Best Ways to Combat Stress
Not only can stress make you look visibly older, it can also increase your risk of developing a serious disease. Chronic stress (stress over a prolonged period of time) can increase your risk of cancer, lung disease and even liver disease if you are using alcohol to help you unwind. Stress can also affect our moods.
Neuroscientists at New York University found that even mild stress levels can affect our emotions and make us more likely to fly off the handle. Stress can damage your heart, too. Your heart rate increases when you’re stressed, forcing your heart to work harder, and it also increases your blood pressure. Clearly there are many good reasons to combat stress, but if you can’t completely remove it from your life, there are ways you can change your lifestyle so that you can cope with it better. Here are some of the best ways to combat stress.
Sort Your Diet
Make simple yet sustainable changes to your diet. Some foods contain ingredients that will actually help you calm down. Oily fish, chicken, turkey, wholegrains, berries and nuts are all good choices. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, consume nuts only in moderation as they are also high in calories.
Reduce Caffeine and Sugar
Too much sugar will lead to weight gain, which can make you more stressed if you’re unhappy with your figure. But caffeine, sugar, chocolate and pastries can also contribute to increased stress. Sugar and caffeine will give you a temporary high, but you will end up with a crash in energy levels, which will affect your mood.
Find Something You Love
Even if you can’t get rid of stress, find an activity or a hobby that brings you pleasure and do it as much as you can. Doing what you love at least for a little time in the day may give you joy. Time out from the source of the stress now and then will help you unwind and give you more resilience to cope with daily problems and stresses.
Get a Pet
Research indicates that those with animals are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Dog and cat owners are reported to have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without animals, and it’s thought that stroking a cat can reduce your blood pressure by up to 30%. Plus, research shows that pet owners over the age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to the GP than those without pets.
Taking regular exercise and getting fit will reduce your stress levels because exercise releases feel-good endorphins. You may find it a challenge to exercise after a stressful day, but that’s the time when you will benefit most. Usually, fatigue caused by stress is more mental than physical, so even if you don’t feel like it, vow to exercise for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes, you’ll want to do more.
Eat Lot of Anti-oxidants
For a stress-free diet, consume plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain bread and pasta; foods high in vitamin A, such as oranges; foods high in magnesium like spinach, soybeans or salmon; and antioxidant-rich black and green tea. Antioxidant foods lower the stress levels by fighting the free radicals that damage the cells in your body.
Switch Your Brain off at Night
To be at your most resilient, you need to rest well at night. If you have trouble sleeping, try having a warm drink and reading a fictional (non-stressful) book before you turn off the lights. Avoid watching late-night TV with graphics or violent scenes and keep technology out of the bedroom so that you’re not tempted to check emails or do some work. or do some work.
Get Enough Sleep
Most of us need between six and eight hours’ sleep per night, but some people may need more than that. Work out how much you need to function well. If you struggle to drop off at night and your mind is constantly buzzing, try some meditation before you go to bed. Try using Calm, an app that provides guided meditations with different themes, including one that focuses on releasing anxiety.
Keep a Journal
Even if you don’t write something every day, just write your thoughts down, especially what’s been worrying you whenever you have time. This can be quite therapeutic. Jotting down things will help you as reminders and also prioritize things to be hassle-free. Doing things in an order will keep your stress levels as low as possible.
Set Some Boundaries
Stress can be caused by too much work, leaving you feeling that the balance isn’t where you’d like it to be. You’ll find it harder to maintain balance in your routine if you’re not clear what good balance looks like, so be diligent in planning and making time for the things you enjoy and that nourish your overall success.