a slimmer, trimmer waistline, it's a good idea to maintain an even keel without the
stress that remains a part of most people's lives. Perpetually stressed-out people will find it
impossible to lose belly fat, despite the fact that this in itself poses a health risk of sorts.

As cortical and adrenaline are produced in response to stress, one of things these chemicals do is
redistribute body fat by sending it to the belly area. Obviously diet and exercise are huge factors
too for anyone carrying too much weight on their frames. But at least when you live a stress-free
life, you don't have to worry about this redistribution of weight to the stomach area.

Being stress-free helps you to get by in virtually every area of your life. When you're not stressed-
out, wounds of all types tend to heal faster. Nature represents a directly opposite position to that
of stress. It's peaceful and serene and flows unencumbered by incident or condition. When these
natural qualities are allowed to exist within the body, that same kind of peaceful, easy healing
occurs. But once stress disrupts that inner peace and tranquility, the natural flow of healing energy
gets disrupted too.

One study involving older people with stubborn leg and feet ulcers revealed an interesting result.
Those who were taught and persistently applied relaxation techniques achieved ten times the
healing power of those in the study who did not use any kind of relaxation techniques. Another
study involved women who had similar wounds. Half of those in the study group were caring for a
relative suffering from Alzheimer's and were therefore likely experiencing much higher levels of
stress than the other half of the women in the study. Results clearly showed that the other group
– those with noticeably less stress in their lives had their wounds heal much more quickly. Was this
mere coincidence? I highly doubt it. Obviously, there's a strong connection between one's peace
of mind or stress level and the speed at which their natural healing occurred.

Less-stressed people have healthier hearts. When you're feeling burdened by
life's events, your higher stress level has a negative effect on the heart and its
functions, which in turn, affects all the cells and organs of the body. It's not
what happens, but how you take it. Stressful situations need not produce an
imminently negative result.

But since there are so many things that can be a breaking point, you've got to be prepared for the
worst and make the best out of it. You cannot afford to let a negative event or situation (like those
that occur at virtually every workplace) – or, environmental bad news, personal loss, anger or
anxiety trigger a heart attack or stroke. Strive to maintain a calm state of mind most of the time
and you will be better equipped whenever you're blindsided by seemingly negative information.

The workplace can be hazardous to your health and wellbeing. Working long hours in a high-
pressure job accelerates your heart rate and raises your blood pressure – creating a potentially
dangerous situation. If your job involves loads of responsibility, taking risks, the pressure of
deadlines, people who are at times difficult to work with, a rapid pace, or little social interaction
with others – it could only complicate matters.

What can happen is that people in these situations tend to drink more alcohol, smoke cigarettes
and eat larger volumes of nutrient-void junk food in order to temporarily escape from their terrible
working environments. If any of this sounds all too familiar to you – do not wait for a disaster to
strike because second chances are not always given. Do something constructive about it now.

Everybody feels that they need the money and therefore, their hands are tied. But the fact of the
matter is that irrespective of financial condition – you need good health more than anything else in
the world. Without a healthy mind and body, the other details of life don't seem to matter as
much. Take pre-emptive action now and start to significantly reduce your stress and better protect
your health.

In an ideal world, your work environment should allow you to flourish and to use your talents and
abilities to produce a satisfactory feeling of accomplishment and productivity. It's a cycle that
continues to feed off of itself. The more productive and fulfilled you feel on the job – the more
effective your performance levels.

Social support is also a key factor in a work setting. When you're given the opportunity to regularly
interact with others in a friendly and relaxed way, it actually helps to lower your stress level
instead of perpetuating the tension and stressing you out even further.

When you can gain the upper hand on stress you will tend to be happier and more optimistic about
life and your future. Stress in and of itself is harmful, but when stress is experienced with greater
frequency, it can spiral out of control and lead to depression – a place nobody wants to go.

Stress from your past can negatively impact your present moments, if you're not careful. It's best
to remain vigilant and let go of the past. Whether it was something that happened years ago or
yesterday is irrelevant. It's now history and can't be changed by anything now. Simply let it go and
enjoy the freedom of the moment. Make the most of today. When you can live day to day and
make each day a joyful one, stress won't bother you much – and that's the way it should be.

Remaining cool and calm and projecting a certain grace under pressure can also reduce the risk of
the development of various types of cancers – specifically breast, colon and rectal cancer. Get rid
of any raging emotions by venting privately or by taking several deep, calming breaths. Relax and
let it go. Free yourself from any stress or tension as soon as you feel it coming on and you help
protect yourself against the most feared of all degenerative diseases. Sometimes the most
damaging stress comes from situations like severe illness or a death in the family.

Unfortunately these situations are completely outside of anyone's control. It's a part of life that
however painful, we all must endure. The best approach is to try and find an inner peace during
these tumultuous times. Since stress weakens the immune system, you must do your part to
minimize the damage and to protect your body and your sanity too. Allow yourself to feel any
emotions that bubble up to the surface – that's part of the process. Just don't allow stress to gain
an upper hand.

Let's face it, day-to-day pressures and challenging situations are part of life for the majority of
people. So the more adept we become at nipping these pressures in the bud and reducing the
negative impact of stress – the better we feel. As a consequence of feeling better, we tend to
become more capable of pursuing our intentions, instead of getting derailed along the way.

The Basics of Beating Stress

It's virtually impossible to live a fully-functional life in today's world

and not feel stressed out at times. Stressful situations are a part of
life. But that doesn't mean allowing stress to dominate in any way,
shape, or form. We have to just figure out how to put stressful events
and circumstances into perspective to minimize its negative effects
and prevent stress from taking over your life.

One important fact to remember is that you are never alone. Learn to recognize the increasing
weight of stress in your life and get some help. At times stress can be overbearing and too much
to handle alone. If you're feeling the pressure of stress on a daily basis, or you notice yourself
coming down with colds or viral infections more frequently than normal – you probably need to
see a doctor and the sooner you do – the better.

Get checked out first and then consider getting outside help of some kind from the variety of
traditional and alternative options that are available today. The range of choices today is
exceptional and includes, doctors, nutritionists, herbalists, counsellors, relaxation specialists,
hypnosis and more.

Stress can be overwhelming – and it can take over your life. If it seems like you're drowning in an
endless sea of stress, it's difficult to figure out where to begin to reverse the effects and lift the
burden you so can get your life back. While it may be difficult to put your finger on a specific cause
– particularly when multiple issues are involved – it's important to examine the primary elements.

