It is no coincidence that February marks both American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day. Gillian Padgett, author of the new book Let Stress Heal Your Life, wants everyone to experience many more Valentine’s Days with their loved ones by following some simple tips.
Padgett, who has spent more than 25 years specializing in stress relief and mastery, says people need to recognize what happens to their bodies when they experience stress: their blood thickens, cholesterol is created and cortisol and adrenalin are activated. Unfortunately, she says, many people react to stress by further injuring themselves by smoking, drinking and overdoing it with comfort foods.
Padgett says there are four areas we can tap to relieve stress, build resilience and create a healthier heart. The body, mind, emotions and spirit must all come into play. For example, she advises that people:
- Harness the power of their mind to realize that they can handle most stress, knowing that it will pass.
- Breathe gently, deeply and slowly to break the stress response.
- Stroke a cat, dog, rabbit or pony to slow their heart rate.
- Be still in nature, play like a little child, allow time to do nothing and meditate.
- Have more compassion for themselves and others.