Even if you eat perfectly prepared heart-healthy meals and exercise there may be one more thing you can do ... if your numbers are being stubborn and meds look like the only way to the cholesterol safe zone ask yourself this question ... is it what you eat or what’s eating you that is causing the trouble? Stress plays havoc on our bodies in many, many ways including blocking efforts to reduce your high cholesterol. So what is one to do? Your job may be stressful, your marriage, your kids, your money, your life! And now you have to worry about keeping stress at a minimum ... really? Popping a pill and hoping for the best (and no side effects) looks better all the time, right? Well ... that is an option and one taken by many people. Some don’t experience side effects, some do. Some have success, some don’t. Let’s look at some pretty easy ways to reduce whatever stress your facing.
Now assuming you are already eating heart-healthy I don’t have to talk about that - read previous blogs for ideas, if you need to. I don’t have to talk about exercise - again, previous posts will answer many questions about exercise. Stress! Let’s manage stress together. Personally, I have a serious stress in my life and rather than try to blame it on someone else, I will say that I bring on my stresses all by myself. I over work, I over volunteer, I over manage, I just plain overdo. I could talk myself into believing I’m doing everything I do for the right reasons, but if the things I love stress me out ... and yes, you can stress about good things, too ... what am I to do?
Deciding what you need to release some stresses in your life is personal ... you can opt to back off a little on projects you just can’t fit in, you can excuse yourself from a committee you signed up to do, or you can skip whatever you feel is best. I tried that, but I love all of what I do, including this blog, so I opted to continue working, volunteering, managing, and overdoing, but also opted to focus on some ways to relax a bit. OK, I’ll share .............
Breathe. Not just the quick breath, but a deep cleansing breath ... one that in its own little way energizes you and helps you to see more clearly. Go ahead ... take another one, let your shoulders drop gently ... they were up by your ears weren’t they? Mine were.
Stretch. If you are not ‘into’ yoga, allow me, please, to share some quick moves that will loosen some of the tension you may be feeling - and this is great for men and women ... and even children can benefit!
Standing tall with your feet either together or shoulder-width apart, shoulders back, pelvic floor tucked forward, head up, abs taut ... bring your hands together in a prayer-like position at the chest or heart-center, as it's called in the yoga world. A little hint, here ... if you spread your toes wide making sure each little piggie has contact with the floor you can balance a bit better. Close your eyes. Breathe ... slowly, deeply ... again .... again ... again ... and again. Now raise your hands over your head letting them move apart. Stretch. Hold it. Breathe. Return to the first position with your hands at your chest. Repeat. You can also from the hands extended position, lean over putting your hands on the floor (or as close as you can get to the floor) and breathe, letting your head and shoulders relax. This is a variation of sun salutation.
Tree pose is another good one, as is the warrior pose. I’ll put a link at the end of this if you’d like to see how they’re done.
Bottom line? If something’s eating at you ... face it, embrace it, or dismiss it. Your heart will thank you.
Here is a series of yoga poses ... if you need to modify one ... that's just fine ... the important part is breathing. Never push yourself if you feel pain ... relax and enjoy each pose. Click HERE.
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.