julia-yarbough-newnbc_web.jpgThe stock market is sliding. Thousands of Americans are losing their jobs. There is constant fear that your company may be the next to announce layoffs.
We are facing a daily barrage of statistics and stories serious enough to cause even the most stable and solid person to waver; to feel stress creeping through their system. These are not times for the weak of heart or the weak of mind and body.

What is the common link between all the forces weighing on Americans these days? It is all out of our control!

But there are at least two things we do have complete control over. One, how we choose to face the current reality, and two, taking good care of our bodies and health.

Remaining healthy is perhaps more important now than ever! All of us need to be at the top of our games mentally and physically, and the only way to do that is to fuel our bodies properly with healthy, nutritious foods, proper exercise and sufficient amounts of sleep.

Like any fine-tuned machine that must operate at full capacity, our bodies are now being asked to do more for us and our respective employers on a daily basis.

So how important is it that we put our health and bodies first in order to battle stress? I put that question to fitness professional and Certified Personal Trainer Gregg Avedon.

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle breeds confidence,’’ he said. “It helps create a clear mind and gives you more energy and a sense of personal accomplishment. Being active whether doing resistance training or taking a yoga class will elevate your metabolic rate (the process of burning more calories), thus you will sleep better and you will feel an overall sense of well-being. This translates into improved productivity in the workplace…”

The old adage, “we are what we eat’’ also comes into play. It’s important to consider maintaining a diet of foods that provide high energy but are low in fat and sodium.  Avedon advises avoiding breaded and fried foods, choosing foods instead that are as close to their natural state as possible, and eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Facing and beating the stress can also be a state of mind. If we can’t change the outside forces, we can change our reactions.

My coping strategy?  Listening to my favorite music, adding in extra exercise, and getting to the beach more often. It falls in line with what fitness experts suggest.

Avedon has this advice for his clients:  “Go outside and look at the horizon. People are all about what’s right in front of them – the TV, newspaper, their Blackberry. But the moment you step outside and look at the horizon, you realize there’s more to the world, and immediately things begin to change.”

Editor’s Note: Julia Yarbough, a news anchor at NBC 6, writes periodically on her outdoor and other adventures.