By Scott Crossen
The elections are over (a huge collective sigh of relief is heard across the country) and now our attention turns to dealing with the more pressing concerns in our lives. Since my last related article appeared (Taking on Turbulent Times), in the Oct. 16 issue of the Recorder, I’ve been encouraged by several readers to write more on specific techniques for relieving stress. Given the on-going state of affairs in our world and lives, the need arises for finding effective ways for handling stress. The good news is there are easy ways to do so.
Beginning with diet, breakfast is one of the most important, yet often overlooked, meals of the day. Most people I talk with either don’t eat breakfast or eat an unhealthy breakfast (pastries, sweet cereals, sausage). When I train people in sports I begin by asking participants what they had for breakfast. The answers vary, but with few exceptions, the people who eat wholesome and healthy breakfasts, physically and mentally out perform those that didn’t. This isn’t a surprise. When you start your day with a nutritious meal you lay the groundwork for a day of proper brain and body function resulting in better physical and mental performance, including better moods.
“I can’t believe how much better I feel when I start with a good breakfast.” said Jackie Nelson of Berthoud, a class participant. “A good breakfast keeps me feeling so much better and focused on what I have to do for the rest of the day.”
Other class participants agreed. “There’s no doubt that eating the right type of breakfast, has dramatically changed the way I feel physically and emotionally throughout the day” said, Mary Ifft, of Longmont. “When I used to skip breakfast, I’d feel lousy most of the time and it was tough to concentrate. Now, when I eat right, I’m much more even minded, with a lot more energy.”
Lunch and dinner are important, too, but in progressively smaller amounts. However, if your habit is to eat fast foods, like hamburgers and French fries, you won’t feel or perform as well as you would if you ate organic meats, fruits, green vegetables, and grains. Our bodies and minds do best when they are balanced with the right combination of foods.
Food is the fuel of the body and mind. It determines to a great degree how well we function and subsequently feel about life. Everyone has heard the adage “Garbage In- Garbage Out” relating to computers. The same holds true for our brains and our bodies, which are not unlike computers.
There are other steps that help in dealing effectively with the stresses of life. One is found in temporarily diverting attention from the trying matter and simple exercise is one of the best methods available. A person doesn’t have to be in good shape to get started. If things get too pressing, get up and walk, while breathing slowly and deeply – even if it’s just around the building. When a person engages in any form of exercise, energy is redirected in the mind and body and is taken away from the issue. You might be surprised how much better you feel, afterwards. It will then be easier to place your attention on solving the problem rather than feeling stressed.
Scott Crossen is the founder of the AMEND Life Program, a small business consultant, personal trainer, health counselor, coach, composer, journalist and is writing his first book on achieving full-body health.