Unfortunately we cannot avoid stress, it is unavoidable in modern day to day life. But there are ways you can fight stress quite easily.
Think of your daily stress levels, how would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10? with 10 being the most stressed.
If you are at the high end of the scale then don’t worry you are not alone, many high achievers are in the same boat as you. Even a mid level score like 5-7 is nothing to just brush aside, it is quite easy to blame your job, partner or even money to your stress.
If you are 5 or above then you most likely have multiple stress triggers that are giving you headaches and other aches and pains day after day.
Unfortunately excessive stress can lead to future health problems like weight gain, depression, anxiety and heart problems, you can’t get rid of all stress but there is no reason why you cannot cut some of it down a little bit, here is a quick few steps you can use to help this:
This can be known as your ‘stress journal’, however if this proves too negative whereby you are constantly venting your anger out on people who have annoyed you or bad situations at work etc. then just keep it as a journal.
You do not have to write a biography type diary to see the benefit, a few short sentences here and there will be adequate. Even just taking note of the fact you are high on the stress scale can show you that something needs to be done. Writing what is happening in your life and how you feel about it can go a long way.
Writing has a great relaxation effect on your mind giving you a great emotional release and start putting these out of your mind, revisit these points the next time you read your journal and you might be able to think of a solution.
Nothing in life is naturally stressful, stress is simply a state mentally of how you perceive or view a situation. It does not mean it is not real but does mean that you can change the way you look at the event. This is known as ‘cognitive reframing’ and has shown itself to be very effective to many people with a wide range of problems.
There are many ways to change the thought process, you can open yourself up to more possibilities, you could look for a weakness and then view the strength you are developing from this, no matter what background you are from, everybody is able to create new possibilities you never thought were possible.
Magnesium lowers the levels of cortisol in the body which is the main hormone released when you are stressed and also what is linked to most health problems. When cortisol levels are very high then you risk muscle loss, depression, sleep disruption and overall poor sense of well being.
These are also the same symptoms of magnesium deficiency, nuts are a great way to get the magnesium into your diet, almost any type of nut will do, they also provide healthy doses of essential fatty acids, potassium, protein and other macro and micro nutrients.
If you are stressed about the day ahead then take some time to eat something filling and hot. Oatmeal is packed with complex carbs that provide a steady energy supply over the course of a morning.
These slow burner carbs also release serotonin into your body which can actually help induce the feeling of calmness.
Not all carbs will help reduce your stress levels. Some simple carbs found in highly processed food , drinks, sugars and refined flour will cause an instant blood sugar spike followed by a sugar crash. This can put you in an energy dip making stress seem 10 times worse than it is.
This sudden change in blood sugar levels puts a lot of stress on the body as well, stick with complex carbohydrates and fruit and veg instead.
Sometimes stress gradually sneaks up behind you and others it hits you in a huge wave of panic. The natural response to this is to start breathing more shallowly, you should avoid this.
When this happens again start taking deep breaths for a full minute, this will get more oxygen to the body and brain which will in turn produce a calming sensation that helps you regain control over your emotions.
Deep breathing is actually so effective you will wonder why you haven’t always done it, just doing this can massively change how you feel.
Exercise really helps to relieve stress, you don’t necessarily have to be killing yourself on a treadmill either, sometimes a brisk walk is all it takes to clear your head, even just 10 minutes can be enough to clear your head.
Walk a few times every day.
Cutting sugar from our diets can be very hard for some of us, the key here however is to be strategic about indulgences. Chocolate can help battle stress but you must stick to dark chocolate only here.
Chocolate has many different properties that release endorphins in the brain, these are found in the cocoa ingredient of chocolate, a good rule of thumb to follow is to buy chocolate with as high a cocoa percentage as you can stomach.
Whenever you imagine someone stressed out you probably think of them next to a huge stack of paperwork with a large cup of tea or coffee in their hand. You may be of the opinion that you need a steady flow of caffiene throughout the day to get through it.
The thing is lots of caffeine increases cortisol and adrenaline production. If this happens over many months or years this can wear out your adrenal gland which can lead to fatigue, anxiety or mood swings. Over time this leads to more stress and problems and less energy.
Sometimes it seems that the only you can relax in life is to work as hard as you can until all your obligations are met, you should have a small part of your life that is just for you and something which you can absorb yourself in and go with the flow.
You should be able to do something without any guilt and they should consume you whilst you do them. Doing something socially also helps and can increase your happiness level, really all you need is something that clears out all your worries and makes you feel good such as working out.
These are just a few of the ways that you can start to fight stress fir a more relaxed future.
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