19 Tips for a Stress-Free and Healthy Life
Many people are unaware that there is a suicide statistic that is growing for women, ages 40-69. The major reasons are isolation, untreated depression compounded by substance abuse and sleep issues.
A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed a 49 percent increase in emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts for women aged 50 and older. Women aged 40-69 are more at risk of killing themselves than other women, according to new research on age-specific suicide rates between 1998 and 2007. In 2007, this age group made up 60 percent of the 7,328 suicides reported among women. Speculation ranges from sleep disorders, pain to increased use of prescription medicine.
But what the study does not reveal is that for both men and women who invest in a concierge medicine plan for their own physician and personalized plan, and who are given regular well visits and access to talk over any issues that arise, are much better off than those who have limited access or are part of an impersonal, crowded practice where little time is established for the doctor to get to know that patient and their age-related medical issues. Better access equals life saving intervention and monitoring of any depressive or at-risk behaviors, and gives a concierge physician the ability to manage a patient’s progress.
According to the SAMHSA report, suicide attempts involving drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia increased 56 percent.
Just as investing your health dollars wisely for the right balance of PPO high deductible health plans and an affordable concierge medicine plan of action with a SignatureMD physician, there are some simple things you can put into practice daily to refresh and promote well-being and mental health.
Author Vickie Milazzo shares that there are some wonderful tips to strengthen your emotional energy and mental fortitude. In her new book, Milazzo coaches women to invest in their health in every way possible, and follow Milazzo’s 19 stunningly simple strategies for replenishing emotional energy.
Vickie Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD, is author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-1181-0052-3, WickedSuccess.com). From a shotgun house in New Orleans to owner of a $16-million business, Wall Street Journal best-selling author Milazzo shares the innovative success strategies that earned her a place on the Inc. list of Top 10 Entrepreneurs and Inc. Top 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America.
Women should not accept a state of stressed-out existence and call it living, insists Vickie Milazzo.
“Today’s woman has taken on an extreme life crammed to overflowing with commitments and responsibility,” observes Milazzo, author of the new book “It’s not possible to stretch yourself to the breaking point every day and not break.
“You wouldn’t expect a battery to keep going forever without recharging it, and you shouldn’t expect it of yourself either,” she adds. “Women need to learn to revitalize their minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits frequently, so that they’ll have abundant energy whenever they need it.”
Milazzo shared her 19 healthy mind and body tips:
- Get away. Take one day off with no responsibilities.
- Take a virtual vacation. Enjoy a bathtub with candles, bath oil, a glass of wine, and a favorite CD. Maybe you’d prefer to lounge in your backyard or hammock with a favorite beverage or to curl up in bed with a great book.
- Getting off the grid, make it a goal at least once a year to get far away, into something so different that it forces you out of your regular relaxation routine into one that entirely disconnects you from day-to-day life. Many people find that nature and wildlife provide two of the most powerful tools for relaxation in the world.
- Renew with music. Play music that energizes or relaxes you, depending upon what’s called for. Choose classical pieces for intense projects and rock and roll for cooking, household chores, or packing suitcases. At night, play slow music to unwind and relax.
- Choose happiness. Happiness is not only contagious to others, it’s contagious to ourselves. You may not always wake up happy, but wherever you are physically or emotionally, try to focus on the part of the experience that is good. Life will always throw curveballs, fastballs, and, just when you think you know what’s coming next, the occasional change-up. Being happy to the core helps us hit them back—no matter how fast they are or how many come our way.
- Monitor your intimate companions. Nothing drains energy faster than negative thinking. Your thoughts do control your life; in fact, they are your most intimate companions. When you notice that you’re wasting energy thinking negatively about someone or something, remind yourself that you’re only attacking and harming yourself with such thoughts. This is not to say that you can—or should—ignore your feelings or reality. But when you learn to control your thoughts, you touch new places of feeling that are even more real.
- Turn off the critic. Do you find that your inner “critical voice” rears its head way too often? For instance, you might wonder, Is it me or was that secretary less friendly than usual? Did I do something? Or perhaps you walk into your house and, in an instant, zero in on everything that’s wrong: the messy kitchen, the scratched coffee table, the pile of bills waiting on the counter. However, allowing this inner critic to be your dominant communication style will negatively impact you, your family, and anyone else you encounter. Instead, try to intentionally notice and comment on the good things to fuel your success energy.
- Be nice and watch how nice people will be in return. There is an economy of emotion with niceness. Few things will give you more energy than the rewards of being nice. Likewise, nothing will drain your emotional energy faster than not playing nice with others.
- Dump toxic clutter. Because you have important familial, professional, and social commitments, it’s important to eliminate toxic or emotionally draining relationships and other social clutter, just as you dump the mess that accumulates on your desk. This gives you time for relationships that matter—husband, family, and best friends. Likewise, guard what enters your mind. For example, it’s important to be aware of the world around you, but there’s no need to listen to negative news stories 24/7.
- Detach. Why put your own precious emotional energy into someone or something else that doesn’t provide a positive return? Detach from emotional unrest that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life and feel the increase in your own positive energy charge.
- Lighten up. It’s tempting to behave as though everything you do is intensely important. But unless you let go of some of that intensity, you’ll be emotionally exhausted. When you find yourself making mountains out of molehills, ask yourself, “In one year, will this be significant?” Lighten up. If you push, you get resistance. Be less serious about the outcome of the little things.
- Learn a new language. As soon as you label something “bad,” you limit your ability to have fun. Milazzo used to “hate” the cold, and then one day in Iceland a woman told her, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” When you substitute the right mental gear for the word “hate,” you will be amazed at how much emotional energy you gain. Take all such negative words down a notch in mind and voice, and notice how differently you feel.
- Let it go. Do you suffer from dissatisfaction and frustration? Do you find yourself whining and complaining instead of acting on your passionate vision? Try letting it all go and see the difference that it makes in your day. Appreciate what you have. When frustration happens, take a breath and let it go.
- Enjoy the moment. How often do you hear or say, “Thank God it’s Friday”? Do we want to enjoy only two days out of seven? Why not “Thank God it’s today”? If you are living for the weekend, you aren’t living. You can’t repeat a day or even an hour or minute. You’ll never get that time back. Treat every moment as a precious gift.
- Practice gratitude. For happy people, gratitude seems to outweigh desire. For unhappy people, it’s about want, want, want, with little gratitude in return. Now, there’s nothing wrong with desire, because desires fire your passionate vision. But gratitude must always be greater. Otherwise, you’ll never be satisfied or happy. Acknowledge daily three things you’re grateful for, small or large, and express gratitude to others as well.
- Accept yourself as you are. How often do we let the comparison game rob us of joy? If you’re five-feet-two-inches tall, with sturdy ankles, you’ll never grow into a lithe five-feet-seven-inches. The fact is some things we can change and others we can’t. Let the things you can’t change about yourself go.
- Find the fun. Fun is healing, and laughter keeps us sane. Laughter raises T-cell counts, relaxes blood vessels, eases muscle tension, and reduces psychological stress, which enhances learning. Laughter can happen when you least expect it…if you let it.
- Create your own party. Growing up in New Orleans taught Milazzo that you can have a party anywhere—at your house, in your mind, or, as her father says while chowing down on a good muffaletta, in your mouth. Embrace life with energy and joy. Wherever you go physically, emotionally, or mentally, take the party with you.
- Eat dessert first. Sometimes we treat renewal like a dessert we have to earn by eating our vegetables. Mardi Gras taught Milazzo to celebrate before the hard work. Prior to the sacrifice of Lent, the city of New Orleans would party hearty for two weeks. So feast before you fast, and eat dessert first.