Serenity now: Stress relief made simple
It’s no secret that too much stress can leave you feeling frazzled irritable and wiped out — but over time it can also have a negative effect on your health. High levels of stress increase your body’s production of the hormone cortisol notes the Mayo Clinic which can lead to issues like weight gain heart disease digestion problems and trouble sleeping.
Fortunately stress relief itself doesn’t need to be stressful. By making simple changes to your daily routine you can take steps toward feeling cool and collected and increase your odds of remaining unruffled when a crisis does strike. Here are five ideas to try:
- Plan ahead when possible: Constantly feeling rushed or surprised is guaranteed to make you feel frenzied. To minimize the number of stress-causing curveballs in your day map out your schedules and obligations in advance. Review your calendar for the upcoming week on Sunday afternoons when things are quiet. And make tomorrow’s to-do list at the end of today so you don’t find yourself scrambling in the morning.
- Get enough sleep: Simply put more shuteye equals more stress relief: Adults who log the recommended eight hours of sleep per night report feeling less stressed overwhelmed and impatient than those who skimp on snooze time a recent American Psychological Association (APA) survey found.
- Exercise: Nearly two-thirds of adults who work out to manage their stress say that doing so is very effective notes the APA. That’s because your brain pumps out more feel-good endorphins when you get moving. What’s more regular exercise is thought to lower symptoms of anxiety and help you sleep better.
- Choose the right foods: Eating a healthy diet doesn’t just help you feel good physically. When the going gets tough many wholesome foods can also help you cope mentally and emotionally. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains and sweet potatoes increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin which is linked to feelings of well-being and deliver a long-lasting energy boost. Iron-rich picks like beef and spinach can help prevent mood swings notes the New York Times. Loading up on magnesium-rich foods like almonds and black beans helps too since magnesium deficiency can lead to fatigue.
- Make time for relaxing activities: Like exercising and getting enough sleep taking time to unwind should be a daily priority. Activities like meditation yoga journaling light reading or simply sitting outside and listening to nature are rejuvenating and restorative and can help stop small stressors from snowballing into something that feels overwhelming. If you have to pencil relaxation time into your calendar — and stick to it.
Relieving your stress can help you feel better both mentally and physically. Once you start reaping the feel-good benefits of the changes you make to reduce stress keeping up with them just might become even easier.
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