#40 Christa Orecchio
Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Counselor, Founder Of The Whole Journey
Our energy level, digestive wellness, and state of mind can be dramatically, positively or negatively, affected by our breathing. Slow, deep breathing helps to alkalize the body while activating the parasympathetic nervous system which gives the body a chance to recuperate, regenerate, and heal. Incorporate five minutes of deep breathing a day, and you will surely experience tremendous benefits.
When you watch a baby breathe, the whole belly expands and contracts. As we age, we tend to breathe more from our chest, resulting in shorter, shallower breaths. As you concentrate on “breathing from your belly,” you will bring more oxygen into your lungs and throughout your body. You will feel more focused and centered. The beauty of these techniques is that you can do them anywhere – in the car, in the middle of a meeting, before a big event, etc. They do not require special equipment, and you don’t even have to close your eyes once you have learned the techniques.
#41 Megan Bruneau
Registered Clinical Counsellor And Blogger
As a mental health professional, I often get stressed about being stressed. I worry about the effect it’ll have on my health, and call myself a hypocrite for “not coping properly” So how do I deal with stress when it comes? I do the following:
First, I practice empathy and compassion toward myself. For example, “Megan, you’re feeling stressed out right now and that’s OK. You’ve got a lot going on, and stress is an inevitable part of life–it means you care about something.”
Then, I look at my expectations vs my reality. If my expectations exceed my reality, I see if there’s a way I can lessen the gap. This might require lowering my expectations, getting sh*t done, or a little bit of both. For example, let’s say I’m stressed about the three articles I have due that day, have to pack to go out of town for the weekend, and am supposed to attend a friend’s birthday celebration that night. I could either a) complete all tasks (which is unlikely) so my reality meets my expectations, b) choose not to do one or some of the tasks, so my expectations are lowered to a more manageable reality, or c) pack my essentials, knowing I’ll probably forget a couple of things, work on one of the articles and ask for an extension on the others, and pop by my friend’s birthday for an hour (or any combination of those two) to lesson the expectation-reality stress gap.
Next, I ask myself what’s in my control and what’s out of my control. Much of the time we stress about things that are out of our control (e.g. earthquakes, ending up alone, being judged by others), and it’s exhausting. Ask yourself what’s in your control and what’s out of your control. If what you’re stressing about is out of your control, try to let go and sit in that uncertainty with compassion.
Then, I ask myself “What’s the worst that’s going to happen?” Often we create a catastrophe in our minds about what might happen if we don’t get into the program/complete the project/lose the weight/pay the bill/etc. Rarely do we actually play out the likely scenarios. Yes, maybe you’ll have to reapply. Maybe you get reprimanded by your boss. Maybe you won’t fit into the dress you were hoping to wear to the wedding. But can you live with that? Often there’s more stress around the unknown than the known, so play out the scenarios and you might find they’re actually less catastrophic than you previously believed.
Finally, I practice mindfulness. I focus on my breath, the sights around me, a mantra like “Anicca” (impermanence), or do a few sun salutations. I ensure I practice non-judgment and compassion while doing so. All the while, I remind myself that reality is subjective, I have the freedom to spend mine how I choose, and I give myself permission to be in the moment. Personally, I find these strategies helpful in changing transforming debilitating stress into more productive stress
#42 Dana Claudat
Modern Feng Shui Master, Designer, Art & Wellness Curator
When I am overwhelmed or over-scheduled, you will find me cleaning my house. Dusting, mopping and washing the windows is one of my automatic ways to get more focus. Its like active meditation. On the subject of meditation, my Buddhist practice of chanting is what I increase as my stress increases! It seems like a paradox, but one of the ways I unwind is to elevate the energy of the day out of a place of stress and into excitement.
On a holistic level, drinking powdered magnesium (a teaspoon of Natural Calm in a cup of hot water) has been my never-fail physical stress soother, along with green smoothies (I drink blended kale, collard or spinach with fruit for extra nutrient energy). I take lots of salt baths (sea salt, pink salt and my classic Epsom salt in a hot tub filled with water and a teaspoon of vitamin c crystals to dissipate the chlorine in the water), and also break out my journal when I realize its time to dispel the toxic ideas and body by-products of stress.
And, sleep is my ultimate end to stress. When I am having a “day” I typically go to bed very early rather than forcing myself through a hard time. I let my mind sort things out in its “repair cycle” of sleep and burn a little incense before bed to create a sense of dreaminess to let my mind wander to a space where solutions and opportunity tend to be waiting in the morning.
#43 Diane Sanfilippo
Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Best Selling Author, Holistic Lifestyle Coach
You don’t have to let stress overwhelm you. You can be proactive by avoiding toxic situations, people, dietary choices, and other stressors that you have control over. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit with these easy tips:
- Eat real food—quality proteins and fats with a variety of organic fruits and vegetables; starch as needed for pre/post workout energy and recovery. Avoid nutrient poor refined foods and beverages. Drink pure water.
- Include stress supporting nutrients:
Vitamin C – Citrus, strawberries, kiwi, cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B Complex– Liver, meat, seafood (wild/pasture raised, grass-fed sources), seeds, mushrooms.