For example, do you feel a greater degree of stress on Sunday evenings or early Monday morning
as you prepare for another week on the job? If you notice more tension or anxiety, that's a clue
that at least one of your sources of stress comes from your job or occupation. It could be your
workplace in general, the endless and increasing demands of the job, the attitude of your co-
workers, the incompetence of your support staff, a nasty, overly-demanding boss, long hours,
inadequate pay or benefits – or a combination of these or other issues.

Either way, it's important to get to the root of the problem before you can do anything to make
your life better. Until the real source of your stress and anxiety is uncovered, any actions taken
only have a slight chance of making a real and discernible difference.

A proven strategy – and one that seems to be as effective as it is simple – is to take out a large pad
of paper or an empty notebook and a pen. Give yourself an hour or two to do the following
exercise. It's important that you play full on and give it your best effort. I assure you that the time
spent doing so will be time well invested and you'll emerge from the session with additional
insight and awareness that can serve you in making a substantial improvement in your life.

What you want to do is create a large list of everything conceivable thing that causes you to feel
tense, anxious, or stressful to any degree. Include the big stressors like having an evil boss, a client
from hell, or a family situation that's not exactly the best, like having a wayward and def iant
teenager. But also include the minor things, like getting cut off in traffic, spilling your coffee on
your dress, or holding the door for someone and not having them acknowledge your kind gesture.

Get it all down – that's the important thing. You want to identify everything – and I do mean
EVERYTHING – that registers as a stressor, frustration, upset, or inconvenience. If it registers in
your brain – it gets recorded on paper. Once you get on a roll and into the spirit of brainstorming –
you will likely be amazed by the sheer number of things that annoy you – things you let get under
your skin.

What's particularly interesting about this exercise is that identifying the problem is a prerequisite
to solving it. Some experts believe that a problem clearly identified is a problem half-solved. Either
way, your heightened sense of awareness can help you begin to recognize those stress-inducers
so you can take corrective action and avoid the negative consequences.

With your list in hand, you've taken a leap forward in coming to grips with and knocking the wind
out of the sails of stress. Now you can begin to put it all into perspective. Begin to evaluate the
items on your list. Consider each entry and decide if it's a minor annoyance or a serious issue. If it's
serious – how serious an issue is it? Some things that appear to be serious issues in the beginning
are suddenly not so bad when viewed from a different perspective. With anything that's troubling
you, consider how important it will be six months or one year down the line.

When you “future forward” this way, it gives you the benefit of viewing it over time – as though
you're projecting the effect of the outcome on your life. If it's something that won't matter much
one year from today – the issue is a short-term one no matter how burdensome it feels. So it need
not consume your attention, paralyze your sense of reason and drain all your energy. Soon, this
issue won't even matter in the grand scheme of things, so why worry about it and stress yourself

When it comes to releasing stress, there's nothing better in my mind than
intensive physical exercise and fresh air. Exercise is one of your greatest
allies against stress. If there’s one thing most medical doctors agree on
it's that even mild to moderate exercise – like walking a mile or two, three
or four days a week – helps strengthen your natural defenses and makes
you more capable of managing stress in a positive and effective way so it
doesn't get the best of you.

As a preventative measure, it's tough to beat thirty to sixty minutes of vigorous exercise like
walking, bike riding, swimming or cross-country skiing. Exercise strengthens your body's natural
defenses and thanks to the endorphins produced, it also raises your spirits and your emotional
vibration – making you much more resilient to those minor annoyances that used to stress you
out. After getting plenty of exercises, it's easy and somewhat automatic to deflect minor issues
while not letting the major stress-inducing incidents and circumstances knock you out of the

Exercise builds up your physical and emotional strength and suddenly things just don't seem quite
as bad as they did before. It noticeably boosts your confidence and gives you a new sense of
power you didn't seem to have access to before you started to move your body around.

This feeling of self-confidence is an invaluable tool in any counter measure taken by you to fight
off stress. When you get physical, you take in a richer supply of oxygen and you get your muscles
moving in the way they were designed to move. But that's not all. Regular exercise also releases
brain chemicals that make you feel calmer and more in control of any situation. Exercise
strengthens the heart and lungs too and it brings a greater degree of clarity to the bigger picture
in front of you. Of course those same issues remain, but you've become far more resilient and less
susceptible to the debilitating effects of the stress that's often associated to those major issues in
business, relationships and life in general.

Another foundational stress fighter is to reverse the detrimental effect of tension and anxiety and
to put your mind to work in a positive way. When you shift your mental focus in the direction you
want, you change what your mind is dwelling on in that moment. This is important because
whatever we dwell on most is what tends to materialize in our lives.

Visualization is a proven winner in creating a reality of clarity and peace. It's a powerful way to
harness the unlimited mind power each one of us possesses, but that in times of stress tend to
forget. Though it's termed creative visualization – the visual is only a part of the process and
certainly not a necessary component. What it really entails is engaging one's imagination to see,
hear, taste, touch and mostly feel a preferred outcome.

It's a matter of focusing your mind power to imagine things working out favorable for you. Instead
of feeling stressed as you may be in the outside world, go within and create any reality you want.
Imagine triumphing over your stress and kicking it to the curb once and for all. There is real
evidence that effective visualization changes the chemistry of the brain – giving you a renewed
sense of inner strength and a confidence boost that makes it easier to fight and overcome
whatever life throws at you – no matter what it happens to be.

Relaxation exercises are another valuable, foundational tool to help you to better cope with the
stress that can get you down and make you sick. Most relaxation exercises involve the process of
visualization. For example, you could imagine yourself on a favourite ocean beach in the
Caribbean. Agree to for the purpose of this exercise – stop thinking about anything else and simply
play along. If you can do this, you will emerge from this or any other simple visualization with more
clarity and peace of mind.

Ok, let's get started. Start by taking long, slow and deep breaths – in and out. Deep breathing
alone can be a powerful strategy for lowering stress quickly and effectively. Don't force anything,
just slow down the breathing and expand the amount of oxygen you take in.

Picture yourself lying comfortably in a padded lounge chair and allow all tension to leave your
body. Relax. Feel what it's like to be there now. Make note of all the sights, the sounds and the
scents that are present on this day at the beach and thoroughly enjoy this relaxing process. See
each wave gently crashing into the shore and then running up the sand until it can go no further.

Listen to the sound of the water and take in plenty of the fresh, slightly-salty air. Each time a new
wave hits and the water edges its way up the sand -- imagine drifting into a deeper and deeper
level of relaxation. Continue to breathe, deeply and slowly. Keep doing this until you notice that
you are completely relaxed. This is the level you want to achieve. You can remain there or you can
emerge refreshed, relaxed and empowered to face any issue stronger than you were just minutes
earlier. There is real measurable power in creative visualization. It's simple. It's basic and it doesn't
cost you a thing but a little of your time.

