April 25, 2019
Stress is a part of human evolution. However, in today’s chaotic world, our supply and demand of emotional resources have become a chronic issue. When not managed, stress can start to impact your quality of life, as well as the relationships you have with others. When we are stressed, anxious, or worried, our body’s “fight or flight” response kicks up our adrenaline, causing our hearts to beat faster, our breaths to get shallower, and our minds to narrow on the perceived threat. Although it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all stress, we can take control and manage its effects on ourselves.
Four Natural Ways to Reduce Stress
Exercise should be a part of everyone’s stress management system. In addition to reducing stress hormones, physical activity produces endorphins that improve our mood, act as natural painkillers, and improve sleep – all of which are needed to reduce stress.
As few as 10 minutes, each day can help decrease stress and anxiety. The goal of mindful meditation is to release tension from the body, find focus, and center the mind. By training your mind to be fully present, you can un-crowd your mind of the thoughts that may be causing stress (it’s harder then you think!), heighten your emotional awareness, learn how to respond to situations in a way that prevents stress.
Quit Drinking & Smoking & Reduce Caffeine
Although alcohol’s initial effects may be calming, it’s sedative nature is only a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time- the same can be said with smoking. Research also shows that smoking can alter the pathways in the brain that are linked to anxiety.
Caffeine, on the other hand, is a central nervous system stimulant (CNS) and a psychoactive drug. We’ve all experienced the jitters after a caffeine hit and if you are trying to manage stress, reducing or eliminating caffeine may significantly improve symptoms and help sleep (which is a major issue with stress). Research shows that caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety disorders.
Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
Matthew J. Kuchan, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at Abbott states that ” A healthy diet builds a solid, more enduring foundation for your body by reducing oxidation and inflammation and by helping to reduce weight gain.” Your body is able to handle stress better when your diet is nutritious. Try to incorporate foods high in antioxidants like blueberries and dark chocolate; omega-3’s like salmon and avocados; and vitamin C & E found in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens. Research has suggested that artificial flavourings, colouring, and preservatives cause symptoms such as irritability, mood changes, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Eating a natural and nutrient dense diet along with water is one of the best ways for stress prevention and management.