Wells column: The 10 laws of stress mismanagement

Steve Wells
Steve Wells

“Back away from the coffee maker. Just chill out for a minute. Breathe. Drop your shoulders out of your ears. Drink some water. Did you do your special exercises?”

These are just a few of the methods that the staff at Midland Fitness use to get me to calm down.

I try to use elaborate excuses such as, “The traffic is making me freak out,” or “Maybe it’s my meat-based diet,” but it’s only stress.

My own not-so-great habits and behaviors help me to stray off the path of enlightenment more often than I’d like to admit. However, when I stick to the 10 stress mismanagement laws described below, I do much better.

They are simple rules, but not easy to stick to. The list makes up the basic components of general health, but it makes for a great stress-prevention list, too. You have probably heard something about each component below, but I bet that you are chronically omitting a few of them, thus adding to your stress.

Too much stress will override the benefits of any diet and exercise routine no matter what it’s based on. Stick to this list and see if you can reduce the number one risk factor to all health: stress.

Reduce toxin intake: You are inundated with toxins from food, air, water, processed foods, alcohol, tobacco, soda-pop, artificial sweeteners, cosmetics, medications, etc. A steady flow of toxins puts our nervous and immune systems into chronic overdrive. Our bodies will eliminate many toxins naturally, but not at the rate that we enjoy them.

Improve gut bacteria: This is the direct link to your immune system. Get frequent colds? Have digestion issues? Allergies? Love to overdo it on antibiotics? You best eat probiotic and prebiotic foods to restore a closer to optimal bacteria balance. Eat fermented and home-canned foods like sauerkraut and slaws. Eat prebiotic veggies like garlic, onions, artichoke and chicory, and home-canned foods to feed probiotic bacteria.

Reduce or eliminate OTC and prescription medications: The side-effects, after effects and special effects are the problems. All medications, no matter how seemingly harmless, stress out different systems and functions of the body. Prescription meds are proven to be more dangerous due to side effects, availability and legality than the typical parent-fear-street-drugs, so just realize that all drugs have the potential to do harm as much as good. We need them, just don’t abuse them.

Sunshine: You must get sun for Vitamin D and over-all hormone function. Many studies prove that we can only make vitamin D from sunshine. I don’t worship research as I know it all has many flaws, but since Vitamin D supplements can be toxic at high levels, it may be safer and more natural to just get 15 minutes of sun each day. Don’t rub chemicals into your skin, cover up with clothing instead but get some healthy exposure.

Sleep: The most effective form of torture may be sleep deprivation. Most of us are deprived of adequate sleep. Nobody knows how much we need or when the best time to get it. Everyone does agree that you absolutely require deep sleep and naps to survive.

Exercise: This helps literally every single health function and is crucial to all health. A lack of it allows disease to creep in. You have to stay reasonably fit to exercise enough to get the benefits. Ignoring the other nine rules makes exercise very difficult.

Food: Go organic. Choose the best quality and “least adulterated” varieties of foods regardless of the diet-camp that you’re in. Prepare your own meals, brown bag-it and eat out hardly ever, eat whole foods and become vigilant about your food quality.

Water: Figure out how to get clean water and then drink a lot of it and not much of anything else.

Psychosomatics: It’s for real — address your psyche, attitude and spirituality. Accept that these directly affect your physiology because evidence proves that you are more than just a chemical organism.

Keep it simple: Practice time management, simplify your life and reduce time wasters. Focus on mastering the essentials. Stop reading about stress management and execute it instead.

Steve Wells has more than 20 years of experience in fitness and nutrition and is head trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His Blog, “According to Steve” can be found at In his “Where in the Health are We” speaking series, he addresses fitness and nutrition topics such as office ergonomics, stress management and real-world nutrition. Reach him at 970-945-4440.

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