Another relaxation exercise that works great whenever you're stressed-out is the elevator
technique. It's important to recognize whenever you feel the pressure to step away for a few
moments and find some privacy. If you don't have a private office or spare room, a bathroom stall
can be just as useful.

Begin by taking several deep breaths – in and out. Have some fun with this and let it work for you.
Now imagine a large building with a glass elevator that's clear from the outside. Picture this
building in front of you, with the elevator at the very top floor and filled to capacity.

This represents where you are in the moment. You've just absorbed a large dose of stress and
tension and now you're going to let every last bit of it go. Keep breathing deeply and slowly as you
clearly see the elevator coming down. As it makes its descent, imagine your load feeling lighter
and lighter with each passing floor.

Picture all that stress, tension and anxiety leaving as passengers scurry off the elevator at various
levels. As the elevator reaches each floor in its movement toward the ground – you feel your
stress level coming down too. By the time the elevator touches down, you feel calmer and less
burdened. Make it real in your mind’s eye and you will feel the difference a simple relaxation
exercise like this can make.

Massage is a wonderful way to ease the stress and tension so many of us keep inside. Therapeutic
massage has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians
recognized the value and restorative power of massage and used it frequently. It's not just a
reduction in one's stress levels that massage provides. Its benefits are many and include the
following: reduced muscle tension, reduced pain and swelling, improved blood circulation,
stimulated central nervous system, rejuvenated mind and spirit, and a healthier digestive system.

You can literally feel the tension melt away and all that pent-up stress vanish. When you go for a
massage, it gets you out of your usual, everyday environment. You're in a comfortable location
and far away from the noise of competing attention-grabbers like co-workers, deadlines, car
horns, and kids. You get to give up the need to be on top of everything and in control. Surrender.
Let go and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of touch as tense muscles are relieved and tension
dissolved. Massage allows you to leave it all behind for the moment and to enjoy peace of mind.

One study revealed the benefits of massage on depression. It monitored new mothers who
experienced depression. Each was given a twenty-minute massage twice a week for four weeks.
After just one month of massage therapy, anxiety levels all but disappeared and lower levels of
stress hormones were measured in the blood. If this kind of result can be had from just one,
twenty minute session, twice a week, imagine the potential benefits if you could allow yourself the
pleasure for one hour each visit.

If you don't indulge in massage regularly – I highly recommend that you do. It's one of life's simple
and greatest pleasures. If you want to reward or treat yourself to something special, see and
registered massage therapist and book an hour-long appointment today. It's guaranteed to leave
you feeling less stressed out, more grateful for your life and more optimistic about your future.

Another basic strategy for beating stress is to routinely take breaks from whatever takes you are
performing at work. Even a two-minute break has proven beneficial. Stress dominates our lives
only because we don't make the conscious effort to relax more than we do. Relaxation stops
stress and temporarily at least, prevents it from attacking and damaging your mind and
dampening your spirits.

Try adding more breaks to you day. If you can't get break free of the chains or leave you desk, go
within for a few minutes. Close your eyes and repeat the word R-E-L-A-X to yourself as you breathe
out slowly and deeply. When you breathe in, take in fresh, nutrient-rich oxygen, preferably from an
open window nearby. Meditative breathing can be particularly helpful. Simply take long, slow,
deep breaths – in and out – for two to five minutes at a time. Do this and simply stay focused on
your breathing and after just a couple of minutes, you will be astonished at the rejuvenating and
revitalizing power of deep breathing offers.

The key here is to not just remember it, but to take those few minutes to exercise your lungs and
invigorate your body numerous times throughout the day. If you took nothing else from this
report but this one tip – you will be far better off than you were before in your ability to manage
and overcome stress.
One method that works well is to go all out in your work and bear down with focus for thirty
minutes at a time, followed by five minutes of complete diversion. Then you simply repeat this
process a few times before taking a larger (lunch break). In the afternoon, you repeat these two
steps until your day is finished.

Regular breaks fuel productivity and allow you to work with a greater degree of focus. And it's the
breaks that are the key to reducing and managing your stress levels too. What I find to be most
effective is to completely disengage and to do some deep breathing or simple exercises for five
minutes at a time. If you work at a physical job, you would probably prefer a more relaxing break
like reading a book or talking to friends. The secret is to something that's dramatically different
from your work. Getting away from it by shifting your focus is energizing and stress-relieving.

Another similar version is taught by online trainer and self-publisher, Eben Pagan. His process
looks like this: fifty/ten, fifty/thirty. Here work in fifty minute increments and follow the first one
with a ten minute break. Then you go hard for another fifty minutes and follow it with a full thirty
minute break.

Again, the breaks should involve total disengagement. You can use this time for anything you want
– walking, reading, deep breathing, meditation – whatever gives you satisfaction and diversion. It's
brain nourishment time and it's the breaks that de-stress you, allowing for more effective progress
without distractions when you resume working. Getting more accomplished in less time is therapy
in itself that will free up more time to deal with other issues later.

Deep breathing is very important. While doing deep breathing exercises, focus all your mental
energy on the process of breathing in fresh, healthy oxygen and exhaling stored toxins to create a
purifying and energizing effect.

For an even greater benefit, try holding your breath after each step in the cycle. In other words,
first you take a deep breath in for five seconds and then you hold it for five seconds. Next, you
exhale for five seconds and hold your breath again for the dame count, before inhaling again.
Concentrated breathing that is slow and deep provides essential nourishment for the mind and
body – making one far more capable of handling stressful situations whenever and wherever they

Reducing stress may be a personal matter; what works for me in relieving stress might not work as
well – or at all – for you. For example, I like to lift weights periodically, whenever I get stressed and
I keep a set of dumbbells at the office for this specific reason. My business partner on the other
hand, won't go near them and prefers a long distance run to burn off steam. The trick is to
uncover the best methods and quick-action tactics that get the job done for you – every time.

Take a good look at the things in life you most like to do. What do you respond to? What grabs
your attention and interest? What motivates you the most – is it something you see (visual)...
something you hear (auditory)... or something you feel on the outside or inside (kinesthetic)?

If you're predominantly a visual person, you will probably find relief from stress by looking up at
the puffy clouds in the sky, admiring beautiful, scenic photographs, viewing artwork, or watching a
movie. If an auditory modality is more likely something you resonate with, try listening to your
favourite music and singing along and it's a safe bet that doing so will relax you and ease any
stress. Or you might prefer listening to an inspiring speaker, or maybe having a heart to heart
conversation with a good friend.