Magnesium – Green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds/tahini, and salmon.
Omega 3 EFAs – Fatty cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, etc.) and/or Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil.
- Season with mineral rich sea salt — supporting your adrenal glands.
- Prioritize sleep — allowing your body to rest, restore, and detoxify optimally.
- Avoid over-training — balance workouts with restorative exercises such as Qigong, meditation, walking, and yoga.
- Use non-toxic personal care, cookware, and cleaning products.
- Keep a gratitude list.
- Always plan for new adventures!
#44 Susie Mantell
Award-Winning Stress Relief Expert, Bestselling Author
Here are 3 stress relief tips, and reasons why each is beneficial:
- Overworked? Overwhelmed? Shift Gears! Take a brisk walk outdoors. Smile at six people along the way. Clear your desk, and work for thirty minute intervals with five minute breaks to walk, stretch and socialize.
Why? Isolation is a close companion to “The Blahhs.” Fresh air, movement, and cheerful interaction are like essential daily nutrients to the spirit. So is smiling. External clutter can increase internal stress.
- Stress Got You Down? Choose healthy foods, beverages… and relationships. Consider your sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake. Keep a water bottle nearby to stay hydrated. Talk with your physician, and make fun plans with friends.
Why? Many foods, medications and conditions can influence mood and concentration. Dehydration can too. Supportive conversation, shared experiences, and laughter can all lift a weary spirit.
- Sleepless in… Wherever?
Practice Mindfulness: Clear your head with mini-meditations for example, “I exhale worries, responsibilities and mental chatter, inhaling deep comfort and profound peace.” Make someone else happy. Count blessings.
Why? Internal self-talk has great power. Pausing in-the-moment, the body-mind releases in the open space. Creating happiness for others has a way of, well… making us happy too!
#45 Marcelle Pick
OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, Speaker, Author, And Co-Founder Of Women To Women
- Put a few Post-it notes around your home and work space that remind you to just breathe. Try putting one on the receiver of every phone and by your computer.
- Once a day – or even once a week – step outside and take five deep breaths.
- Write yourself a prescription to say “No.” Use it the next time someone asks you to do something you’d really rather not do. Imagine that I, your health-care practitioner, or someone else concerned with your well-being, has prescribed this “No” for you – and then use the time to do something that makes you happy.
- If you find it difficult to prepare healthy food for yourself, consider picking up your dinner at the grocery store (many places have prepared-food counters) or even having a local caterer deliver your meals. However, be mindful of where you shop, since so many prepared foods are overloaded with salt, sugar, unhealthy fats, additives, and artificial ingredients.
- Take a page from the book of Norman Cousins, the American journalist who healed his cancer by watching funny movies, and give yourself time to do something that makes you laugh out loud.
- Whether or not you are traditionally religious, offer up a prayer of gratitude for being alive right now. Take a deep breath; hold it a moment, then exhale. Do it a second time, giving thanks for the ability to breathe in and out, having the breath of life.
- Make some quiet time for yourself – time free from busyness – to get in touch with your spiritual side. You might attend a formal religious event, sit quietly in a peaceful place, or read an inspiring passage or poem. Whether or not you are traditionally religious, you will benefit from taking some time to consider the deeper meaning of your life, rather than simply rushing from task to task. Remember that any internal response is what I call an ‘inside job’. Is the the thought process that you have, the physical response and the dwelling over and over, none of which will change the outcome. Everyone has struggles and stressors which show up – it is how we work with the response that makes the difference.
#46 Sheri Fogarty
Reiki Master, Spiritual Healer And Wellness Coach
As a Reiki Master and Spiritual Healer my technique for de-stressing involves clearing my energy body and raising my vibration. I believe that learning to raise the vibration of our chakras (wheels of light) can prevent the negative effects of stress and leave us feeling more energetic and at peace.
I begin by sitting on my meditation cushion and put on relaxation music. I light a candle and burn sage to cleanse my energy body and bring me into the present moment. With my spine straight and my body relaxed I place my hands gently on my lap.
I gently inhale and exhale through my nose. I allow whatever thoughts come to mind and gently dismiss them. My body naturally starts to relax and as this happens I become more aware of my inner self – my energy body.
I begin to visualize a ball of white light above the crown of my head. This ball of white light enters my crown chakra, slowly making its way down my body. As this ball of light merges with my energy body I begin to feel more and more relaxed. I continue to visualize this ball of light as it moves down each chakra. From the crown chakra to the third eye chakra, to the throat chakra to the heart chakra, to the solar plexus chakra, to the sacral chakra and then the root chakra.
As the ball of white light enters each chakra I become more aware of my energy body and I begin to sense the vibration of each chakra. As I become more aware of my energy body I feel instantly connected to the universe and feel a sensation of oneness and peace. I give thanks and slowly open my eyes. I realize that whatever caused me stress that day will now be looked at from a place of peace.
