Everyday life gives us ample reason to stress. Relationship problems, child-rearing issues, job insecurity, school frustrations, and financial instability are just some of life’s complications that can weigh people down and lead to health problems. “It’s difficult to stay healthy and energized when stress is a daily reality,” says Dr. Greg Wells, author of The Ripple Effect: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think Better. “Chronic stress can damage your body, threaten your mental health, put a strain on relationships, and take the joy out of life.” But there’s no reason to surrender to stress; Dr. Wells suggests seven techniques to help you have a healthier “thought life” and recover from chronic stress:
• Move your body. Rhythmic, repeated motion is particularly soothing to the mind and body. A long walk, cycling, swimming, or running will all work, but any kind of movement relieves tension, improves circulation, and clears your mind.
• Get into nature. Head to the garden, the park, or the woods to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, reduce tension and depression, and boost your mood. “It’s stunning how good it is for your health to be in nature,” Wells says. “And I recommend you leave the cell phone and earbuds at home.”
• Practice yoga or Tai Chi. Therapy, yoga and Tai Chi are good ways to decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost the immune system. They also give you more stamina—needed in stressful times—and improve the quality of your sleep. Read more of this story »
There is nothing worse that having our summer travels interrupted by a serious illness. In warmer climates, we particularly need to be cautious of mosquito borne illnesses, “tourista,” and Pool Parasites. Dr. Brent W. Laartz, an infectious disease specialist and author of the book How to Avoid Contagious Diseases, explains, “While on vacation it becomes entirely necessary to be more observant of the conditions that are in place that could harm you.” Dr. Laartz offers Undercover Agents tips on how to protect ourselves during our summer travels.
• Avoid local water in all forms. When you shower, don’t ingest the water and don’t be afraid to ask for a drink without ice. In lesser developed countries there is less infrastructure for clean water, effective sewage and public health. If you can’t avoid unsanitary water, make sure you have iodine tablets and bring along a tea or coffee-making device that will boil water for you. Furthermore, you should buy a case or two of water when you arrive at a destination and check that all bottle caps are sealed to assure the bottled water isn’t just a refilled bottle of dirty, parasite-infested tap water.
• Protect your feet at all times. Use flip flops in the shower, and if you must be barefoot, put a towel down on the floor. Parasites can enter the skin of your feet and travel to different parts of the body. For the same reason that you should wear flip flops in the shower, you should never walk barefoot in any area of a foreign country, including your hotel room. Read more of this story »