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5 Healthy Ways to Handle Stress Better

stress

5 Proven Ways to Handle Stress

While you’re juggling everyday responsibilities, life can get a bit hectic. Between work, home life responsibilities, staying healthy, and everything else, you can feel stress taking over. But caring for yourself doesn’t have to be an added stress. Incorporating the tips below could have you feeling centered again.

Table of Contents

Consequences of Stress on the Body

Stress, or rather bad stress, is the body’s reaction to something harmful. This can be something real or perceived as a threat. The body attempts to protect itself from this “harm” and because of this triggers its own stress response.

“During stress response, your heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises.” – WebMd

And while stress, in small doses, is natural and can sometimes be helpful, prolonged stress responses can be harmful to your body. If stress goes ignored or unchecked, you may end up having problems “such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Other effects of long terms stress can include –

  • Headaches
  • Overeating
  • Increased Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Risk of Heart Attack
  • Low Sex Drive

To lower the risks of developing these issues, use these easy techniques to better handle your response to stress.

How Can I Handle Stress Better?

Breathing exercises to decrease stress

Breathing Exercises

Controlled breathing exercises can bring oxygen into the body stimulating the brain and parasympathetic nervous system increasing a sense of calm and reduce an accelerated heart rate.

You can practice some breathing exercises like “relaxing breath” while standing in line at a store or even in a meeting for work.  While more focused breathing exercises, included the abdominal breathing technique, are best done in private in your own office, in your car, or at home where you can relax and even close your eyes while laying down.

 

Get physical to decrease stress

Get Physical

Hitting the road, treadmill, dancefloor, or spin class can do wonders for your stress levels. Physical exercise works with your body’s stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, lowering them to a more manageable level.  Exercise also raises endorphins elevating your mood in the process.

If you can make it happen, take the workout outdoors. Some studies have shown that the simple act of being outside can help reduce stress levels better than exercising indoors. And, as an added bonus, being in natural light can help to elevate serotonin levels, the feel-good hormone.

Hydrate to decrease stress

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

We have heard that it is very important to get our 8 glasses of water each and every day. Water helps with clearer skin, better digestion, removing toxins, but did you know that being properly hydrated can also help to reduce stress? Dehydration can lead to a variety of issues including increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

“Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that” – Amanda Carlson, RD, director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance

By keeping hydrated you can help to keep this hormone in check and be better prepared to face everyday problems.

Eat well to decrease stress

Eat Well

You intend to eat well, but the hustle and bustle of daily living can cause your eating schedule to get off track. The truth is, you’re never to busy for good nutrition.

While we tend to make poor food choices when stressed, healthier food choices can help to reduce stress. A balanced diet can counter the side effects of long term stress by stabilizing moods and improving the immune system.

Foods to eat to combat stress –

  • Warm Tea, especially chamomile
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Bananas
  • Fatty Fish
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Oranges
  • Avocados
  • Leafy Greens

 

Rest to decrease stress

Get Your Rest

Lack of sleep can compound the effects of stress on the body, leading to a higher risk of heart disease and depression. Making sure you get restful sleep consistently can reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, allow more REM sleep, which can help with memory, mood regular, and possibly reduce stress. But how can you be more rested and get better sleep?
Ways to get better sleep –

  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
  • Don’t exercise too late in the day
  • Have a nightly routine before going to bed
  • Use calming scents, like lavender, in your bedroom

Other Stress-Reducing Options

Other options to help you feel more rested can be to take time for yourself throughout the day. It can be a walk outside, listening to music, or even reading a favorite book. You can also schedule a massage or energy work if you need a little extra help. If you decide to get a massage, ask your therapist if you can add essential oils including lavender, orange, and bergamot to help relax and center you during the service.

Hopefully, these easy to implement stress reducers find a way into your everyday life. Reducing your stress levels on a regular basis can be better for your heart, decrease depression, regulate your mood, and improve your sleep.


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