Stress Management For Dummies
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Many principles of the Mediterranean lifestyle revolve around family, community, and fun. It's easy to get caught up in a hectic life and put these small experiences on the back burner because they don't appear to be important. However, little rituals throughout the day add up to a big impact on stress management.

Stress impacts your health in so many ways, from increasing your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease to promoting weight gain, so managing it is key. Here are two examples of daily routines that illustrate how little experiences sprinkled throughout the day can provide more stress relief:

[Credit: Photo © olson]
Credit: Photo © olson
Mediterranean lifestyle strategies Fast-paced lifestyle strategies
Wake up and have a light breakfast Wake up and skip breakfast (stress inducer)
Workday begins (stress inducer) Workday begins (stress inducer)
Lunch break with a light walk (stress reliever) Lunch break, eating quickly in ten minutes at the desk (neutral — doesn't induce stress or reduce it)
End work day Work late (stress inducer)
Home for sit-down dinner with family (stress reliever) Rush through the drive-through to pick up a meal for family, eating in five minutes at the countertop (neutral)
Clean-up and evening tasks, such as kids' homework Clean-up and evening tasks, such as kids' homework
Reading or journaling (stress reliever) Television (may be a stress inducer or reliever)
Bedtime (stress reliever) Bedtime (stress reliever)

The first example has one big stress inducer (work) and four stress relievers sprinkled throughout the day. The second example has three to four stress inducers and only one or two stress relievers. That stress builds up in your body, setting you up for an increased risk of disease and possible weight gain. Taking the time for those small experiences during the day, such as a family dinner or a walk (or another type of exercise, or a conversation with a good friend), makes a big difference.

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