December 2008 >
7 Ways to Slash Stress
7 Ways to Slash Stress
Maoshing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D.
Chronic stress seems to be our national disease,
especially these days. Millions suffer from symptoms of stress: nervous
tension, restless sleep, difficulty focusing and remembering,
irritability, and health complications. Generally speaking, stress
speeds up aging. Learn the ways to manage stress, and you will look and
1. Start your day with meditation
Spend time every day in meditative relaxation, with calming music if you
desire. Start with five minutes and work your way to 15 or 20 minutes
each day. Meditation is your number one way to reduce the output of
stress hormones and avoid adrenal exhaustion, serious threats to your
Try this Stress Release Meditation: Breathe consciously, relax, and with
each exhale focus on relaxing each area of your body in sequence,
starting from the top of your head and moving all the way down to your
2. Manage your mood with diet and herbs
Chinese Medicine considers the liver to be the center of your emotions.
To allay stress and balance your emotions, keep your liver healthy and
• Every day, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, barley grass, seaweed -
anything high in chlorophyll - to keep the liver in good health.
• Take 500 mg dandelion daily for a month or longer to cleanse the liver
and help release built-up anger.
• Take 400 mg white peony root daily for 1 to 3 months to soothe the
liver and balance your mood.
• Schisandra berry protects the liver from chemicals and calms the
spirit. For emotional
Anxiety, take 200 mg daily for a month.
Take these herbs anytime during the day and before bed in tea or capsule
form. All the herbs are available from health food stores and Eastern
medicine practitioners. Many of my patients have had remarkable results
with Calm-Fort Elixir, an all-natural formulation of herbs to calm your
spirit. For more information, click here.
3. Suppress stress with positive thinking
Instead of letting your thoughts run wild with
Anxiety, say affirmations
to yourself, such as "I can handle the tasks I have ahead of me. I enjoy
my responsibilities and fulfill them well." In fact, repeating positive
affirmations can actually suppress the cortisol that the adrenal gland
releases in times of stress - leaving you peaceful and calm.
4. Get stress out of your head and on paper
Writing in a journal every day can help you release thoughts and
emotions that are causing you stress. Write from the position of an
observer, recording your thoughts without any judgments. Just write it
down so that you can see clearly what is going on inside. The next step
is to identify the source of any anger or stress so you can begin to
make changes. Looking into your thoughts give you the opportunity to
gain insight into your feelings and reflect the underlying issues.
5. Unblock tension with exercise
The constant pressures of your job and family can lead to chronically
elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is a direct cause
of muscle and joint pain. Clenched jaw? Lump in your throat? Chronic
back and neck pain? These can all be manifestations of stress in your
body. Release physical tension and clear these emotional blockages by
using massage therapy, exercise, yoga, tai chi, or qi gong to get the
6. A Retreat to Avoid Burnout
Overloading your brain is a recipe for stress and health problems.
Information overload is particularly harmful at midlife because we have
less tolerance for stress, which can contribute to high blood pressure
and heart disease. Press the "reset" button on yourself. Give yourself a
retreat from the stresses of modern life. Take one day out of the
seven-day week to minimize "screen" time. Don't watch TV, don't check
email, and don't look at the news - it will be there tomorrow, and after
a day of rest, you will be refreshed and ready to look at them.
7. Perspective from the Natural World
Use nature to reduce stress. Go outside, hike in the woods, walk on the
beach, anything that puts you in contact with the natural world. It is
difficult to feel stressed when you are surrounded by nature's abundance
Vitality and wonder.
I hope you find the ways to have less stress! I invite you to visit
often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Maoshing Ni, L.AC., D.O.M., PH.D., DIPL. C.H., DIPL. ABAAP
Dr. Mao is a Licensed Acupuncturist, a Diplomat of
Chinese Herbology and a Diplomat in Anti-Aging. He is currently in
general practice with special interest in immune, hormonal and aging
related conditions. He was awarded the Outstanding Acupuncturist of the
Year Award in 1987. Dr. Mao along with Dr. Dao, his brother and father,
founded Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Santa
Monica, California. He is currently director and a professor of Chinese
medicine at Yo San University. Dr. Mao is a member of the American
Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, the AOM ALLIANCE, American Society of
Acupuncturist, the American Association of Acupuncturist & Oriental
Medicine and National certification Commission for Acupuncturist &
Oriental Medicine Diplomat in Chinese Herbology.