If you're more touch or feeling oriented, try squeezing a stress ball, going for a massage, or
reconnecting with a memory that made you feel wonderful inside. Pay attention to what tends to
be your dominant mode and use this information to your advantage to promote relaxation and
stress relief whenever you need it the most.

Our final foundational tip is to eat nutritional meals. There's no doubt that what you eat can play a
causative role. But one's diet can also boost their ability to cope with and reduce stress too. For
example, if your diet lacks sufficient B vitamins, you will tend to become anxious and are even
prone to frequent bouts of depression.

A similar result can occur from a deficiency of vitamin C and other key nutrients. The body requires
a vast array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more and the one organ that requires the most
nutrients is the brain. To minimize stress, you need a fully-functioning brain. A deficiency in any
area can and often does lead to problems down the road. But you don't have to rush right out to
the health food store to stock up on supplements. A solid first step should be to make changes to
your diet. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains contain a heap of nutrients, though you
can always boost your amounts with supplements. That's essentially what they were designed to
do – to “supplement” the vitamins and minerals you get from your regular diet.

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and can give you a quick nutritional boost
whenever you feel depleted and less able to defend against stress. One strategy is to consume less
fat and more unrefined carbohydrates. The body actually uses the nutrients in carbohydrates to
manufacture brain chemicals that are known to reduce stress. Whole grains like oatmeal can for
the basis of a delicious and healthy meal that provides comfort as well as both quick and long-
lasting energy. What this kind of eating does for you is it leaves you feeling happier and more in
control of your life and whatever situations tend to present themselves.

Take away whatever works for you. Test out as many of these foundational stress management
tools as you like and stick with whatever works best for you. Every one of them can be helpful and
will likely generate varying results for you. One of the best strategies you can apply starting today
is to become more vigilant in monitoring stress levels. When the line is crossed, do something
about it immediately.

Nutritional Supplements for Stress Relief

When it comes to guarding against the ravages of stress, the clear

winner in terms of supplements is vitamin B complex. This
combination vitamin offers a vast treasure trove of protection and
relief from stress. Vitamin B complex taken daily, gives you more
energy, wipes out any fatigue and helps your brain make the
chemicals that keep alert and cheerful.

Your best bet is to look for a high-quality, high-potency brand and the best place to find this is at
your local health food store. Talk to the owner or a knowledgeable staff member and ask for their
recommendations. In my experience, most of these stores have experts on staff that understand
their customers’ needs and can quickly offer up solid suggestions.

Ginseng has been taken in one form or another for more than two thousand years. An ancient
Chinese text prescribed ginseng as a way to “quiet the spirit and increase wisdom”. Today's
herbalists recommend ginseng to help provide a natural balance and to ward off the damages of
disease and other stresses that impact the body. Studies show that ginseng bolsters the body's
natural defences. It also improves stamina and resists stress. There are numerous varieties of
ginseng available today and your best bet is to buy from a reliable source to get the most value for
your dollar.

Though not a supplement – but certainly something you can find at any quality health food store –
chamomile tea is an effective and safe choice for taking the edge off, calming one's nerves and
helping you to chill out after a stressful day. It's been used for centuries for a variety of ailments
with stress and anxiety among the most common of these ailments.

It's an ideal remedy for sleepless nights. Drink a steaming hot cup of chamomile tea thirty minutes
before bedtime and it will help you get a restful night of sleep. In one test conducted at the
University of Pennsylvania, participants with general anxiety disorder were given chamomile
supplements (also available at health food stores). A significant reduction in the symptoms of
anxiety was reported after test subjects took these supplements daily, over an eight week period.

Another tea that is particularly helpful in countering the assault on the body triggered by stress is
green tea. Green tea contains an amino acid called “theanine” which, according to University of
Illinois researchers, is a brain booster that enhances mental performance. Green tea is also helpful
in guarding against some forms of cancer and is thought to help one remain slim.

The Best Natural Foods for Guarding Against and Relieving Stress

There are plenty of nutritious foods that aid the body's protective forces, soothe shattered nerves,
and nourish and strengthen to help get you back on your feet when stress has taken its tool. There
are also some foods you should avoid altogether – like refined sugar – for example.

Among the worst foods you could ever consume is refined sugar. The body's
natural response to stress – a reaction that could even save your life in some
situations -- is severely impaired by the consumption of sugar. That's because
the nutrients required by the adrenal glands, things like vitamin C,
pantothenic acid, potassium and magnesium are depleted by refined sugar.

As sugar is consumed repetitively over time, these glands become so weak that the body's ability
to respond promptly and effectively to any perceived stressful event is all but impossible. What
this means is that relatively minor concern can trigger a major malfunction.

Refined sugar should be avoided at all costs and you can begin by eliminating white sugar from
your coffee or tea immediately. I would even go as far as to suggest that you stop buying those
five pound bags of refined sugar altogether because it offers zero nutritional value and acts like a
poison to the body. But what you need to beware of is all the processed and semi-processed foods
that contain sugar and change you ways when it comes to selecting foods.

Avoid buying cakes, pastries, donuts and the like as most of these are loaded with sugar, among
other questionable ingredients. And soft drinks and prepared fruit drinks are a definite no-no too.
Use the natural sugars in fruit to sweeten things up a bit. For example, a little dried fruit with your
morning oatmeal eliminates the need to add any processed sugar. You can also add a few dates to
homemade salad dressings, dips and sauces to sweeten them naturally. Pure natural honey,
blackstrap molasses and stevia are alternate sweeteners, but you may want to use these sparingly
as well.

The following list of foods offer help in some way to protect the body and minimize the damages
caused by stress:

Garlic helps to relax the nerves and defend against stress. It stimulates the immune system and
helps fight off infections, naturally thins the blood, and helps lower blood pressure, triglycerides
and cholesterol. Among the compounds in garlic is “allicin” which is said to aid in the reversal of
hypertension and heart disease, helps prevent cancer and wards off the common cold. Stress
weakens the immune system and garlic helps to restore it to normal functioning capability. Clearly
garlic offers a ton of health benefits and is one food that everyone should have on their regular
grocery list.

Eggplant is thought to prevent damage to the heart and arteries caused by stress and toxins
within the body. Since it's loaded with fibre, eggplant fills you up and leaves you satisfied, without
consuming excessive calories. The skin of eggplant contains the potent antioxidant and free
radical scavenger “asinine” which may help prevent cellular damage in the brain. Eggplant is also
high in chlorogenic acid, another antioxidant that lowers bad cholesterol levels while providing
antiviral and antimicrobial protection too.

