5 Ways to Help Manage Stress
When stress becomes overwhelming, it can take a major toll on our health and overall well-being. While extreme amounts of stress can affect our emotional state, it can also hurt our body’s immune, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems. That’s why it’s crucial to have effective methods to relieve stress, calming your mind and body when necessary. While we can’t always control our circumstances, we can minimize its impact by how we choose to eat, think, and live.
Here are five ways to help manage stress and live in the present moment.
It’s no surprise that meditation brings short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many forms of meditation, each with its own unique appeal. Try out a few methods and find what works best for you.
For some, repeating a mantra while taking slow breaths works wonders for relaxing the mind. Or, take a few minutes to practice mindfulness, which helps you focus on the present moment. Simply pay close attention to what you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell and feel yourself become more centered and focused.
One of the easiest ways to meditate is focusing on your breath. Try this simple exercise: breathe in through your nose and watch your belly fill with air. Slowly count to five as you inhale. Hold for five seconds, then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count to five again.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Food can either be your biggest ally, or your biggest enemy. It can cause stress levels to rise or fall, so it’s crucial to pay attention to what you’re eating. Stress can also increase your need for certain nutrients, like vitamin B, vitamin C, selenium, and magnesium. So next time you’re under pressure, make sure you’re eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet with these health tips:
- Eat regularly
Your brain needs fuel to function! Eating regularly throughout the day helps keep your blood glucose stable. Your body releases cortisol, insulin, and ghrelin when stressed, ramping up hunger for unhealthy snacks. Regularly eating nutritious meals will help combat those stress induced cravings.
- Consume healthy fats
Omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flax seeds, and avocados are all associated with brain function. These healthy essential acids are known to reduce stress and anxiety, promote concentration, and boost your mood.
- Eat your veggies
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals like copper, zinc, manganese, and vitamins A, E, and C. These vitamins and minerals neutralize harmful molecules that are produced when your body is under stress.
- Add high-fiber foods
Eating a diet rich in fiber is shown to improve alertness and decrease overall stress levels. Try adding foods like oatmeal, nuts, beans, fruits (like apples and bananas) to your diet.
- Trade caffeine for more sleep
Since caffeine and stress can elevate cortisol levels, consuming high amounts of caffeine can lead to negative health effects. Instead of turning to coffee for a boost of energy, start working on practicing better sleep patterns to reduce your need to caffeinate in the first place. Most adults require 7-9 hours of good sleep every night. Sleeping in a dark, relaxing, and clean space, along with eliminating screen time two hours before bed, are great sleep strategies.
- Stock up on healthy snacks
If you know a stressful time is approaching, stock up on quick, nutritious snacks, such as almonds, carrots with hummus, fruit, or our vegan protein bars!
Make Time For Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be an amazing way to relieve stress, yet many people feel too busy for extra hobbies or travel. When we feel better, we perform better, which means that taking time for yourself can actually make you more efficient at work. Make time to be outside, enjoy the day with friends, and do what genuinely makes you happy. This may seem obvious, but these actions can make all the difference when managing stress.
Gratitude makes us recognize all the things we’re thankful for, detaching us from stressful moments. Whether you’re thankful for a sunny day or for good health, savoring a positive experience can significantly reduce feelings of stress. Studies indicate that people who show gratitude daily enjoy improved mental health, lower stress, and a better quality of life. So, be grateful every day - and keep stress at bay.
Exercising every day can bring extraordinary mental benefits. Exercise reduces levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that alter mood. Endorphins are responsible for the “runners high” you get after a long run or a great workout, however, you don’t need an intense workout to get these mental benefits. Even a quick walk, run, swim, or dance session can provide immediate stress relief. Yoga is another great way to clear your mind, as it combines physical movement, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing – all of which provide excellent stress relief.
Take It All In
Daily life can be hectic, but with a few simple techniques, you too can manage stress effectively – to calm your mind, relax your body and live in the present.