Learn to Downshift and Stress Less

Mari-Ela Chock
July 29, 2016

Did you know? You can reverse disease by finding a stress relieving strategy that works for you.

Studies suggest optimistic people may be happier, healthier, and have a lower chance of heart problems and lung disease. This may have to do with the amount of stress hormones released by the body. Someone with a happy outlook on life may release fewer stress hormones during difficult times. Residents living in the original Blue Zones areas share common lifestyle habits called Power 9®—helping them live longer, healthier, happier lives. Downshifting, whether through a nap, meditation, prayer, or a happy hour with friends, is one of them.

A Good Laugh Goes a Long Way 

An emerging field known as humor therapy is helping people relieve stress and heal more quickly. Our on-the-go society means that many of us experience a certain amount of chaos on most days. Whatever your degree of stress, reducing it to the lowest level possible is good for your health, and humor is a great coping mechanism. 

Research has found that laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and boosts immunity. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – and produces a general sense of well-being. In fact, hospitals nationwide are building formal and informal laughter therapy into their treatment programs. Humor is a universal language. The domino effect of a good laugh is more contagious than a sniffle, a cough, or a sneeze. A shared laugh connects people and gives them a sense of joy and closeness. According to Laughter Therapist and author of We Need to Laugh More, Enda Junkins, “Anyone can join the laughter movement. All it takes is a willingness to risk some loss of control. The timid may start with a few shy giggles. The courageous may jump in with deep belly laughter. A sense of humor is not required.” 

So the next time stress is getting you down, remember that laughter is fun, free to all, and has no known negative side effects. 

Sleep Tight 

Getting plenty of sleep every night recharges your brain and keeps your immune system functioning well. Adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night. To meet your sleep needs, try going to bed and waking up around the same times every day. Sleep on a comfy mattress and pillows in a dark, quiet, and cool bedroom.

Top 5 Ways to Downshift and Stress Less 

Q & A: Ask the Expert

Q: I feel as if I’m always racing the clock to get everything done. How do I find the time to slow down when I have so much to do?

A: Be early. Even something as simple as arriving 15 minutes early to every appointment can significantly reduce the stress that arises from driving in traffic, getting lost, or underestimating the time it takes to get somewhere. Being early to an appointment will help you to slow down and focus on the meeting or event. 


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