Stress Less: Preserving Wellness of Body and Mind
with Venus QUINTANA
Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best, but when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. You can protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. In today’s world, most of us, to some degree, deal with a sense of feeling overwhelmed by daily responsibilities and challenges, knowing that we can’t possibly accomplish everything that we need to get done. Chances are, your ever-growing todolist doesn’t include one very important task: relax. But managing stress is a key to staying healthy.
If your hectic lifestyle has brought you down, experts say relaxation techniques can bring you back into balance- some in five minutes or less. Regine Kachtiane, founder of Regine Fitology™ is a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who offers her clients customized nutrition/fitness programs designed to achieve overall physical and emotional wellness. “Stress releases a hormone in our bodies called cortisol. Cortisol contributes to the build-up of excess fat around the waistline which can ultimately have a direct impact on your heart health,” reports Regine. If you’re feeling the pressure or signs and symptoms of stress coming on in the middle of a busy day, there are some immediate techniques you can use to help you relax, slow your breathing and lower your blood pressure. Regine suggests some practical ways to let off some steam: “Partly due to the extra boost of oxygen to the body, yogic deep breathing, such as pranayama breathing, can help you relax, reduce tension, relieve stress and feel rejuvenated,” she explains. Another effective way to calm the nerves is to listen to music. “Classical music has been known for its calming and soothing effects” says Regine, “but any music that you enjoy listening to can have the same beneficial effects and help flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals such as dopamine which can help decrease the levels of stress hormones released by your body.”
Stress can manifest itself in many ways, but most ostensibly it surfaces through our skin. “Skin is the fabric of life. It is also the largest organ system in the body” explains plastic surgeon Dr. Scott B. Wells, who has built an extensive practice on Park Avenue, NYC. “One of the greatest causes of skin deterioration are intrinsic and extrinsic presence of stress. Avoiding and managing stress is thus critically important.” Dr. Wells believes that anyone leading an active lifestyle needs to take time to manage their stress as well as undertake a protective regimen to thwart and repair its harmful effects. “One of our newest and most exciting concepts that we offer to high power executives and jet setters is the SkinGym™ membership,” Dr.Wells explains. “Recreating the paradigm of nutrition and exercise well understood for body fitness, our programs have been designed to similarly produce optimal skin fitness.” The exercise regimen involves proprietary sequencing and delivery of state of the art laser, IPL light, and energy delivery devices, combined with a routine of facials peels designed to nutritionally support the skin building program
‘Burning the candle at both ends’ is an expression that most of us are all too familiar with. Stress can affect our nervous systems in hazardous ways if we are not careful. Taking time for ourselves to reclaim our health is the key to living a happy life. Massage therapy is an effective way to keep our mind and body in balance. “Nervous and endocrine (hormonal) systems are primary regulators of homeostasis (balance) of all processes in our body and they get directly affected by stress”, says Margarita Zaglodina, founder of MYW Studio in Glen Cove, offering a variety of services including different styles of massage, active isolated stretching, raindrop therapy, skin and body care treatments. “When they get affected they trigger tension in our muscles which increases mental and physical fatigue.” As a massage therapist, yoga and Pilates instructor, Margarita expresses the importance of massage, “in order to keep body and mind in harmony, one of the great solutions can be deep tissue massage and application of heat in any form.” The benefits of massage far exceed the cost: “On one side it is relaxation of muscles and on the other hand detoxification of all body cells,” she explains. Even though it is seen as a luxury, massage therapy should be regarded as a healthy activity paired together with exercise and good nutrition.
Forming good habits is at the core of leading a healthy lifestyle. Too often, we beat our bodies up with bad diets and lack of physical activity. A good diet and exercise goes a long way. “Nutritional stress is now being considered as a major type of physical stress as our bodies, organs and digestive system try to digest, assimilate and metabolize what we consume” says Regine of Regine Fitology™. “Having a clean, well-balanced nutrition plan helps to reduce many stress factors on the body.” Regine emphasizes the importance of exercise to her clients: “Our bodies release endorphins that are produced by our brain when we exercise. The endorphins, also called the ’feel good hormones’ produce a feeling of well-being and aid in relaxation.”
As the saying goes, ‘As within, so without.’ – we are a reflection of the lifestyles that we lead. Life without stress is the utopia we are all searching for, yet at the same time stress keeps us alive and challenges our minds. It is not about living a stress-free life, it is about learning how to handle the obstacles in such a way that we can still keep a sound mind. So, laugh more, worry less and love your life!