Grapefruit contains plenty of vitamin C, potassium and lycopene. The potassium in grapefruit is
thought to be responsible for the quick surge in energy one gets from eating a grapefruit. This is
particularly helpful for anyone dealing with mental exhaustion caused by stress. Grapefruit is high
in fibre and low in calories. It's also a natural comfort food that can be enjoyed anytime, giving you
a feeling of contentment, completeness and satisfaction.

Asparagus is a good source of vitamin A, Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, chromium, fibre and
folate. Folate is an essential ingredient for helping you maintain your cool and mental flexibility.
Asparagus is packed with antioxidants and it slows down the aging process. It is especially rich in
“glutathione” a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens. Asparagus also
contains the amino acid “asparagine” which helps rid the body of excess salts.

Avocados contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E and plenty of B vitamins too. Additioanlly, there
is more folate in avocados than in any other fruit, helping you maintain emotional composure and
an even keel. Avocados (and bananas) are packed with potassium – a vital mineral for helping to
maintain low blood pressure. It's vitally important to boost one's potassium level since it is a
mineral that is depleted by stress, yet is an essential requirement for the conduction of nerve

Avocados are also rich in “glutathione” which prevents the absorption of certain fats that can
cause serious oxidative damage to the body. You don't need a lot (avocados are fattening) to get
the nutritional punch – just one quarter of an avocado represents a single serving.

Berries of all kinds are loaded with nutritional value and have been associated with many positive,
health-related results including mental sharpness. Berries contain the highest levels of the
antioxidant known as “anthocyanin”. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries
contain rich amounts of vitamin C – which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. In
tests, subjects given vitamin C after experiencing a stressful situation had lower blood pressure
and lower levels of cortisol in the bloodstream.

Cashews are a great source of zinc. Just one ounce of cashews represents eleven percent of your
daily recommended amount of zinc. Getting enough zinc is crucial because low levels of this
essential mineral have been linked to both anxiety and depression. The body has no way of storing
zinc, so it's important to replenish your supply. It is important to control your portion sizes
however since cashews and all nuts are high in calories.

Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants which catapult it to the top of the list of heart-healthy foods.
But chocolate has also been confirmed as a mood enhancer. It seems that at least on a
subconscious level, this is something that we've known for years. After a particularly stressful day,
many people instinctively reach for chocolate first. Now there's hard evidence to back up this
instinctive reaction. Taken in moderation, chocolate releases the mood-enhancing serotonin and
this feel-good chemical does lift your spirits. Dark chocolate is known to lower blood pressure and
help one achieve a level of inner peace and tranquility. Research indicates that dark chocolate may
also help to lower the levels of stress hormones. Chocolate also contains two important types of
antioxidants – polyphenols and flavonols. There's plenty of value in chocolate, but its high calorie
count means it should be consumed only in small quantities.

Oatmeal is a personal favorite of the author and a wonderful comfort food. It fills you up, leaves
you satisfied and eliminates the need to snack before your next meal. Oatmeal is a complex
carbohydrate that triggers the brain to release serotonin. This mood-booster creates a warm,
soothing feeling that helps you recover from stress that can at times be overwhelming. Serotonin
is also known to have antioxidant properties as well. Studies indicate that children who are given
oatmeal for breakfast tend to stay sharper mentally throughout the morning and they tend to
perform better in school.

Oranges are a commonly known and particularly-rich source of vitamin C, giving you natural stress
protection and just like grapefruit, oranges give you a quick boost of energy. Though typically
consumed as commercially-prepared juice, a healthier option is to eat the whole orange, minus the
outer skin and seeds. This gives you the full nutritional value of the fruit plus the fibre. Multiple
varieties of oranges are available and they're easy to take with you, wherever you go.

Walnuts can give you a mental edge – one that makes you more resistant to the damages that
stress can do to the brain. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic, an essential omega-3 fatty acid and
additional polyphenols that helps prevent memory loss. In animal testing at Tufts University,
researchers found that animals that were given walnuts actually reduced some of the signs of an
aging brain. Walnuts can be eaten raw or lightly toasted as a snack, added to oatmeal, or tossed in
a salad.

Almonds are another natural stress-buster. Almonds are a good source of vitamin B2 and vitamin
E, as well as magnesium and zinc. Vitamin E has demonstrated an ability to fight off the free
radicals associated with stress and heart disease. When you're stressed-out try crunching down on
a small handful of almonds and chew away some of that tension. Almonds (and all nuts actually)
are high in healthy fats, but it's still fat nonetheless, so you'll want to go easy to avoid excessive
caloric consumption.

Speaking of crunchy foods – munching on carrots is another sure-fire way to beat stress. Carrots
are sweet, delicious and crunchy root vegetables that contain vitamin A, beta carotene, fibre,
minerals and more. Carrots help slow the aging process – a process that is only accelerated by
stress. Regular consumption of carrots lowers cholesterol and protects against certain types of

Swiss Chard packs a nutritional punch that includes many phytonutrients and thirteen antioxidants
including: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins and minerals like, magnesium,
copper, calcium potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. The high fibre and protein content
of Swiss chard helps stabilize blood sugars and promote emotional balance – a valuable benefit in
stressful times. The magnesium in Swiss chard (and other leafy green vegetables helps to balance
the body's natural stress hormone – cortisol.

Red bell peppers contain vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. This enriching combination gives you
more energy while help you maintain a calm emotional state – crucial in today's stressful world.
The nutrients in red bell peppers also help repair cell damage caused by stress. It's easy to add
more red bell peppers into your diet. Chopped peppers are delicious when added to a salad, soup,
stir fry, or rice pilaf. You can also toss them into chili, omelettes, burritos, stuffed pitas, or pizza. Or
try roasting peppers for whole new taste experience. Red bell peppers are a versatile and
nutritious food.

Papayas – and any fruit or vegetable with yellow and orange pigments – generally possess healthy
quantities of vitamin A, vitamin C and folate and therefore, produce the same kind of advantages
as red bell peppers, namely – more energy and emotional balance. Chopped papaya goes great in
a fruit salad, smoothie, or when served with yogurt.

