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Image credit: Getty Images | Hal Horowitz

7 Ways To Reduce Stress and Anxiety

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Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
Image credit: Getty Images | Hal Horowitz
Image credit: Getty Images | Hal Horowitz

When it comes to combating stress, Deepak Chopra’s advice is surprisingly simple: “Take care of yourself,” he told Entrepreneur during a recent phone interview.

Unfortunately, taking care of Number One is easier said than done for entrepreneurs. They’re often a weary lot that burn the candle at both ends. Most work long hours hustling their dreams into reality, on their own or with little help.

Thus, stress, depression and anxiety are no strangers to the dedicated DIY-ers of the business world. But who has time to unwind? Chopra, fresh off of unveiling a new stress-relieving virtual reality meditation experience, which he partnered with VR content studio Wevr to create, says the key to happiness lies in how we cope and calm down. “When we stress less, we free our spirit and find joy,” he says.

Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

We asked Chopra, a world-renowned spiritual leader, business professor and medical doctor — and quite the time-strapped juggler himself — for some quick tips on how busy entrepreneurs can beat the blues. Here’s his wise advice, in seven steps. Consider taking the time to take them on. Your health and well-being are every bit worth it.

1. Nourish your body and mind with healthy foods — and splurge sometimes

“Eating a pure diet, one free of toxins, is best for mind-body balance. That doesn’t mean you can’t have chocolate, though. Chocolate has been shown to release dopamine and serotonin, which make you happier.

“While I don’t partake in them, I don’t think a glass of alcohol, beer or wine, hurts. However, you should never go to bed intoxicated because that will mess up everything, including your microbiome, which is the 2 billion bacteria in your gut, something integral to your well-being overall.

2. Get a good night’s rest

“Head to bed on time as part of a calming nighttime routine. I go to bed every night at 10 p.m. and wake up at 4 or 5 a.m., ensuring that I get enough sleep for the day ahead, which I start with two hours of meditation and an hour of yoga.

“The secret to good sleep is dynamic activity during the day, and the secret of dynamic activity is deep, restful sleep at night. The two go hand in hand. When this equilibrium is achieved, good sleep is effortless,” Chopra wrote in a Heal Your Life blog post recently.

3. Just breathe

“Take a breathing break to take the pressure off. Observe your breath where you are, at your desk or anywhere. Start by consciously breathing in to the count of four and breathing out to the count of six, with a short pause in between.

“The normal breathing rate is about 14 breaths per minute, but if you follow this simple practice, you actually decrease your breathing to somewhere between eight to 10 breaths per minute. Doing so has a very direct positive effect on your biggest nerve [the sciatic nerve], which is your stress-reliever and what brings about cell regulation.”

4. Take a gratitude break

“Sit for five minutes and meditate and reflect on what you’re grateful for. Or, you can just be grateful for every breath for a couple of minutes at a time. Try using a simple mantra for manifesting gratitude, such as ‘I am.’ Repeat the mantra to yourself four or five times silently.”

5. Wind down once a day

“Embrace an active, daily stress-management routine. Once a day, make time to care for yourself by doing yoga or running, walking, watching comedy or getting a massage. You can also take in uplifting entertainment and culture, like art and music, poetry.”

6. Engage in nurturing relationships

“Make sure that the relationships you have are emotionally healthy and foster love, compassion, joy and equanimity. People who compliment you genuinely about your strengths actually have a great impact on your well-being and also on your productivity. Criticizing, condemning and victimizing aren’t helpful or productive…”

7. Get grounded

“I’ve recently been fascinated with the practice of grounding. It’s when people walk barefoot on the beach, the grass or other natural surfaces on the earth. They report that they feel better, in body and mind.

“The earth is a biosphere with negative and positive forces, like a battery, and your body is part of the battery. So take some time to walk barefoot on the earth, absorbing the free electrons, and recharge your battery.”

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