Ditching Stress: Body-Based Happiness

A major player in unhappiness is stress, which from a body-chemistry standpoint, means elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Our modern lifestyles tend to impose a steady, undesirable level of constant/ baseline stress on our systems. Even if we have not been through one of the major stressors in life recently (marriage, childbirth, divorce, buying/ selling a home, etc.), most of us maintain a high cortisol burden. When we live in a city, drive in cars, raise kids with busy schedules, and have to keep on top of our own careers, it can be quite difficult to reduce our stress burden. Therefore, it can put quite a damper on happiness.

See ALSO: Be Kind to the People You Love

The next best thing to moving to a tropical island and forgetting all our burdens is to mitigate the effects of stress in our bodies. As our mindfulness coaches may tell us, there is great benefit to the practice of being present in the here and now. This means staying in the present moment and abstaining from troubling thoughts of the past and the future, or getting stuck on things you should have done and things you have still to do. By staying in the present moment you will keep your nervous system calm and keep your stress hormones down. In other words, staying in the present moment can lead to a decrease in stress, and therefore an increase in happiness.

What else can you do to decrease your stress level every day, and therefore be contributing to your overall happiness?

 

  • Eat regular meals, especially healthy proteins for breakfast everyday: By eating regularly you keep your cortisol (stress hormone) levels in balance. When you skip a meal, your body has to go into overdrive to maintain your current level of activity, which literally stresses your system.
  • Take a B complex and magnesium supplement: B Vitamins are heavily used by the adrenal glands and the nervous system, as is magnesium. Our soils are generally depleted in magnesium so most of us need a little extra magnesium on a regular basis. Look for the methylated forms of B Vitamins and look for magnesium glycinate, as these are the most readily absorbed by your body. If you have a particular health concern that might benefit from magnesium supplementation please consult me or a your own local naturopathic doctor to learn more about which form you specifically need.
  • Getting to sleep early (yes, when I put my son down at 8pm on some days!)
  • Orgasm—oxytocin release lowers cortisol levels. In both genders, high levels of oxytocin are correlated with a parasympathetic state of calm, decreased blood pressure, increased pain threshold, and reduced incidence of depression. Note: you can have an oxytocin release even if you are having an orgasm without a partner!
  • Cuddling with humans or pets—again, oxytocin release.
  • High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT)—a muscle building, metabolism boosting form of exercise
  • Sleep support:
    • Dark bedroom, eye mask, earplugs
    • No electronics 1 hour before bed
    • Regular and consistent sleep schedule (awake and to bed within the same hour everyday)

 

Taking care of your stress levels and stress management will help you on your quest for happiness. There is also more available through naturopathic medicine than what is outlined here. To create a full plan that will specifically meet your lifestyle and genetic needs, feel free to consult with me at Dr.JeannieN.D.@HappinessExperts.ca

 

Dr. Jeannie, ND  2016

 

*Dr. Jeannie Achuff, is a practicing Naturopathic Physician with active practices in both California and British Columbia. She is a Happiness Expert. Note that medical advice provided herein with Dr. Jeannie does not replace or supplant the clinical advice that you get from your family physician(s). 
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.The Site and the Content are provided on an "as is" basis.

 

What Other People are Saying

A major player in unhappiness is stress, which from a body-chemistry standpoint, means elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Our modern lifestyles tend to impose a steady, undesirable level of constant/ baseline stress on our systems. Even if we have not been through one of the major stressors in life recently (marriage, childbirth, divorce, buying/ selling a home, etc.), most of us maintain a high cortisol burden. When we live in a city, drive in cars, raise kids with busy schedules, and have to keep on top of our own careers, it can be quite difficult to reduce our stress burden. Therefore, it can put quite a damper on happiness.

See ALSO: Be Kind to the People You Love

The next best thing to moving to a tropical island and forgetting all our burdens is to mitigate the effects of stress in our bodies. As our mindfulness coaches may tell us, there is great benefit to the practice of being present in the here and now. This means staying in the present moment and abstaining from troubling thoughts of the past and the future, or getting stuck on things you should have done and things you have still to do. By staying in the present moment you will keep your nervous system calm and keep your stress hormones down. In other words, staying in the present moment can lead to a decrease in stress, and therefore an increase in happiness.

What else can you do to decrease your stress level every day, and therefore be contributing to your overall happiness?

