7 Ways to Slash Stress7 Ways to Slash Stress

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D, Dipl. C.H., ABAAP

Chronic stress seems to be our national disease—especially today. 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 feel younger.

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 fifteen or twenty minutes each day. Meditation is your number one way to reduce the output of stress hormones and avoid adrenal exhaustion, serious threats to your health. 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 toes. We also have a series of guided meditation cd’s available to support you.

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 happy:

  • Every day, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, barley grass, seaweed—anything high in chlorophyll—to keep the liver in good health.
  • Try herbal remedies such as our Sanctuary Calm Formula or Sanctuary Sleep Formula.
  • Use essential oils to boost your mood such as our Five Elements Rollerballs.
  • Drink our Ancient Treasures tea that contains anxiety reducing herbs such as Chrysanthemum flower, Lily Bulb, Chamomile and Cassia seeds.

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 circuits moving.

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 deal with it.

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 of vitality and wonder.

About the Author:

Dr. Mao, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on The Ricki Lake Show, Dr. Oz, and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310-917-2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at contact@taoofwellness.com.



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