Long work weeks, extensive commutes and increasing technology all contribute to the rising levels of stress in our lives, according to Dr. Kathleen Hall. Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Hall, director of the Stress Institute, about simple methods for reducing stress and living a balanced life.
Dr. Hall says a panic attack inspired her to leave her high-powered Wall Street life behind and spend a little time getting back to nature. After a year of living in a remote cabin on a 300-acre farm, Dr. Hall says she embarked on four years of clinical training to study the effects of stress. In her book A Life in Balance
, she outlines the four roots of true happiness that she calls SELF-care. When you wake up in the morning, Dr. Hall says, think about SELF-care and when to fit it in during your day. "The four roots of life are amazing and simple ways to live," she says. The Four Roots of SELF-Care:
- Serenity—Dr. Hall says that any kind of serenity practice will help lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as boost immunity and reduce pain. "Start with something small, like a five-minute meditation," she says. Decide to do something that will quiet your brain, such as sitting quietly, listening to music or repeating affirmations, she says. Another option she suggests is guided imagery, or thinking about a place where you are at peace, to lower your heart rate and get a sense of control.
- Exercise—"We are meant to be in motion," Dr. Hall says. Any kind of movement, done three to four times a week for at least 20 minutes, can be beneficial for your health, she says. If running or other aerobic exercises don't motivate you to get moving, Dr. Hall encourages lower-impact exercises like yoga or tai chi.
- Love—Community and group support are vital to living a balanced life, Dr. Hall says. "It just makes sense that we were meant to be with each other, especially after traumatic events," she says. To maintain community, Dr. Hall says you should get in touch with friends at least once a week for 20 to 30 minutes—a book club or walking group, or even a phone call, are great ways to find support, she says.
- Food—Dr. Hall says that spending time with tribal shamans showed her how to look at food in a different way. "They believe that food is medicine, that it's nourishment," she says. Following a balanced diet and taking supplements that fill voids in your diet can be hugely healing and can change your quality of life, she says.