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    Lesson Six – Downshift – Take Time To Relieve Stress

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | June 27th, 2021

    Lesson Six – Downshift – Take Time To Relieve Stress

    Chronic stress is NOT good for your health.  I think this statement is worth repeating – Chronic stress is NOT good for your health.  In Dan Buettner’s book, Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, those who lived long lives took time to relieve stress.  When we are stressed, our brain releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. We need these hormones when we are threatened and in a dangerous situation so we can do what we can to get out of the situation.  Once the danger is gone, the hormones are supposed to decrease in our bodies.  When we feel we are always in a dangerous situation, chronically stressed, these stress hormones are always present in high levels and can cause inflammation in our bodies that can lead to physical ailments.  These ailments include headaches, diabetes, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, increased depression, weakened immune system, low sex drive and the list goes on. Lesson six in the book is titled – Downshift – Take Time to Relieve Stress. One of the quotes in the book from a 107 year old woman was – “Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it.”

    There are various ways to relief stress. What may work for you might be different for someone else. What is important is that you take time out for yourself to rejuvenate. In the Dan Buettner’s book, he offers the following strategies:  

    REDUCE THE NOISE – Minimize time spent with television, radio, and the Internet can help reduce the amount of aural clutter in your life.

    BE EARLY – Plan to arrive 15 minutes early to every appointment. This can minimize stress that arises from traffic, getting lost, or underestimating travel time.

    MEDITATE – Create a space in your home that is quiet, not too hot and not too cold, not too dark and not too light. Establish a regular routine.

    I have done all the above and it truly works. I have added an additional two strategies:

    REMEMBER THAT ‘NO’ IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE – It is okay to say no if you cannot do something. You have to take care of yourself.  Click here to read why this is important.

    ENJOY THE PRESENT MOMENT – I have had to let go of ‘what ifs’ because I cannot go back in time.  I know I cannot predict the future. I do not believe anyone can. Embracing ‘the now’ allows us to appreciate what we have. This does not mean we should not have future goals. For a few minutes each day, we should slow down, take a deep breath and embrace the moment.

    We are creating our blue zone based on the nine lessons outlined in Dan Buettner’s book. Below are the nine lessons and you can click on lessons already discussed from previous blogs.

    1. Move Naturally – Be active without having to think about it
    2. Hara Hachi Bu – painlessly cut calories by 20%
    3. Plant Slant – Avoid meat or processed foods
    4. Grapes of Life – Drink red wine (in moderation)
    5. Purpose Now – Take time to see the big picture
    6. Downshift – Take time to relieve stress
    7. Belong – Participate in a spiritual community
    8. Loved Ones First –   Make family a priority
    9. Right Tribe – Be surrounded by those who share the Blue Zone values

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    Secure Your Copy of Sincerely, Your Gynecologist by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.

    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

    Click here to Buy Now on Amazon

    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.

    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

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