Could your energy drains be causing illness and disease? According to Dr. Tracy Gaudet, they can be. Relationships, jobs and stressful environments can drain your body, mind and spirit. Putting yourself first is a necessity, not a luxury. Determine if your lifestyle might be endangering you health, listen to your body, and take the necessary steps to reverse the ill-effects of stress in your life. Early Warning Signs
Listen to the messages your body is trying to give you before it's too late. To determine if your lifestyle might be endangering your health, Dr. Tracy Gaudet says to check to see if you have any of these "early warning signs."
Cold hands and feet
Headaches or migraines
Muscle aches and pains
Lack of "restful" sleep
No sex drive
Constant flu and colds
If you're not careful...
Not dealing with your energy drains can lead to burnout, depression and insomnia.
If you get by running on caffeine and adrenaline, your energy is being drained. The combination of caffeine for energy and wine to relax can be dangerous to your health. "This is self-medication," says Dr. Gaudet. Relying on outer ways to control your moods is harmful in the long run. Instead, daily relaxation will help break the adrenaline habit.
Our life span is directly linked to how much support and help we get. To get healthy and stay healthy, you must be connected to your inner voice and to other people.
If you are experiencing any of these early warning signs, go through the Stress Check List.
Stress Check List
Dr. Tracy Gaudet explains that women experience symptoms of stress 30 percent more often than men.
Ask yourself the following questions from Glenn S. Rothfeld, M.D., M.Ac., medical director of Whole Health New England, Inc., to determine if the stress in your life is unhealthy.
Check Your Heartbeat Is it racing past 30 beats in 20 seconds?
Check Your Breathing Are you taking more than 6 breaths in 20 seconds?
Check Your Thoughts Are you angry? Are your thoughts racing? Do you dwell on the same thoughts over and over?
Check Your Voice Does your voice sound tight, high and squeaky? Are your words rushed?
Check Your Posture Are your shoulders getting close to your ears? Does your upper back and neck feel tight and constricted?
Check Your Hands and Feet Are you hands cold or clenched? Do your toes curl? If you find that you have answered "yes" to some of these questions, start to listen to your body and live a healthier life with Dr. Gaudet's following techniques.
Steps to Live in the Moment
Don't think of what you have to do tomorrow or 20 years from now. Think of what you need to do today to take care of yourself. Start living healthier—right now! It's easy. Become aware of your needs, start moving, and take care of yourself both spiritually and physically.
Follow Dr. Tracy Gaudet's five steps to living in the moment.
Learn how to implement them into your life.
Practice these simple techniques recommended by Dr. Tracy Gaudet. Start to listen to your body and live a healthier lifestyle.
Breathe Practice this ancient yoga tradition: Breathe in four counts, hold for seven counts, out for eight counts, resting the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth on the ridge behind your teeth. Repeat four times.
Visualization Take a mental vacation. Invite an image of a relaxing and safe place. The key is not just to think about this place, but to "put" yourself there. This may be a place that you've visited or have never even seen. When you're "in" that place, notice details—the temperature, the sounds, the smells—and take note of how you feel.
Let the Breathing Space Gallery help you visualize.
Use Your Passion Remember things that bring you joy—music, laughter, dancing, crafts. Find ways to integrate these activities in your life and be conscious of doing them. For example, dance in your living room every night or listen to comedy tapes in your car. When you do what you love, you support your health. Need help remembering what brings you joy?
Posture 1. Check your posture. Where do you hold your head? Is it in front of you? If so, you're probably always thinking about what you have to do in the future. Are you wearing your shoulders as earrings? If so, your neck and back are probably very tense.
2. Realign your head and body—rock your head back and forth to find your comfortable spot. Consciously lower your shoulders—you'll find that by changing the position of your body, you actually can change your hormonal levels. Remember to do this throughout the day!
Learn how improving your posture can also make you look ten years younger and ten pounds thinner instantly with the book Posture: Get It Straight.
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, December 7, 2013