Here’s a philosophy from the famous Jim Rohn that helped change my life.
“It’s not what happens that determines your life’s future. It’s what you do about what happens.
All of us are in like a little sailboat, and it’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination. It’s the set of the sail. The same wind blows on us all. The wind of disaster, the wind of opportunity, the wind of change, the wind when it’s upside down, the wind when it’s favorable and unfavorable.The same wind blows on us all. The economic wind, the social wind, the political wind. The same wind blows on everybody. The difference in where you arrive in one year, three years, five years, the difference in arrival is not the blowing of the wind but the set of the sail."
I know modern life can be stressful especially when you’re a working mum, looking after someone ill, in a challenging relationship or striving for a career. What I learned from my life, patients and peers is sometimes we are unable to remove the stress (even though we try) so the only way to get through it is to change the way we deal with it. Research have shown it is our perception of stress and how we deal with things that determine our health, mind and longevity.
This week’s blog, I would like to share with you 5 new and unconventional ways to de-stress, tame your cortisol levels (also known as the stress hormone), stay productive, happy and youthful. In no particular order.....
1. Filter Blue Lights for Better Sleep
Research have shown sleeping between 7-9 hours per night can relieve stress, reduce risk of chronic diseases, improve memory and cognitive function (you become smarter), have more energy, feel happier, stay younger and even help with weight loss. Good sleep allows the proper secretion of growth hormones and melatonin at night which are both anti-aging and repairing.
One of the reasons for poor sleep is our excessive use of communications technology (e.g. our mobile phones, televisions, ipads or laptops). Apart from keeping our minds busy, even whenwe’re not “using” it, the light emitted by these devices suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the important hormone that helps us go to sleep and stay sleeping well. When our sleep is disrupted, our bodies are unable to repair properly from the day’s assault of stress so the damage accumulates and we start to feel achy, ill, foggy and old.
Research have shown that it is the short-wavelength or “blue” light which is the melatonin-suppressive. This is found mainly from televisions, mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Here are some helpful tips to reduce your blue-light exposure and get some much needed ZZZ!
- Adopt a Digital Curfew i.e. no use electronic devices after 8pm (7pm is better but 8pm will do.)
- Keep all electronic devices OUT OF the bedroom
- Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible - think thick light-blocking curtains, covering the lights from alarm clocks and chargers.
- To reduce the blue-light exposure while you’re using your electronic devices throughout the day (and avoid disrupting the secretion of melatonin later at night), you can choose from:-
- Getting Blue Blocking Screens which is a special clear sheet which you stick on the device screen.
- Download F.Lux, a software that makes the colour of your computer’s display adapt to the time of the day.
- If you like something more funky, you can purchase amber-lensed goggles from Amazon
2. Practice Happify Games daily for a Happier life.
I’m part of an international peer group where doctors, practitioners and coaches learn from each other the latest research and tools on how best to balance hormones and live happy and well.
This was shared by a fellow integrative anti-aging doctor, Dr Cynthia Shelby-Lane who’s also a comedian and competitive dancer.
You know me - being from Asia and ex-surgeon, sometimes doing the happy stuff can be a bit woo-woo but I know it works because you feel so much better afterwards. Now there is science and research explaining the woo-woo stuff that we used to doubt.
Check out Happify, a collective lab that translate the latest cutting-edge research into fun and interactive activities and games that help you build your happiness skills and form life-changing habits. Optimisim, self-confidence, gratitude, hope, compassion, purpose, empathy - these are qualities that anyone can own.
I just signed up so will be interesting to see what games they will get me to play or practice. I am using this as an excuse to be a kid and play more :).
3. Download HeartMath or GPS for the soul
HeartMath® is a scientifically validated system of techniques and technologies that helps you to transform your stress, build your resilience and boost your performance.
Their innovative emWave® and Inner Balance™ feedback technologies give you real-time insight into your emotional, mental and physical state and help you develop the ability to self-regulate.
This has been used for patients with post-traumatic stress disorders, heart patients and high-performance executives.
The aim is to learn to be in tune with our bodies more, less in our heads and follow our gut instinct (because our women’s instinct knows best) and live a happy life.
If you’re like me and prefer something simpler, you can download for free GPS for the Soul, created by the Huffington Post. The app allows you to measure your breathing and heart rate variability and create your own de-stress guide. If it’s good enough for the Huffington Post, it’s definitely good enough for me.
These are just some of the new and unconventional ways to de-stress that I have found and wanted to share with you. Of course, we must not forget the simple things e.g. gratitude, good food, good movement, good company, good sex and good thoughts. It all has a role to play. The important thing is find a few that works for you and stick with it. Don’t try to do too much “de-stressing” activities.... that in itself is stressful on it’s own.
And if all fails, this video should do the trick! It has never failed me so far :)
I hope you find this week’s blog useful.
Over to you...Which of these new practices would you take on? What other strategies do you have to de-stress, tame your cortisol levels, remain productive, happy and youthful?
Until next blog, have a wonderful happy weekend :)