Learn How to Stay Calm and Improve Your Health
The immune system is impacted by stress
No matter what your age is, if you react quickly and angrily to stressful situation, it poses a risk to your health. Psychoneuroimmunology demonstrates the impact of stress on your physical health.
“Biologically, the immune system is not able to fight off infections as well when stressed. In fact, every organ system in the body can be adversely affected by chronic stress,” said Elizabeth Lombardo, psychologist and physical therapist.
Staying calm has many health benefits, from physical to emotional. When you are angry, you release adrenaline into your blood in order to prepare for a perceived threat or danger and that has a negative affect on health. It can contribute to high blood pressure, increased anxiety and depression, not to mention impacting the quality of your sleep.
Find out what you can do to lessen your stress and improve your health.
Don’t act out
When people are stressed, they tend to act out in ways that aren’t in their best interest. Lombardo called these “less-than-optimal behaviors” and they include indulging in a pint – or two – of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on occasion.
Meanwhile, being calm has the adverse effect, she said.
Here are Lombardo’s tips on how to instantly calm yourself:
- Take some deep breaths
- Go for a walk
- Jump on the bed
- Blow bubbles
- Watch a funny video
- Hug a loved one
- Listen to music you enjoy
- Be in nature- or even look at nature (research shows you still get benefits)
Connect with peace
Learn to stay calm and connect with peace, advised Kathy Walsh, an educator and author.
“You can't strive, work hard, or study hard to find peace. Peace is a place of letting go and then the connection happens. We let go of tension in the body through movement and exercises that move energy. We let go of thought through meditation. We let go of control by focusing on positive energy filled with gratitude. Why peace? Because peace is where your life soars,” Walsh said.
“Staying calm brings harmony. When you have stillness in your life, external influences don’t affect you,” she said.
To incorporate a calm lifestyle in our daily hectic lives, Walsh said, “it's important to keep it simple but consistent. Even if you are only able to meditate five minutes per day, doing it every day is better than striving to make it a practice that is unachievable and then dropping it. One way to do this is to find places in the day where you can insert mindfulness in the day. Start off the day, play a happy tune as you get dressed or cook breakfast. Put some music on in the morning that has a
positive message, maybe Pharrell's ‘Happy.’”
Walsh recalled, “My mother woke us up every morning singing, ‘Oh what a beautiful morning, a what a beautiful day.’ I still wake singing that song. On the way to work, take time to notice the smell of the air, a beautiful bird chirping and how warm the sunlight feels or how soft the rain falls. It's easy to add gratitude to everyday things by saying, ‘How lucky we are to have this bird singing on our walk. Or to take this walk during a lunch break. Have a tech-free walk and enjoy lunch at a local park. By appreciating the world around you, you began to let go of stress and anxiety and in turn, will end up leading a happier life.”
How to handle stress
If something stressful does occur, Walsh said to acknowledge those negative feelings and “treat them like a wave.”
“If you tell yourself to breath in and out, the emotion will ride over like a wave and eventually it will clear out. We have to acknowledge them and not bury them. This is how addictions and behavior problems happen. This does not mean that we let the negative take over our day. We acknowledge it, feel it and let it go. I remember the saying life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. You have a choice whether to look at life in a positive way or not. The more positive you are the better life will be. Life will be a reflection of their thoughts and what they put out they get back.”