As we begin another week and face the challenges it may bring, read these seven steps to lower your stress. Post it on your refrigerator or on the mirror in your bathroom, and refer to it as you start each day.
R E N E W A L
R – Take a few minutes each day to reflect.
- Turn off all electronic gear and take yourself off the grid. Sit quietly without any interruptions and let your mind unwind. Don’t become attached to any of your thoughts; just let them come and go.
E – Exercise every day.
- A fitness center isn’t necessary, though. Take a walk during lunch or take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is not a weight reduction and muscle building routine; it’s about getting oxygen into your body and brain.
N – Make nutritious choices.
- Begin small if you must—a piece of fruit instead of a cookie, or unsalted almonds instead of chips. You’ll feel good about your decisions, and your body will too.
E – Engage with someone you care about every day.
- This is best done face-to-face, but a phone call will suffice. As you’re conversing, consider how much this person means to you. Your goal is to feel the love.
W – Take time to experience some wackiness in your day.
- Find something that will give you a round of laughter—the more the better. Make it your mission to see the humor in the day-to-day goings-on of your life.
A – Find a moment for appreciation.
- Every day, make note of the people, places, and things for which you are grateful. Each time you do this, you stimulate the production of a hormone called oxytocin, which has a neutralizing effect on the stress hormone cortisol designed to keep you hyper-vigilant (also anxious and distracted). So breathe, and give thanks.
L – Let go.
- The simplest and yet most difficult ritual, and also one of the most important. We collect so much negativity from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep: anger, regrets, disappointments, and insults real and imagined. Never stop making it your goal to release grievances, forgive, forget, and move forward.