Lentils are an effective and natural cholesterol-lowering food. They are high in a couple of the B
vitamins – namely thiamine (vitamin B1) and niacin (vitamin B3) – and these along with folate, are
helpful for the healthy functioning of the nervous, digestive and immune systems. Consuming
lentils has a naturally-calming effect on the body that dissolves stress, releases anxiety and
improves one's mood. Due to their high fibre content, lentils help stabilize blood-sugar levels by
providing a steady, slow-burning energy that provides a balancing effect. The folate and
magnesium found in lentils help to protect the heart.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E and folate – helping to improve your mood and
lighten your load when you're feeling stressed. Keep a container in your purse, handbag, or
briefcase so you can reach for a handful whenever you feel the need. Not only do sunflower seeds
make a nutritious snack that raises your spirits, you can also sprinkle them over any salad, add
them to a yogurt parfait, or top-off a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal with sunflower seeds.

Brown rice is another complex carbohydrate that can help protect you from the damaging effects
of stress as well as help ease the tension. Like oatmeal, brown rice gives you energy that lasts for
hours, a huge advantage on those days that are particularly stressful. Brown rice is far less-
processed than any version of white rice and contains eighty-eight percent of the recommended
daily amount of manganese. It also contains selenium, magnesium and tryptophan.

Rosemary is not just a tasty herb – but one that offers real benefits in the fight against stress. For
example, rosemary is said to lower blood pressure, while easing the pain of and even reversing the
effects of migraine headaches. Some experts suggest that rosemary's health-inducing qualities
may be due to its ability to protect the adrenal glands from the toxic effects of stress. For people
who routinely feel stressed, the daily use of oil of rosemary is suggested. Just rub a little rosemary
oil on the chest area and let its pungent aroma sedate the nerves and the brain. Apply t the same
way to the back or any tense muscles. Rosemary oil can also be taken internally to help calm one's
nerves and to strengthen their resistance to stress.

Physical Stress Busters

When it comes to dealing with and defeating stress, it's great to have an arsenal of tools at your
disposal so you are ready and able to take counter measures to protect your health and your
sanity. Following are a few stress busters you can use to gain an upper hand on one of today's
mightiest and most harmful threats.

Aromatherapy uses the power of smell to soothe frazzled nerves and to relax,
restore and revitalize the mind and body. Typically sold in the form of various oils
– aromatherapy-infused products such as candles, hand creams and soaps are
also available. Numerous varieties of aromatherapy oils are available at any
quality health food store and are usually sold in small two or three ounce bottles.
You can dab oil on your temples or wrists.

Another option is to add five to ten drops to a spray bottle used for watering houseplants. Then
top-up the bottle with fresh water. Use it to gently mist your face and body. This can be especially
comforting just before you hit the sack and call it an evening.

Another way to benefit from aromatherapy is to look for aromatherapy-enhanced jars filled with a
blend of essential oils and water and topped with a sponge. These are powerful stress beaters you
can leave on your desk. Whenever you're feeling the heat, simply open the jar and allow the
powerful scent inside – like grapefruit, for example – to permeate your immediate environment
and restore your sense of inner peace and strength. After fifteen or twenty minutes, you can close
the jar and save it for another time.

Aromatherapy products travel easily – so be sure to take them along on all your business trips. Try
different scents like basil, neroli, eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender.

The five minute lie-down is a simple exercise that just as the name implies – takes just five minutes
– yet it can lift hours of stress from your body, just like that.

Here's how it works:

 Find a spot on the floor – preferably a carpeted area – where you can be alone for the next
five minutes.
 Go ahead and lie down on your back and close your eyes.
 Begin to completely relax by taking a number of deep breaths – in and out – slowly and

Now, as you continue to breathe deeply and with your eyes closed, imagine that you are actually
lying on a thick, comfortable bed. But I want you to – at least for the moment – imagine that you
weigh five hundred and fifty pounds (550 lbs).

Feel your body as it continues to sink into the mattress – deeper and deeper – and just allow
yourself to go with the flow. Notice how it feels as though you are on a cloud or a soft pillow,
rather than a bed. Observe how you can actually feel your body sinking further and further.

The more you play the game and allow yourself to sink in, the more your stress sinks away too.
After five minutes, open your eyes, stand up and notice how you feel. Are your more stressed,
about the same, or less stressed? Odds are you will feel considerably less stress after to take part
in this basic exercise.

Okay, this one might seem a little strange to you – but hear me out. The idea here is to set aside a
time slot – twenty to thirty minutes is good – where you can contemplate your situation or
circumstances and worry like crazy. It reminds me of the “bitching sessions” we used to have in
college football. Once a month, all players and coaches would gather and vent their frustrations
about anything and everything. Once it was over and the air had cleared, we resumed right where
we left off and things generally improved. Try it with your “worry” sessions.

State the problems and concerns and get them out there. Consider the implications. What could
potentially happen? What is most worrisome about it? Feel the emotions as fully as you can
because this is your time to do so. When you schedule worry time, it takes discipline and focus to
stick to the schedule and not allow it to take over the rest of your day. When your appointment
ends – shift gears and get back to doing something more productive. One important caveat is to
never schedule a worry session just before bedtime, or it will likely keep you awake, disrupting
valuable sleep time – something that's even more critical whenever you're tense and stressed out.

This one involves taking just a few minutes to relax and oxygenate the muscles of the body. If you
can find a quiet room to escape to – that's the best way to do this exercise. But if you can't find a
private space, or you find yourself chained to your desk, you can do it right where you are.

Start by sitting up straight to allow the energy to flow through your body and begin by taking
deep breaths. Breathe in to the count of five and then exhale for the same time. Get into a
breathing pattern where you're calm, taking in plenty of oxygen with each breath and ridding the
body of excess toxins as you do.

Next, start at the top of your head and work your way down throughout the body, loosening up
those tense muscles as you go. Feel the muscles in your face and jaw ease up. Then do the same
with your neck and shoulder muscles. Imagine any tension quickly dissolving and a fresh supply of
nutrient-rich blood flooding each area and organ.

Continue to breathe deeply and feel your lungs fill-up and then empty again in a healthy, natural,
and stress-free way. After five minutes of this – or more if time and circumstances permit – you
will feel noticeably less-stressed and lighter. Try it and see for yourself. The imagination is a
wonderful gift that has been given to each and every one of us.

Here's another stress-relieving technique that you can do right in your office cubicle, or sitting at
your desk. If you can find a spare meeting room or office to do this in private – that's even better.
It also involves the imagination as well as some physical manipulation.

Here's how it works:

Sit up in a comfortable position and keep your back straight. Loosen off any clothing that may be
too tight – like a neck tie.

Now begin by closing your eyes as tight as you can and start to relax. Notice how some of your
other muscles tense up too – that's exactly what you want to happen and the more muscle groups
you can involve in this process – the better the effect of the exercise.