 

  • Eat regular meals, especially healthy proteins for breakfast everyday: By eating regularly you keep your cortisol (stress hormone) levels in balance. When you skip a meal, your body has to go into overdrive to maintain your current level of activity, which literally stresses your system.
  • Take a B complex and magnesium supplement: B Vitamins are heavily used by the adrenal glands and the nervous system, as is magnesium. Our soils are generally depleted in magnesium so most of us need a little extra magnesium on a regular basis. Look for the methylated forms of B Vitamins and look for magnesium glycinate, as these are the most readily absorbed by your body. If you have a particular health concern that might benefit from magnesium supplementation please consult me or a your own local naturopathic doctor to learn more about which form you specifically need.
  • Getting to sleep early (yes, when I put my son down at 8pm on some days!)
  • Orgasm—oxytocin release lowers cortisol levels. In both genders, high levels of oxytocin are correlated with a parasympathetic state of calm, decreased blood pressure, increased pain threshold, and reduced incidence of depression. Note: you can have an oxytocin release even if you are having an orgasm without a partner!
  • Cuddling with humans or pets—again, oxytocin release.
  • High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT)—a muscle building, metabolism boosting form of exercise
  • Sleep support:
    • Dark bedroom, eye mask, earplugs
    • No electronics 1 hour before bed
    • Regular and consistent sleep schedule (awake and to bed within the same hour everyday)

 

Taking care of your stress levels and stress management will help you on your quest for happiness. There is also more available through naturopathic medicine than what is outlined here. To create a full plan that will specifically meet your lifestyle and genetic needs, feel free to consult with me at Dr.JeannieN.D.@HappinessExperts.ca

 

Dr. Jeannie, ND  2016

 

*Dr. Jeannie Achuff, is a practicing Naturopathic Physician with active practices in both California and British Columbia. She is a Happiness Expert. Note that medical advice provided herein with Dr. Jeannie does not replace or supplant the clinical advice that you get from your family physician(s). 
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.The Site and the Content are provided on an "as is" basis.

 

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Happiness Defined: a Meditation on the Meaning of Happiness

There are many ways to slice and dice the idea of happiness. In spiritual terms, happiness is a felt sense of inner peace. There is no greater satisfaction then to be content regardless of the circumstances in which you may find yourself. Feelings of broad universal love, complete forgiveness, and total acceptance of “what is” are all foundations of inner peace. This may, however, feel a bit esoteric, so let’s consider the way scientists define happiness. My favorite approach is that of Barbara Fredrickson.

Barbara Fredrickson is a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina. Arguably, she is the foremost scholar on the topic of positive emotions. She defines happiness as the presence of one or more of the following positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. When we are experiencing any one of these feelings, we are happy. I quite appreciate her most practical and understandable framing of the idea of happiness. It allows us to get real about when we feel good. Take a moment to consider each of these distinct feelings.

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Bursting out of Stuck-ness

Have you ever found that your ability to think clearly is most confused when strong emotions are at play? This is a common experience. Our ability to understand our own circumstances and choose a course forward is frequently clouded by numerous emotions and rationalizations that easily fly under the radar of our conscious awareness.

As a coach, it is very common that I meet with clients who are stuck in some predicament that they don’t like—an unsatisfying job, a poor relationship, unhealthy habits related to food and exercise, and so on. By the time they come to meet with me, they generally have considered their “problem” for protracted periods. Commonly, it has often been years of consternation about the issue. It is easy to empathize because changing jobs, ending relationships, and breaking old habits is not easy—nor, perhaps, should it be. These clients often are stuck in a narrow component of critical thinking. They are stuck in an investigation or evidence-gathering phase.

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Be Kind to the People you Love: A Direct Path to Feeling Good

One researcher stands above all others when it comes to understanding intimate relationships—John Gottman. His incredibly persuasive findings are based on years of deeply observing couples interact.

Dr. Gottman has found that thriving, happy couples have five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Ratios of positive to negative interactions less than three to one are deadly to long-term partnerships. This finding is not so shocking when examined.

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Guardians of Corporate Culture: Kick-Starting Employee Engagement

As a business leader, have you ever wondered why the vibe—the beliefs and attitudes—of your workforce are so out-of-sync with the culture you would like to see. Is your staff cynical about change? Do they seem disconnected from the mission and vision for the organization? And, frankly, are there staff that seem openly in rebellion to the direction of the business?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you are by no means alone. Many staff groups, or at least significant components of most workforce's, are simply not very committed to the organizations that they work for. And, of course, there is a tendency for this to be more true with larger, more bureaucratic organizations.

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