1. Sleep Away Your Stress

One of the first and most important things to do to build a stress-proof body is to get enough sleep on a regular basis. If you don’t get enough sleep, you could experience the following:

• Increased irritability

• Depression

• Anxiety

• Decreased ability to concentrate and understand information

• Increased likelihood of making mistakes and causing accidents

• Increased clumsiness and slower reaction times (dangerous behind the wheel)

• A suppressed immune system

• Undesirable weight gain

“One of the most helpful things you can do for your body when you’re feeling anxious is to have a drink of water.”

Unfortunately, sleep disorders often disturb our sleep even if we go to bed on time. These sleep disorders include insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, sleep walking and talking, and restless leg syndrome. Also, jet lag or working the night shift can cause sleep disturbances.

2. The Importance of Hydration

Sometimes, one of the most helpful things you can do for your body when you’re feeling anxious is to have a drink of water. Human bodies are about two-thirds water, but many people are mildly dehydrated and don’t know it. While severe dehydration has dramatic symptoms and can even result in death, mild dehydration may go unnoticed and is more likely to occur after intense exercise, in extreme heat, while dieting, and after vomiting or diarrhea, either from illness or as a result of food poisoning or drinking too much alcohol.

3. Stay Hydrated

Are you dehydrated? Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

• Dry mouth

• Dizziness

• Light-headedness

• Dark urine (should be pale yellow)

• Inability to concentrate

• Confusion

One reason people tend to be so often dehydrated is that caffeinated beverages are so popular and widely available. Caffeine actually acts as a diuretic to flush water out of your system. The other reason for dehydration is simple: People don’t drink much water anymore. Yet, water can offer your body many benefits, not the least of which is a stronger defense against stress.

4. Work More Water into Your Life

Drinking more water is one of the easiest changes you can make to help manage your stress. Ideally, you should drink sixty-four ounces, or eight cups, of water each day. If you space your consumption throughout the day, it’s very doable. Have sixteen ounces first thing in the morning, sixteen ounces with lunch, sixteen ounces with dinner, and sixteen ounces in the evening. Add another sixteen ounces or more if you’ve been sweating or getting a lot of exercise.

If you really don’t like the taste of plain water, try a few brands of mineral-added bottled water. The minerals give the water more flavor. Or, add a wedge of lemon, lime, or orange to your water. If you just have to have those bubbles, try club soda instead of soda. Still not charmed? Dilute real fruit juice with half water or half club soda.

5. The Good, the Bad, and the Neutral

Some habits are good. If you always clean up your own messes, have a habit of being polite, or are devoted to your daily bowl of fresh salad, you probably already know that those habits are keepers.

Other habits aren’t so good. A bad habit is a habit that makes you less healthy or less happy. Even if you feel good while indulging your habit, you probably know when it’s just a temporary high, like when you go to the mall and spend $400 on stuff you don’t really need. You get a rush, but as soon as you get home and put the things away, you realize the habit was controlling you rather than the other way around.

Some habits are neutral. For example, you always eat a favorite cereal, or you prefer a certain gas station, or you have a habit of humming while you wash the dishes. If they don’t bother anybody, no problem.

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