Now begin to tighten your eyes, jaw, face, hands, abdomen area and feet. Tighten and hold for ten
seconds and then release your grip completely and begin breathing deeply and slowly again. Relax
each muscle group and let the tension out. After a minute, repeat the process again. Go tight and
hold it and then release and let go, fueling each muscle group with rich, oxygenated blood and
allowing all tension to float away. Continue to breathe deeply and calmly and notice how much
more relaxed you are then when you began a few minutes earlier.

When you feel the urge, let the tears flow and let go. If you're going to cry – have a good cry
because flowing tears can be the best thing for your body. Don't try to force yourself to stop or to
calm down. Cry all day if you want. When you're ready to stop crying – you will – and you'll feel
much better too. Experts on stress claim that it's not only right to cry – it's healthy to do so.

It's the conditioning we received along the way in our formative years that gave us the idea tears
represent inappropriate behaviour. Nobody likes to see someone else crying and often those ever-
flowing tears represent an emotional hurt of some kind. To ease the discomfort of others around
us, many of us were told to “stop crying” or to “grow up”. But according to the experts, repressed
tears and emotions that are held back causes harm to the body.

Crying is a natural form of therapy. Studies indicate that crying reduces muscle tension and lowers
blood pressure. Tears may even provide another way for the body to disperse of harmful toxins
caused by stress. When analyzed, tears triggered by emotional stress were found to be far
different chemically than the tears that flow when one slices onions in the kitchen.

Biofeedback is a process that measures various levels in the body. Its purpose is to help you learn
how to recognize physical changes in the body and to use your mind power to better control
those changes in brainwave activity, body temperature, heart rate, breathing patterns, and blood
pressure. Biofeedback provides greater awareness and it's this increased awareness that
empowers you to get a better handle on your body's automatic physical reactions to stress.

You don't necessarily need biofeedback to gain more clarity into these responses – you can simply
pay more attention to your breathing, heart rate and body temperature. Recognition and
awareness is the key to gaining the upper hand on stress and not letting it take you out of the
picture. Simply step aside, recognize what's going on and then take a few moments to focus on
bringing your body back to a normal and healthier state.

When you or someone close to you gets blindsided with a serious injury or diagnosis,
it can seem like there's nowhere to turn. It's at times like these that most of us turn
within. Prayer is a do-it-yourself kind of process. When you ask people if they think
that prayer has an impact on results – most will agree that it does.

Even medical doctors are becoming more open to the concept as they witness the effects in their
own medical practices. The fact is that we tend to cope better with major stress with a strong faith
and the power of prayer. In times of serious illness, prayer gives you two things you don't typically
get from the medical establishment – a process you control entirely and a large dose of warmth
and comfort.

Having faith in a higher power provides meaning through particularly difficult times and helps one
make sense of the circumstances. Prayer is a tool of empowerment, giving you purpose, dignity,
and a boost to your self-esteem as you gain a sense that you're capable of dealing with whatever
happens in your life. Some researchers believe that the key to the effectiveness of prayer is that it
relaxes you and therefore makes you more capable of handling a stressful situation. Relaxation
counters the effects of increased levels of cortisol coursing through the body. No one can say with
any certainty exactly how prayer works. But those who engage in prayer regularly experience a
relief from stress and a degree of healing that might otherwise not occur.

Here's another simple way to reduce your stress: get closer to nature. Step outside at every
opportunity and observe nature's bounty of towering trees, beautiful bushes, interesting plants,
expressive flowers, green grass, peaceful meadows, lapping shorelines, rushing waters and more.
Getting closer to nature has a therapeutic effect on us as human beings. In a way it reconnects us
to the beauty and regenerative power of the universe. But when you can't get outside – bring
“outside” in.

Consider adding more houseplants and fresh-cut flowers to your indoor collection. Plant fresh
herbs and get them started on their way from your window sill. The wonderful fragrance of fresh
basil or rosemary is invigorating and healthy. Go ahead and plant plenty of flowers and trees out in
the yard. You'll be sprucing up your property and contributing to the environment. And doing so
helps you connect with nature a lower your stress level. Plant more flowers, shrubs, vegetable
plants and trees and you'll enjoy a more peaceful and harmonizing experience every time you step
into your backyard. A thirty minute garden visit can work wonders on your spirit. And your stress
level will drop significantly as you enjoy nature.

Simple Ways to Minimize the Negative Effects of Stress

Simplify your life. Chances are that you're trying to do too much and manage too many different
things. This is a completely ineffective way to live. It's time to pare it down. Stop the madness,
take a few deep breaths and decide to get your life back. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Choose the most important thing on your list and focus on it until it's
completed. If there's still time left in your day, go to the next item and
address it with one hundred percent focus. Human beings can focus
fully on just one thing at a time. I love what productivity expert and
author of Work the System says -- “Multitasking is for machines.” Take a
long hard look at your to-do list for today and streamline it. If you're trying to do too much –
you're burning yourself out and causing unnecessary stress. Cut it out!

If there's one certainty in life it's that “stuff” happens. People you were counting on failed to
show up. A strike by teachers catches off guard, forcing you to take care of the kids on a work day.
Your flight gets cancelled. No worries – it's just a part of life. Flexibility is the key to preventing an
internal meltdown. When you are flexible it's easier to adapt and the best way to do this is to have
some alternate options, so you're not stuck and highly stressed.

No matter who you are or how you roll – there is only twenty-four hours in a day. That's just the
way it is. The good news is that it's the same for everybody, so there's no unfair advantage here.
You are not a machine and you cannot perform like one. Figure out what you can accomplish and
make allowances for things like travel time and unavoidable interruptions. You don't have to be a
Superman or Wonder Woman. Work with what you have, make allowances for down time and
don't stress yourself out. Everything will be completed in due time.

Just as stress can cause serious illness in the physical body – uproarious laughter can heal it. Few
things in life deliver as much value to the entire experience – and one's health – as uninhibited
laughter. It's important to take the time to laugh every day. It just feels good and when you're
laughing – you're not stressing out. If you can't find something external to laugh about – laugh at
yourself because that's good for you too. When you laugh, you relax the heart muscle and your
nervous system mellows. It also gives your immune system a boost, making you better able to
fight off illness.

If you're overextended – bring in reinforcements. No matter what task or lies ahead, someone
somewhere can help you. If you try to do everything yourself, sooner or later you'll get frustrated
and stressed out. If you're a parent who does everything for your child, it's time to cut back – and

Kids and others can quickly become dependent on you for even the simplest of things that they
could easily take care of themselves. Alternate resources abound for anything you can think of
related to family, home and work. It's just a matter of opening one's eyes to the world of
possibility and engaging the services of others to lighten you load. The better you are at managing
life, the less stressed you'll be.

