A reader wrote into my Forbes column this week to ask about how stress can impact physical health.
(If you sent this question, thank you! It's a doozy, and a really important one!)
As you may know, that list of repercussions is long. Stress can cause muscle tension, aches and pains, digestive problems, insomnia, and changes in appetite and weight, among other symptoms.
But I didn't want to hover for too long on the damage stress can do without acknowledging the flip side:
"You don’t always have to heal from the inside out; you can also heal from the outside in. Along with any clinical support you need, research shows that physical activity is a powerful way to boost your mood, energy, work performance and engagement with people and activities you love. This cascade of positive reinforcements can improve your psychological well-being and quality of life, and it takes less effort than you might think."
Check out the article to learn more about 3 Ways Your Body Can Help Boost Your Mood, and how low-stress and accessible those changes can be.
Send your own anonymous question to me at Hey, Health Coach! I'd love to know what's on your mind.
A Sense of Smell
Speaking of stress, a new study from Queen's University Belfast reports that dogs can sniff out stress in humans with an average of 93% accuracy. If you've ever noticed that your pup hovers a bit closer when you're upset, this would explain it! They really do know what's going on, and apparently they want to help!
A different study looking at the influence of nature smells on human health and happiness came out this year, as well. Turns out, the scent of fresh air can have a profound impact on our well-being, making us feel significantly more relaxed and refreshed. If you're not able to make it all the way to the woods, just stepping outside for a few deep breaths can boost your sense of physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and global well-being—especially if you can do it away from urban noise and pollution.
My article on eco-therapy for Forbes was one of the most widely-read Hey, Health Coach pieces ever. For a reminder on how it can work for you, read more here!
Southern Festival of Books
On October 15th, I have the honor of moderating a panel at the Southern Festival of Books from 10-11 am at the Nashville Public Library Room 1B. If you are in Nashville, I would love to see you there!
If you're not local but interested in deeply moving and illuminating accounts of how slave labor built this country and how we can work together to heal those wounds, check out these two new releases that we'll be talking about on the panel:
Black Hands White House: Slave Labor and the Making of America by Renee K. Harrison
My Old Kentucky Home: The Astonishing Life and Reckoning of an Iconic American Song by Emily Bingham
This is the first year the festival is back 100% in person, and I can't wait!
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Past posts can be found HERE.