5 Hot August Tips To Keep You Cool Under Stress

It's August, it's hot and time to relax. Maybe you just got back from vacation or your mind is on back to school, so here's how to banish the late summer blues with these five tips.

1. Measure Your Stress Levels

In order to relax, you must know just how much stress your body has accumulated, and whether you're recovering fully from any stressful event in your life – this can be as little as sitting in traffic. The good news is you can measure this.

While you can describe some stress symptoms like too much fat around your mid-section, lack of sleep, or little memory hiccups, you must have straightforward, factual information about your hormone levels so you can do something about it.

Identify which hormones are in your bloodstream and how much.

One thing you want to know immediately is if you have chronic stress. Measuring your hormones will tell you. For example, cortisol, known as the stress hormone, is secreted from the adrenal glands. If your adrenals are working overtime, you'll be chronically stressed and simply won't be able to relax well enough to stop the damage.

Cortisol is responsible for regulating your blood pressure, immune function, proper glucose metabolism, inflammation response, and insulin release to stabilize your blood sugar.

Want to know whether you should test your hormones?  Ask yourself, Am I feeling fat around my mid-section? Do I feel like I don't get enough sleep or is my sleep disrupted? Am I really at the top of my game?

Too much cortisol can adversely your brain function, particularly memory and sleep. If your midsection seems to have fat levels you don't like, you're worried about bone density or cognitive function you definitely want to check your hormone levels.

Purchase our AdvancedPlus Hormone Profile to test your thyroid, adrenal and reproductive glands. State of the Art  testing at the lowest prices.

2. Journal

Writing in a daily journal is known to reduce stress dramatically. When you write, it almost feels as if you're checking your stressful feelings at the door.

Buy a nice looking journal that you'll be happy to write in. Get up just 10 minutes earlier each morning, and write what you're grateful for and how you'd like your day to go. If you have any left over feelings from yesterday, write them down too.  Write as if you're talking to yourself or even to someone else.

From time to time, read over some of your journal entries to see if you feel calmer from this exercise.

3. Meditate

Meditation is thousands of years old and well known for its abilities to lower your blood pressure and help you relax. Medical journals cite thousands of studies where meditation influenced overall health and well-being.

Sit in a quiet room where you won't be disturbed - maybe on your bed with a pillow behind you so you're sitting nearly straight up.  Place your arms out with palms facing upward and rest them on your legs or any way you are comfortable. 

Close your eyes, take several slow, deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling.  Start with your neck and notice any place you need to relax your body.  Inhale and exhale slowly and continue this for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Some people like to focus on just one word as they inhale and exhale, so do whatever is comfortable for you.  Remember the old standby word, "OM" if you like. It means the essence of the entire universe and is also known as a mantra used in yoga which is a great way to slow down your breathing, calming your whole nervous system.

4. Practice Yoga

Yoga is the practice of mental and physical exercises designed to unite you with the divine.  It is not a religion but a way of living with peace balance and health.

There are lots of ways to learn yoga and it's also a great exercise to do during and after pregnancy to balance your mind and body. Yoga has many long stretches and poses with unique names like downward facing dog.

You can look online for yoga DVD's.  Alternatively, look in your local video store and in your community for yoga instructors. They usually offer indivudal classes as well as at health clubs or gyms.

5. Listen to Music

Music is purported to relax, energize, confuse, and make you smarter. Therefore, it makes sense, if you want to relax, to listen to uncluttered music like Mozart. One study at UCLA says Mozart does influence the molecular structure of your brain and can help your spatial reasoning.

I like music called The Mozart Effect and listen to the calming pieces.

There are lots more things you can do to relax like walking, guided imagery, painting, and hiking. Ask yourself what makes you feel the calmest so you can truly enjoy not only your summer, but the rest of the seasons as well.

Remember to measure your hormone levels so you will know how stress is affecting your body and your mind.

You will be less stressed!

Lynn Larkin

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The Canary Club is an educational advisory group with a team of medical advisors headed by Richard Shames, M.D.