Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Health 411- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!


There are days when I work myself into a complete tizzy because my dry cleaning wasn’t ready when promised, I woke up- it’s 17 degrees outside and the hot water isn’t working or (DC folks can relate) I’m running close to half an hour behind due to painfully slow traffic!  Before I know it, my head is throbbing! All because I allowed small setbacks to stress me out.  Stress is proven to have a detrimental impact on your health.  Although there isn’t a clear link between Heart Disease and stress, chronic stress can contribute to an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure which in the long run, can damage your artery walls. It is extremely important that we all learn how to manage our stress levels. 
I’m not a doctor, but over the years I’ve learned some helpful techniques for dealing with stress. Some through trial and error- others, through good old fashioned advice.  Here are my top 3.
  1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!-  My mom taught me this one.  There is no point in getting upset over small things (i.e. dry cleaning!) many of which are beyond your control.  Your being upset doesn’t change the fact that it happened or is not going to happen.  Save your stress for when it really matters- small setbacks happen everyday and if you get stressed out every time something happens, you’ll spend your life in a state of chronic stress!  When I feel myself getting upset, I stop and ask, “Is it really that serious?”  Usually the answer is no.
  2. Go outside and play!-  When I get super stressed, I go outside for a walk.  Fresh air and sunshine works miracles! Sometimes you need a moment to decompress and even a 5 minute walk helps me calm down.  It steadies my breathing and releases the tension in my body.  If I have more time on my hands, I go to a park (I love Rock Creek Park in DC) and I spend some time hanging with the deer.   Just don’t get too close or you’ll have another stressful situation on your hands!
  3. Meditate-  At least once a week I carve out an hour for spiritual meditation. It helps me clear my head and order my thoughts.  In situations in which I feel my stress level rising, I stop what I’m doing and give myself a few moments of deep breathing and silence.  In my opinion, the power of a taking a deep breath can’t be overstated. 
Go Red!
Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

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