Include Nuts as Part of a Stress Reduction Game Plan

Posted on : May 15th, 2018

Almond Tree Sapling by Vincent Van GoghStress is in the news today! The American Psychiatric Association reports that a large proportion of Americans feel anxiety for a variety of reasons (finances, health, politics, personal safety, relationships) and that number has gone up by 39% in the last year! This is actually a public health concern as high stress is correlated with high rates of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and even infertility! So taking time to deal with stress is a really important undertaking.

Interestingly, the Almond Board has recently been posting about ways to be happier and healthier by “Owning Your Day.” Their most recent post included an interview with Victoria Arlen, a Paralympian and motivational speaker,  who lives by the motto “Face It. Embrace It. Defy It. Conquer It.” When Arlen was 11 years old, she contracted two rare viral diseases that left her in a vegetative state for four years. The experience left her trapped in her own body, unable to move or communicate, but she did regain consciousness and then spent many years relearning how to speak, eat and even swim. She eventually qualified for the London Paralympic Games in 2012 and won one gold and three silver medals. Now she is an ESPN correspondent and was recently an inspiring semi-finalist on “Dancing with the Stars.” 

Talk about overcoming a stressful set of earlier experiences! So let’s take a look at Victoria Arlen’s approach: “Face It. Embrace It. Defy It. Conquer It.” To me that means don’t run from what’s worrying you through drugs or other escapist activities. Instead acknowledge what’s going on with the intention to do something to improve your life. There are things we can change and things that are beyond our current control. Bad things happen but that doesn’t mean it gets to control the rest of your life! We can embrace our ability to do what IS in power to do! We can imagine what we’d like to achieve, set goals and game plans, and make the commitment to move forward on them, even if it’s just a single step each week.

But we can’t be in push harder, push harder, go, go, go mode ALL the time! Because most of us are stressed about long-term, ongoing issues that will take persistence and faith over the long haul to overcome (as well as things that we can’t do anything about, at least not yet or not alone), we need to rest, eat right, and find something to enjoy about the present day! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t yet known. But today, in this very moment, things might actually be quite good . . if we stop long enough to pay attention to it. Or make sure we have plenty of positive present time moments to pay attention to!

Speaking for myself, having plenty of positive present time moments to enjoy and look forward to is essential. So sometimes I take Victoria Arlen’s advice:

  1. Learn to love the mornings: Victoria Arlen says that mornings signify new beginnings and she uses that time to adopt a positive attitude. She recommends doing a happy dance to celebrate having another day to enjoy being alive. I can’t say I’ve gone that far yet but I have been attempting to adopt the habit of asking myself what will make this the best day it can be. I make myself a cup of tea, eat my breakfast outside if I can because I like doing that, and try to imagine what would make me feel good about the day. I include things that matter to me that I can take action on, how I want to handle things, and plans for enjoyable exercise, socializing, relaxing, and things to look forward to throughout the day. By imagining the great day I intend to have, I’m more likely follow through and have one!
  2. Set an example for others. Arlen says that choosing to be a role model is a powerful thing to do. I find that in the workplace, the best way to have a great day is to help the people around me have a great day, too! It doesn’t solve everything, but I find that making a habit of lifting people up by beaming positivity, delight in seeing them, caring, and kindness helps me feel good, too.
  3. Plan for lunch! Okay, I know this sounds trivial when it comes to having a great life. Making progress on your most important goals seems so much more noble! And when it comes to stress reduction, meditation, exercise, and other relaxation techniques seem so important that food sometimes doesn’t even make it on the list! But ignoring hunger pangs sets you up for feeling anxious. Hunger is a signal that you need more fuel, so if you just try to power through,  your body tries to up the ante by sending you a message through stress hormones that say “Pay attention! There’s something wrong!” So remember step 1? At the VERY LEAST in the morning I plan and then prepare something to look forward to eating at lunchtime or break. And that helps me make sure I take time for one!
  4. Keep your bag stocked with essentials: Arlen says she never leaves her house without her essential ready for anything “go-to” items. For her, it’s lip balm, lipstick, headphones, almonds and mints. For me, it’s lip balm, essential oils, a water bottle filled with chilled herb tea, some kind of snack, and a paper and a pen for writing down my thoughts. My favorite snack? Something with protein and healthy fat to satisfy my hunger that also tastes like a yummy treat! For example, apples spread with delicious nut butter, chocolate almonds or a Maisie Jane’s snack pack, of course!

Maisie Jane's Snack Packs

Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family owned and operated orchards. We use Organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.