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Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021

Release Your Stress

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Healing challenges in health ways

As a business serving women in NWLA for almost 30 years, the greatest challenges we have observed at Fitness Lady in assisting women regain their health, lose weight, recover from surgery and many other demands is the added stress it brings.

During times of uncertainty, stress demands can increase due to changes or loss, and we find ourselves looking for ways to take back control of our lives and reduce the stress.

“Stress” refers to your body’s reaction or response to challenges and demands. Stress can be positive or negative, and there are healthier ways to deal with it.

Everyone experiences stress, which can be triggered by a vast number of events, from minor daily hassles to significant changes like divorce or job loss. The stress response includes physical components such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, thoughts and personal beliefs about the stressful event, and emotions, including fear and anger.

Although we often think of it as being negative, stress can also come from positive changes in your life, like getting a promotion or having a new baby. Stress serves an important purpose as it enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, lengthy periods of negative stress may lead to mental health issues or increased physical health problems. A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness.

While no one can avoid stress, you can handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover. But how can we handle it in a positive and healthy way?

• Eat and drink to optimize your health. Drinking and overeating may actually add to stress in the long run.

• Exercise regularly. Exercise has been shown to be a powerful stress reliever. Try non-competitive aerobic exercise, strengthening with weights, or movements like Tai Chi or stretching exercises like yoga.

• Cut the nicotine. Nicotine increases stress by increasing physical arousal and reducing blood flow and breathing.

• Practice relaxation techniques to protect your body from the effects of stress. Choose deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or online phone apps for free.

• Reduce triggers of stress that are selfimposed such as deadlines or poor time management. Pace yourself, set priorities, establish boundaries and ask for help.

Prioritize and reserve time to take care of yourself.

• Assert yourself. It’s OK to say “no” to demands on your time and energy that will place too much stress on you. You don’t always have to meet the expectations of others.

• Set realistic goals and expectations. It’s OK and very healthy to realize you cannot be 100% successful at everything all at once. Be mindful of the things you can control and accept the things you can’t control.

• Remind yourself of what you do well when you are feeling overwhelmed. It is essential to have a healthy and accurate sense of self-esteem.

The fitness industry has seen an increased demand for stress management programming. The emotionally fast-paced nature of people’s lives coupled with a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle creates a perfect storm for negative stress, acute illness and chronic disease. Fitness Lady understands that stress can be a great help or hindrance to a woman’s total well-being.

There are several methods you can use to relax or reduce stress, including:

• Music to promote well-being or relaxation.

• Counseling to help you recognize unhealthy patterns of stress and develop coping strategies.

• Deep breathing techniques such as “tactical breathing.”

• Prayerful meditation.

• Regular escapes from the artificial sights, sounds and temperatures of your daily life. Get sunlight on your body, or go to a park with lots of plants and trees.

• Garden. • Spend quality time with supportive friends.

• Laugh. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feelgood chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Brianna Larson is a health and fitness specialist at Fitness Lady Inc., located at 1700 Old Minden Road, Ste. 180, Bossier City, La. For more info, call 318-747-1897.

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