We know by now that stress is not something to ignore. In fact, chronic stress can pose some real health risks to your body. When chronic stress develops into long-term stress, it can lead to high blood pressure, chest pains, chronic digestive issues, insomnia, panic attacks, and even depression.In order to maintain a healthy body, mind, and soul, here are 10 ways to manage your stress for peace of mind.
Eliminate Your TriggersTake a moment to contemplate on what, or who, is causing you to feel stressed. Some ideas: your job, your relationship with someone specific, or maybe even your diet? If you can identify triggers then you can start to work towards eliminating your triggers. If you can’t eliminate the trigger entirely, then how can you reduce your interaction with or approach towards that trigger?
If you’re struggling to identify your stress triggers, then consider keeping a stress journal. Simply note moments when you feel stressed and try to notice if you can find a pattern.
Maintain A Balanced Diet & Avoid Sugar
Although eating well hasn't been proven to have a direct connection to stress reduction, eating healthy and staying away from refined sugar can make you feel a lot better - physically and mentally. You may start to develop more energy and in turn, become more focused and productive. Being alert and on top of your to-do list can also help reduce work-related stress.
There are numerous supplements available that promote stress reduction - you’ll actually be spoilt for choice! 3 great options are:
- Ashwagandha: A natural remedy loved by the Ayurvedic community, ashwagandha is known for treating stress and anxiety.
- Green Tea: Easily accessible and effective, green tea contains polyphenol antioxidants which can increase serotonin levels (known as the ‘happy’ chemical).
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: According to this study, Omega 3 Fatty Acids helped medical students reduce their anxiety by 20%.
Refrain From StimulantsWhile it might be tempting to turn to a glass (or more) of alcohol, the side effects are not worth it. Besides straining your wallet, alcohol can strain your mental health, too, as it’s classified as a depressant. As for everything else, it's about balance. If you always turn to alcohol "to relax", cutting down can be hard - but comes with many benefits.
Another hard fact to swallow: caffeine is a stimulant that infamously causes jitters.
Set Boundaries & Say ‘No’ MoreSaying ‘no’ more can be liberating as it will provide you with more time to focus on yourself, as opposed to doing things you don’t want to do or meeting people you don't feel like seeing. Again, it will be hard to set boundaries and to say ‘no’. Just remember that your overall health should always be at the top of your priority list. Once you start saying ‘no’, it will only get easier and easier as your self-love deepens.
Move Your BodyWorking out can help to reduce stress, so if you still are not exercising, then it's time to get moving! Even just 15 minutes a day is enough for your body to start producing endorphins - a chemical known for making people feel ecstatic.
Why not hit up your favourite class at the gym, go for a run, or a long walk?
Connect To Your BreathWhen faced with a stressful situation, the body automatically reacts by going into fight or flight mode. This means your heart rate increases, breathing becomes shallow, you get a dry mouth, and might experience other unpleasant sensations. The first thing to do in situations like that is to take a slow, deep breath. Then take another. For a more long-term solution, find a meditation or breathwork technique that resonates with you and practice it daily - even if just for ten minutes.
Get Lost (Safely)Reading is often an underrated cure for stress. It’s been proven to increase relaxation which, of course, helps with stress. A study conducted by the University of Sussex found that participants who read for merely six minutes began exhibiting slower heart rates and reduced stress levels.
Remember: Reading comic books is still reading.
Schedule In Time For Your HobbiesDo you get enough play in your life? Those moments where you are doing something purely for the pleasure of it - no expectations, no deadlines? Moments like that allow your body, and mind, to unwind and relax. If you haven’t quite found a hobby then start experimenting. If you have, start scheduling in time to continue your (perhaps long lost) hobby.
Set Yourself Up For A Good SleepIt’s undeniable: A bad night of sleep often results in lower energy levels, which then affects your mood and/ or leads to stress. In order to avoid a restless night, why not set up your room to be conducive to sleep like a queen/king? You can try lighting candles, using a diffuser, playing soothing music, utilising an eye mask, and so much more.
Yes, forming new habits can be challenging. You will thank yourself later when the quality of your life improves! Don’t forget that for every problem, there is always a solution - and often is a lot about your mindset and how you approach different situations.
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