My Advice to the Presidential Candidates—and to You
Every nightly news broadcast, every talk radio show, every newspaper front page, everywhere we’re bombarded with information and opinions about this year’s presidential election. It can be difficult not to get caught up in the frenzy of it all.
But if you think we’re getting caught up in it, what must the candidates (and their families) be going through? Never-ending media appearances, frequent travel, meals on the run, and dealing with the emotional impact of it all must be causing a great deal of stress and anxiety for them all.
Not only is stress an uncomfortable feeling, it can also be quite dangerous. Stress is a leading cause of disease. All of the candidates are insanely busy trying to win votes but I’d love to have just 15 minutes alone with each of them.
Here’s what I’d tell the candidates…
I’d beg them to be cognizant of what they’re putting their bodies through and to do whatever they can to alleviate the incredible amount of stress they’re under. For one it may be prayer and meditation that helps, for another it might be a blend of supplements or listening to 10 minutes of soothing music. In all cases I would urge them to exercise every day.
Whatever the remedy may be, I’d encourage them—and I encourage you—to find “stress-busters” and make the time to do them consistently. If we don't adapt to our stresses, our bodies can produce too much of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can lead to stress-related illnesses like heart disease.
What can YOU do to handle stress?
- Fortify your body with B vitamins, which are quickly depleted from your body during times of stress. I recommend taking 250 mg of niacin three times daily and slowly working up to 1-2 grams daily in divided doses (many people notice flushing as they start taking niacin, so don’t be alarmed). I also recommend taking vitamin B6, 40 mg daily; vitamin B12, 500 mcg daily; and folic acid, 200–400 mcg daily.
- Exercise. One of the best antidotes for stress is physical activity. Exercise not only works the stress out of your muscles, it also stimulates your body’s creation of feel-good endorphins. So, grab your walking shoes and take advantage of the crisp fall air to take a brisk walk.
- Look at the glass as half full. Research has found that optimists are not only happier, they’re also healthier, live longer, and recover from illnesses better than those with less cheery outlooks. Optimists interpret events in a way that gives them hope to keep on trying. Pessimists look at an event with a negative slant.
- Breathe! Proper breathing is one way to reduce stress. When you find yourself under stress, focus on your breathing. The act of observing your breathing will cause feeling, rather than thought, to take over. Intense feeling activates healing mechanisms.
- Make time for simple pleasures, such as reflecting, spending time with family and friends, reading, meditating, listening to music, or practicing yoga.
Now it’s your turn: How do you release stress?
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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