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Believe it or not, stress does aggravate your PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).

When we get stressed, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol often called the “stress hormone.” Cortisol and progesterone compete for common receptors in the cells. Too much cortisol impairs progesterone activity, and leads to estrogen dominance. This estrogen dominance is what creates all the familiar PMS symptoms you might be experiencing.

Hence, why I believe that getting rid of your PMS symptoms starts by managing your stress, not taking a pill, which will only add more chemicals into your already complex body chemical mix.

Here are a few great ways for you to easily reduce stress:

1. Breathe.

Most people tense up and hold their breath. That is counterproductive and creates more stress in the body.

My favorite breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise from Dr. Andrew Weil. You can check out the 4-7-8 Breath Health Benefits and Demonstration here: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112/The-4-7-8-Breath-Benefits-and-Demonstration.html. And here is a demonstration of how the 4-7-8 breath works:

2. Set yourself limits.

Wanting to achieve too much within a day can be a huge stress factor. Besides draining you of your energy, it creates additional stress on your mind and body. My advice to you: set your own limits, aim for just enough (not too little, not too much) and celebrate when you do more than what you planned.

3. Plan your day.

Make a list of the goals you want to achieve in a day. Make sure they are realistic, and celebrate them as you achieve them. There are no small steps. A long path, broken down in several smaller ones, is easier to follow.

4. Take some time for yourself everyday. You deserve it.

This is what me and my fellow graduates from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition learned to refer to as self-care. In terms of health maintenance, self care is any activity you engage in, with the intention of improving or restoring health, or treating or preventing disease. In this particular case, self-care = stress reduction tool.

5. Stretch those tense muscles.

Stress restricts blood flow causing your muscles to tense up, especially the muscles in your back, neck and shoulders. People who sit for long periods of time are especially prone to such muscle tension. Besides helping to reduce stress, stretching can also reduce pain, increase circulation, improve your posture, and make you more mindful of your body.
You can find a few great stretching exercises in this article: http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/Galleries/Stress-Reducing-Stretches.aspx

6. Read something uplifting every morning.

Reading something uplifting in the morning will help you add more positivity into your life. Because positive energy attracks positive energy, by starting your day with something positive, you will

7. Remember the glass is always half full.

8. Let go of worry and make changes in your life.

9. Laugh… it’s hard to be stressed when you’re laughing.

10. Listen to music.

The healing and power of music is well known.

Research by Claudius Conrad, M.D, a surgical resident at Harvard Medical School, shows that patients listening to music have greater healing ability, and lower overall body inflammation.

11. Get a massage.

It helps to reduce stress and enhance relaxation. It helps to reduce muscular pain. It helps energy to move more easily throughout your whole body.

12. Take time to be grateful everyday.

My favorite app to stay on track with my gratitude log is called the ‘5 Min Journal’. It literally only takes 5 minutes (actually much less) to record your gratitude, affirmations, and upcoming goals. It is also a lot of fun and is beautifully put together. You can get more information on this app here: http://app.fiveminutejournal.com/.

13. Disconnect.

We live in a world where we are overloaded with information. Knowledge may be power, but information overload is just noise. So consider a disconnect vacation, whether a few hours a day, a day a week, or what suits best your lifestyle.

 

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