If you're constantly being interrupted, you cannot perform at a level even close your best.
Interruptions and distractions will get the best of you if you permit them to occur. It can be
extremely stressful when you've got an impending deadline and you're far from completing the
task or project and you have to deal with one distraction after another. Talk about stress!

There's really only one thing to do and that is to set some boundaries. Close your office door and
let others know that when the door is closed it’s as though you're in a meeting and cannot be
interrupted. Close your email when you're working on something else. Let your kids know that
when it's work time – you're busy and cannot be distracted except in emergency situations.

Tune in closer to your body and mind and pay attention to the triggers that set you off in any way.
When you notice yourself getting agitated, angry or annoyed – let it go. If you're a visual person,
envelop the situation or occurrence in a giant, helium-filled balloon and launch it into the
atmosphere immediately. Let it go. Let the anger, frustration and stress go. Do not allow it any
more energy than you've already spend. Simply let it go. The more you practice this – the easier it
becomes and the less stressed-out you'll be.

When you're feeling stressed, you're amped-up and on fire and not in a good way. Something
happened and you react. But you do so at an accelerated pace. The best thing you can do is to
catch yourself, take a deep breath and slow down the rate at which you're speaking. Slow down
and you will find that your thinking is clearer and more reasonable. Instead of lashing out with an
automatic response, you think it through and calmly explain your perspective. When you're less-
agitated, you'll make more sense and you'll tend to get others to agree with what you're saying.
Slowing down your speaking slows the impact stress has on you and it gives you more power and
control. Use a trigger word like – SLOW – to use to stop the automatic response from taking over.

When you're feeling stressed, you're usually not standing up straight with your shoulders back and
chest out. That's just not the posture of someone who's tense and under pressure. Instead, you’re
likely slumped over a computer, or your head's down. When you shift your physiology – you
facilitate an easing of in the level of stress you're experiencing. Hold your head high with your
shoulders upright but relaxed.

At the end of a stressful day – it's nice to have something to look forward to -- something that can
get you over the rough spots. Even if it's nothing more than a manicure, massage, shopping trip,
or a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi with a good book to read – a small indulgence gives you
something pleasurable to look forward to.

When it comes to your reward, it's important that you engage in it fully. This means putting aside
any housework or family needs and concerns for the time being. You need and deserve to fully
relax and completely de-stress. Forget about what happened – that's history. And ignore
tomorrow – it will be here soon enough. Live in the moment and enjoy your time of peace and
tranquility as you re-charge your batteries. It's essential to allow yourself the time to rejuvenate
and it will make you much better equipped to handle the challenges of tomorrow.

If you're anything like most people today, there are dozens of things that are causing you stress.
Chances are you're juggling multiple balls at the same time hoping you don't drop any of them. But
this is a dangerous way to live and eventually, something’s got to give. When there are multiple
unresolved issues in your life, you can never escape the burden of stress. But there's too much
going on to think you can stay on top of it all.

The best thing you can do is to tackle one stressor at a time. Choose one thing that's been
bothering you and work on a simple and practical solution – one small step you can take to ease
the stress you're feeling from this single, solitary issue. In his way, you're proactively managing
your stress in smaller doses and in doing so, eliminating the overwhelming and out of control
feeling that emotionally cripples you.

Looking at each stress-triggering issue on an individual basis can help. But you may need to go
further and create a different viewpoint. What is it that angers or irritates you? Before reacting,
consider how you might be jumping to a conclusion, basing a projected result on past
performance, or simply magnifying a problem that is relatively minor to begin with. Take a
moment to gather yourself together. Breathe deeply. Reflect on the issue and calmly choose a
positive and productive course of action, rather responding impulsively.

If you're unsure of how to do something that you need to do, it can quickly stress you out. But
don't forget that even the smartest people in the world seek and get help whenever it's needed.
Top performers in all fields of endeavor use coaches, consultants and advisors. If you don't know
– ask. Consult a trustworthy co-worker, visit your local library and talk to librarians. These folks are
world-class when it comes to locating information and in most cases – can point you in the right

If you're one of those people who are perpetually late – you're causing yourself – and probably
others too – unnecessary stress. Get up earlier. Give yourself an extra fifteen or twenty minutes to
get to wherever you need to go. Identify your priorities and forget about any unnecessary tasks.
Map out priority projects task by task and allow extra time for things like meetings, taking calls,
answering emails and so on. And measure the time it actually takes for each task as you go. This
will improve your ability to estimate time in the future.

This one is often difficult for people to do simply because they don't recognize the signs. But if
you've been down and out for some time and things don't seem to be improving, you've got to
step in and take corrective action. It's ultimately up to you to take care of and to nurture yourself.
It's time for a serious time-out where you can step away from the situation and leave the tension
behind as you work at building yourself back. Go back to the basics. Insist on getting the right
amount of sleep every night. Eat a more nutritious diet and start a daily exercise program.
Consider getting involved in yoga or meditation as both are healthy, stress-relieving activities.

Human beings depend on one another and one of our primary needs is the need to interact with
others. While we seem to be more connected electronically through technology, personal
connections are not nearly as prevalent. Yet it's this part of the human experience that can be the
most therapeutic and stress-relieving. Talk to more people at every opportunity. Connect with old
friends and acquaintances and share stories. Chat up others in line at the grocery store or coffee
shop. Exchange a friendly “hello” with strangers on the street. When you open up to others, it
seems to ease whatever burden you happen to be feeling. Even a slight shift can make a
significant improvement in your stress level.


Life was never meant to be excessively stressful. Nature equipped each of us with the physical
capability to survive and recover from potentially dangerous situations. But most of today's stress
is artificial and manmade. We've brought in upon ourselves by the lifestyles we've adopted in a
general sense. But it's unlikely that society will change and lighten-up any time soon. Therefore,
combating today's stress is up to each of us as individuals.

Clearly it's far healthier to live without a lot of stress. Most of us can handle occasional stress, but
it's the chronic and perpetual cycle of stress that inflicts the most serious damages on the body.
You may not be able to change the world, or the system, or even the way things are done. And you
may not be able to change others, traffic gridlock, or the way that other people behave towards
you. But you can change your reactions, your diet, your breathing patterns and the amount of
exercise you get every day. Control what you can control and deal with what you can't in the
healthiest and most-effective manner. That's a sure-fire strategy for lowering stress and anxiety.