I was reading an article recently about teenagers being more stressed out than adults. The American Psychological Association gave a Stress in America survey to 1,000 teenagers and 2,000 adults. The survey asked about their overall stress levels and coping habits. Many of the teenagers reported feeling extreme stress during the school year due to school, work, family and friends. This extreme stress caused them to feel angry, anxious and depressed. In fact, the extreme stress that adults reported feeling actually started back in their adolescent years. Then the article said that the stress-related behaviors such as lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits contributed to this unhealthy stress.

While reading that part of the article, I stopped and said out loud, "eat well, sleep well and exercise." This is the very thing I keep telling myself, my family and my customers again and again for healthy living. I always knew this would keep us physically well, but this way of thinking will also keep us emotionally well (one of the seven dimensions of wellness).

My family can tell you that I live the xample of what I teach. We try to eat as healthy as possible, sleep well each night and get daily exercise. In fact, the other day I started smiling when I put my kids' muddy, dirty jeans in the wash. They had just been playing in the yard. Kids' jeans should be mudy and torn from goold old yard play. I also smile every time my kids sit down to practice the piano because the piano has taken the place of the video games in our house (not that we played a lot of video games). I have a few more years before my kids hit adolescence. I'm hoping that teaching these healthy behaviors to my kids at a young age will carry over into adolesence and they won't be affected by this extreme stress caused by poor living choices.

Yes, healthy living is a choice. A choice to get up and move. A choice to eat flavorful and healthy foods. A choice to turn off the TV, Internet, social media, video games and enjoy the quiet time and meditation. Who knows? You may even find  yourself going to bed earlier and enjoying your sleep. Here's to you choosing good health.

About the author: Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Seaford. Email your questions to jsouder@actslife.org.

reduce stress by living healthier