Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hawaiian Stress Management Secrets

My family and I recently returned from vacationing in Hawaii.  We had a wonderful time and enjoyed talking with those who live in the Aloha state.  They are warm, friendly people and I believe that they can teach us a lot about how to manage stress.

Of all fifty states, Hawaiians live the longest.  Why do they have a life expectancy of 80 years, while those who live in Washington, D.C. only live an average of 72 years?  In my opinion, Hawaiians have a longer life expectancy because of their ability to manage stress. Chronic stress causes the body to break down and age prematurely.

Here are three stress management secrets we can learn from those who live in the great state of Hawaii:

1.  Enjoy each day by making time for fun and relaxation.

Being overly busy and rushed is very stressful.  I noticed that people in Hawaii don’t seem to rush that much.  Highway signs have a minimum speed posted in addition to a maximum speed because many Hawaiians like to drive at slower spends.  They also choose to live at a slower pace, which is healthier.  As Gandhi observed, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”  They also enjoy taking walks and gardening, both of which are relaxing and good for your health.

2. Notice and appreciate the beauty around you.

It is a common practice for those who live in Hawaii to pull their cars off the road to watch the sunset.  Enjoying the beauty of nature is a proven stress reducer.  Although you may not live in Hawaii, the sun probably sets where you live too.  Why not take a few moments to enjoy the colors and beauty?

3. Make it a priority to spend time with friends and family.

For nine years I lived in San Jose, California, the heart of Silicon Valley.  I met a lot of people who were overly focused on acquiring money and possessions. They worked so much that they had little time left over for family and friends.  They mistakenly believed that this would make them happy, however, many of them ended up feeling lonely and disappointed.

In contrast, during my stay in Hawaii, I met people who made their friends and family a top priority.  Hawaiians love to spend time together. They have discovered what Benjamin Franklin observed long ago, “Joy is not in things; joy is in us.” Spending time with friends is not only fun, it is great way to reduce your stress.

Whenever you have pleasant interactions with friends and family, your brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and other powerful feel-good chemicals.  This makes you happier and lowers your stress, both of which have been shown to improve your health.  In the last week, how much time did you spend with your friends and family?

Now it’s your turn.  Do you have any stress management secrets you would like to share?  Place your thoughts in the box below.  Thanks!

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