Many people think of stress as unpleasant situations in their lives. For some, it may be how their boss treats them. For others it may be a physical condition such as an illness or a death in the family. Actually stress is our response to these situations, not the situations themselves.

Challenging life situations happen to all of us. The more energy and vitality we have, the more easily we meet and adapt to challenging situations.

These 9 healthy lifestyle habits build a natural foundation of energy and vitality. They help us become more resilient to the challenges of life. They help to minimize the stress response.

1. Breathe slowly and deeply several times a day.

Breath is essential to life. It brings required oxygen for metabolism. It carries away toxins we no longer need. When we are caught in a stress response, our breathing tends to become rapid and shallow. When we breathe slowly and deeply we relax.

2. Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water every day.

This practice supports our healthy hydration. We lose fluid every day as part of our natural body processes. When we fail to replace it we can become mildly or severely dehydrated. Virtually every biochemical reaction in our bodies requires adequate water. To function with optimum health drink pure water or herb tea and avoid caffeinated drinks.

3. Eat a diet rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetables.

These plant sources of nutrition provide ideal natural fuel for healthy vital bodies. Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds nourish us with calories, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are vital for optimum health.

4. Allow yourself adequate deep sleep -- at least 7 hours per night.

Restful sleep is essential for maintaining health. It allows our bodies to repair and rejuvenate after a long active day. After a good night sleep, most people find the next day flows with greater ease, less stress and more happiness.

5. Exercise regularly. Move and be physically active every day.

Movement is essential to our health and well being. Regular exercise strengthens the efficiency of our immune systems. It gives us energy. It helps reduce excess stress hormones. It builds strength and the ability to respond to challenging situations more easily.

6. Balance work and play.

Even for adults, play is important. Allowing time for play helps us recharge emotionally after we have worked hard. Play renews our spirits and enables us to meet the challenges of life more creatively so they feel less stressful.

7. Practice prayer and meditation daily.

This is essential to help us adapt to the challenges and situations we face. Prayer and meditation bring acceptance of what we can not change. They also bring insights into what we can change so that life flows with greater joy and peace.

8. Be consistently kind to yourself and others.

Be kind with your thoughts as well as your actions. Kindness nourishes, soothes and heals our emotions. It reduces stressful feelings of isolation. Kindness connects us with the more beautiful aspects of life. It makes life worth living.

9. Discover your life purpose by asking yourself, "What helps me feel joy, or a sense of accomplishment?"

Then take systematic action steps to fulfill it. When we know from within our own hearts, why we are here, life does not feel so stressful. Purpose brings energy and clarity. We are able to be more efficient and effective with our time and resources. Working toward our life purpose counteracts stress. It promotes a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

There are many other effective natural stress relief techniques and habits. However these 9 healthy habits help prevent stress by providing a strong basic foundation for energy and vitality. 

If you still need additional help, The Body Complete Kit (HCG) contains stress busting Adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea. Discover here.

by Gail Stein