#47 Erin Olivo, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology, Author
Have you noticed that when you’re stressed out you stop doing things that make you feel good? When there’s no stress you meet friends for coffee, go to a yoga class, or take your dog for a morning walk. But the minute you find yourself stressed out by work or family issues, you feel crunched for time and stop doing these things. It’s a very common response but it actually exacerbates your stress. One of the easiest strategies for stress relief is to do something you love.
I teach my patients (and also practice) Wise Mind Living, an approach to life where you have the confidence and wisdom to deal with stressors because you’re living with awareness and balance. One way to do this is by paying attention to the choices you’re making about how you use your time. When you’re stressed out it’s easy to focus on the “shoulds” of life, and ignore the “wants.” So make a list of the things you want to do – things that you find fun or relaxing – and the next time you’re feeling stressed, make sure you’re doing at least one of these activities per week (or more if you can). Balancing the “wants” and “shoulds” in your life is key to living with less stress!
#48 Dawn Falcone
Design/Organizing Expert, Teaches Busy ‘Mompreneurs’ How To Curb The Clutter And Chaos
I’m a firm believer that clutter, whether its physical or mental, adds to stress levels in a big way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed-out, take a good look at your home. Are piles everywhere? Do you have unfinished projects staring you in the face? Take a deep breath in and exhale. Now start small (baby steps, Baby!).
Don’t think about organizing an entire room. Start with a drawer or desktop and slowly move on from there. Let go of anything broken or missing pieces. Say goodbye to things you haven’t used in more than 6 months. If it doesn’t make you feel good, let it go.
What about non-physical clutter? Is your weekly calendar or to-do list overloaded? Cross off anything that’s not a top priority. Delegate whatever you can, and learn to say no. Remember, saying no to others is saying yes to yourself. Reducing and removing all types of clutter will give you breathing room.
#49 Keri Brooks
Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Corporate Holistic Health Educator and Personal Trainer
Here are my 4 simple ways to reverse adrenal fatigue (AKA “Feel Like Crap Syndrome”):
- Eat Real Food. Processed foods, GMO’S , sugar, caffeine, and fake fats lead to chronic inflammation and nutritional deficiencies. When this happens, your adrenal function slows down resulting in exhaustion, poor sleep, weight loss resistance and increased irritability.
- Sleep MATTERS. One of the most taxing stressors on your adrenal glands is poor sleep or lack of sleep. Ideally, you should be in bed by 10pm and wake up by 6:30am. Practice good sleep hygiene by having a consistent wind down routine. I personally love to end the day with an Epson Salt bath which helps with muscle relaxation and deeper sleep.
- Stop skipping meals and overeating. Low and high blood sugar is a quick way to burn out your adrenals and shut down your metabolism. Try to schedule your meals every 3-4 hours and balance them with protein, fat and veggies.
- Breathe, laugh, do Yoga and have SEX. Mediation, restorative yoga and sex have all demonstrated huge benefits towards lower cortisol levels, and turning on your parasympathetic nervous system. The result: you feel relaxed and revitalized!
#50 Dr. Greg Emerson
Internationally Recognized Authority on Health, Vitality and Longevity
We are told that there is no such thing as a stressful situation. We are taught that it’s our interpretation of the situation that is stressful. We do personal development courses encouraging us to love ourselves more and to change the meaning of the events in our lives. We read books on stress suggesting we get leverage in our lives, unburdening our ever increasing workloads. We seek counsel from wise people who let us know that it is ok to walk away from parts of our lives. We take wonderful herbs like ginseng, repair our adrenal glands and practice meditation and yoga.
I have tried them all over the years. They have all helped. I am very grateful for the advice. I teach it. But over the years I realized that I was just scratching the surface. There was something deeper that was not directly palpable but lurked in the shadows like a wolf in the wild. Yet in the end it was the wolf that freed me.
My stress, our stress I realized, was that we had been removed from nature. We were from the wild but now living in a zoo. Separate any organism from its natural environment and it will be stressed. We were no longer living the life that we were designed for, eating the foods or drinking the water we evolved doing, we weren’t moving like we are designed to. We live in a zoo that is unnatural to us.
The greatest tools I have discovered to manage my stress is to move back into a life that I was more designed for. I have returned to the earth… where I live, how I eat, what I drink, how I move. My purpose in life has changed, and so with it, my ability to cope with stress.
#51 Ben Greenfield
Coach, Author, Podcaster, Blogger And Multi-Time Ironman Triathlete
Lately, as a tip I picked up from some Navy SEAL’s, I’ve become a big fan of a technique called “box breathing” for managing stress and also for preparing for situations that I know will be stressful. Here’s how it works: simply take a 4-8 count in, hold for 4-8 counts, exhale for 4-8 counts and hold that exhale for 4-8 counts (holding the exhale is the tricky part, and takes practice). There are even apps, such as the “Pranayama app” that let you keep on pace to chimes or music.
As crazy as it may sound, one of my favorite ways to destress is to go find some cold water like a lake or go find a hot place like a dry sauna, and just sit there in that environmental change-up for 15-30 minutes doing box breathing. I feel amazing afterwards, and I bet you will too!