- Take control of your health – Make a conscious effort for your personal health to exercise, eat right and get that physical check-up we all need every year. The easiest of these is exercise – and the easiest way to begin exercise is to take a walk! Get back in control!
- Change it up – Whether it’s cleaning out clutter at home or taking that long overdue vacation, a change in pace can pull you out of the monotony of your life and make a big difference. You know it’s been nagging at you so go ahead and do it!
- Live for today – Escape from worrying about tomorrow or fretting about yesterday and focus all your efforts on today. That’s why it’s called ‘the present’.
- Give yourself a pep talk – Instead of being your own worst enemy and focusing on the negative, you can be your own personal cheerleader. Write 5 positive things about yourself/that you can be thankful for on a sticky note, place it where you will see it every day and read it out loud!
- Laugh out loud – Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol (associated with belly fat), epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins. You know what tickles your funny bone so LOL! No joke!
- Pray/Meditate – A still mind is a stress-free mind. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and hold it in for 10 seconds. Repeat a few times until you feel the calm take over your body and your stress melt away. Do this for at least 10 minutes a day and give yourself a re-charge!
- Listen to music – Studies have shown music to be a wonderful tool that can promote wellness and help us overcome many of the obstacles we face in life. Listening can help reduce blood pressure and help our bodies build serotonin (the feel-good hormone) in the brain. Music therapy, promoted and endorsed by the American Music Therapy Association, has shown music to be effective in managing stress, promoting physical rehabilitation, memory enhancement, emotional expression, pain management and better communication. Rock on!
- Accentuate the positive – Negative thoughts enter our brain every day. Start by picking just one and look at the positive side of the situation. Then keep your focus there. Over time you will re-train your brain!
- Pay it forward – Sometimes the best way to help ourselves is by putting our focus on someone else. Putting someone else’s needs and how you can help them in the front of your mind allows you to step away from your own thoughts and challenges. And it makes you both feel better!
- Get out there – Making time for connecting with the people around you, spending time outside and doing things you love with family, friends and your spouse are all stress relievers that are good for your health in many ways. Social connection is tied to longevity, since it helps you feel like you’re a part of something larger than yourself and helps give you perspective.
YMCA of Greater Birmingham, www.ymcabham.org