Stress is a major cause of illness in the USA. How to relieve stress has become a big challenge in our lives. Over 50% of all of the drugs prescribed today are anti-depressants. This alone should give us a clue.
Short term stress is good when we need it to defend ourselves. Other forms of continued stress will make you sick if you don't have a remedy to get rid of it. Let's explore some of the reasons for stress and then review some possible solutions on how to relieve stress.
The basic definition of stress: "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances." Here are a few examples of stress that Dr. Theodore A. Baroody brings out in his book "Alkalize or Die", starting with the most intense to the least intense values:
When the body remains acid too long, sickness follows. We now need to find ways on how to relieve stress and also manage it. Review "The pH Balance in the body". See if you are stressed.
I have found that if we don't keep plans simple and easy to accomplish, they will not happen. If you live an active life to 100 years or more, you must be doing something right that keeps stress manageable.
The list below comes from the areas in the world that have the most centenarians or those who reach the age of 100. These areas which include Okinawa, Sardinia, Ikaria, Loma Linda (California), and Nicoya peninsula (Costa Rica) have nine common denominators. Their methods are natural remedies on how to relieve stress, and they also live on a basic plant based diet.
1. Move Naturally
In the centenarian's world people don't lift weights, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in places that constantly push them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don't have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
"Why do I wake up in the morning?" If you know your sense of purpose, it can be worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
3. Down Shift
What the world's longest living people have that we don't, are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour, and Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda pray.
4. 80% Rule
People in these zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don't eat any more the rest of the day. The Okinawans stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. This comes from an ancient Confucian mantra that keeps them trim and healthy.
5. Plant Slant
Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarians. Their diets are basically plant-based. Meat, if it is consumed at all, is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.
6. Wine at 5
Most people in these areas drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Happy hour becomes stress-management. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to have 1-2 glasses per day with friends and/or with food. And no, you can't save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
Almost all of the people in these areas belong to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn't seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy. This really reduces stress.
8. Loved Ones First
Successful centenarians put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (it lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.) They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love.
9. Right Tribe
Most centenarians came into a world that has social circles that support healthy behavior. Studies show that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors. Hang out with groups or individuals that support healthy living and avoid a negative lifestyle. These centenarians didn't plan to live a long life - it just happened because of their lifestyle.
Watch this short video of Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, a 100 year old cardiothoracic surgeon, explains his longevity and stress control. Dr. Wareham has been plant based most of his life. Watch now.
Now, it is time to practice on how to relieve stress.