5 Ways to Stress Less & Be Good to Your Heart

Lulu and her dog

My heart belongs to Clyde!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and whether or not you like all the fuss about flowers, chocolates and romantic gestures, this is a perfect time for all of us to think about our hearts.  This Valentine’s Day I’m happy to say I have ‘someone special’ in my life…ME!  And my Valentine to myself is a pledge to stress less and be good to my heart.

In his book “You Staying Young, The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty”, Dr. Oz acknowledges that stress is good…or at least ‘was’ good at one time, in the lives of humans.  Our primeval ancestors needed stress to deal with impending threats to their survival.  But in today’s hectic, pressure-filled world, it’s stress that has become a threat to our survival!  Stress can lead anxiety, depression, high blood-pressure, high cholesterol, a weakened immune system and the list goes on…all of these things are bad for our hearts and at the root of ageing.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  I recently shared how I nearly ruined every New Year’s Eve for the last few years because of the stress I’d put myself under to have a grand time!  In his book Dr. Oz stresses the importance of getting stress in check.  These are five proven ways to stress less and be good to your heart!

1) Yoga – I have been practising yoga for a the last 20 years and can speak from experience that yoga works when it comes to stress.  It’s all about insight and tranquility and has benefits that are both physical and mental.  Whenever I start to feel stress creeping up on me, I make time for yoga.

2) Accept Imperfection! – Constantly striving for perfection is bound to result in some serious pressure and disappointment.  But remember, it’s not a reflection on you when things don’t go perfectly.  We’re human and we’re going to make mistakes so the best thing to do is accept imperfection.  The bumps in the road are some of the most human moments on our journeys through life, so try to let go a bit and take one thing at a time.  It’s not always easy, but if we remind ourselves of this, over time we’ll learn to stress less over the things we can’t control.

3) Try a Relaxation Technique – Sometimes something as simple as taking a deep breath can do wonders in a stressful situation.  Deep breathing is an essential part of yoga so this is one that works for me, but there are many relaxation techniques that can help diffuse stress.

4) Pets & Plants – It is a widely accepted truth that being around pets and plants are good for our health!  I personally can relate to and attest to this.  My dog Clyde helps me put stress aside.  Cuddling or interacting with a pet reduces stress.  And even when I am feeling distracted, he gets me out of the house for a walk.  I can clear my head, gather my thoughts and just take time to appreciate the simple things…I guess that’s why they call it a dog’s life!

5) Do What You Want! – A lot of us bring a lot of stress upon ourselves by never saying no and trying to make everyone else happy!  And inevitably we are left stressed out and miserable!  So, the simple solution is to say no every once in awhile and do only the things we want to do.  This is often easier said than done, but it’s a pretty simple way to avoid stress.

The next time you’re feeling stressed-out, remember these tips and find a way to relax.  Your heart will thank you!  Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

xx Lu

What are your ‘stress less’ techniques?  If you have your own tips, please share them in the comment section.

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