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6 Ways to Beat The Stress Hormone

6 Ways to Beat The Stress Hormone

Cortisol is a hormone released by your body in response to fear, stress or anxiety. This hormone is associated with a variety of negative health effects. Depression, memory loss, heart disease and obesity are all conditions that are connected to an increased level of this hormone. Although reducing stress is often easier said than done, there are many specific things that you can do to lower your body’s amount of cortisol.

1. Start Exercising

Exercise lowers your body’s amount of cortisol in a number of ways. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood and cause you to feel happy. While you feel this way, any feelings of stress will fade into the back of your mind. As a regular exercise program improves your health and appearance, you’ll probably also feel more confident in general. Confidence decreases the feelings of fear and stress that causes your body to release cortisol.

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2. Practice Meditation

Meditation is another practice that helps to decrease your cortisol levels for many reasons. If there is a specific reason why you are experiencing stress, meditation is a way to directly address this issue so that you can understand it on a deeper level and realize that it is not worth all of the negative emotions that it is causing you to experience.

Some forms of meditation also focus on creating a state of mental calmness and physical relaxation that helps to promote positive feelings throughout the day which will decrease the amount of cortisol in your body.

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3. Listen to Music

Studies have shown that listening to music has an effect on your body chemistry. You don’t necessarily have to listen to ambient, relaxing music to reduce cortisol, either. Although listening to something calming will promote a mellow state of mind, any music that you enjoy listening to has the power to improve your mood and lower the harmful levels of cortisol in your body.

4. Go Fishing

Activities such as fishing and boating are ideal to fight stress, because they separate you from your daily routine, both physically and mentally. Fishing provides an escape from your routine and gives you the time to meditate on your problems and search for peace in natural surroundings. Going on a fishing trip is also an opportunity to end the day with a good catch that is rich both in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are feeling tense. Short of ideas on how to prepare and cook your catch? Try these healthy fish recipes.

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5. Practice Yoga

The benefits of yoga are many and varied, from reducing stress to weight loss, to increasing flexibility. Many of the techniques that are used in yoga are also used in stress management. This makes yoga one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and fatigue. The combination of breathing exercises, stretching techniques, meditation, and mental imagery helps to make yoga a wonderful way to combat stress and enhance psychological well-being.

6. Eat a Healthy Diet

As with most of the issues that have to do with body chemistry, a diet that’s high in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and fish can help reduce the levels of cortisol.

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You should also aim to reduce your intake of sugar, caffeine, and processed carbohydrates as they can promote stress and anxiety.

High levels of cortisol can have dire effects on your overall health. You can reduce the amount of this hormone in your body by following these simple lifestyle changes. Taking control of your stress levels ensures that you will have a happier, healthier life.

Featured photo credit: fotosearch via fscomps.fotosearch.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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