Avoiding stress is an impossible task for most today. It just isn’t realistic to think you can completely erase it form your life. The effects of stress not only affect you mentally, stress can also indirectly do a number on your waistline too. It’s difficult to excel at work, sports, or much of anything if stress is impairing your concentration, energy, and judgment. Stress can be a demotivating element in all aspects of your life, if you’re unable to manage it. To keep stress from negatively impacting your life, you just have to find the stress management technique that best works for you.
Working out not only keeps you in shape, it can work as a great stress reliever too. It provides an outlet for any built-up anger and frustration you’ve been dealing with at the office. A morning run allows you to escape from your hectic life and re-connect with yourself. If you have the option to take that jog on some trails, it could be even more calming.
Keeping your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day by eating small meals every three hours can prevent sugar highs and lows. Complex carbs like whole-grain breads, starchy vegetables and beans digest slowly, so they won’t cause spikes in your insulin levels.
Vegetables can help increase the production of serotonin in your brain. This is because the L-tryptophan (an amino acid that increases serotonin levels) in vegetables may be better absorbed than other sources.
Not only can yoga be relaxing, it can also have an effect on cortisol levels (helps the body us sugar and fat for energy, and manages stress levels). A study by The Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University found that cortisol levels dropped by 50 percent after individuals took one yoga class. Dr. George Brainard measured the cortisol levels of 16 people before and after a 50-minute yoga session and also before and after a 50-minute rest period. Their cortisol levels decreased more after the yoga session than after the rest period.
Talk About It
Don’t keep your stress bottled up inside. Having people to talk to about your issues helps get a different perspective on things, releases some of your ongoing burden, and can even make them seems less overwhelming. You might even get some great perspective from someone who’s been in a similar situation. If your stressful situation is extremely serious, you may even want to see your family doctor, who’ll have a host of other suggestions to help get you better. If your stress is work related, sit down with your boss and let them know what you’re going through. Often times employers offer an assistance program for this exact situations. Although it may feel like it, you’re not alone.
Do-Anywhere Coping Methods
Try out these useful and relaxing de-stressors when things are getting a little too intense:
Breathing: Some deep, slow abdominal breaths can have an overall calming effect, slow your heart rate, and give you some much needed clarity.
Visualization: Picturing a positive resolution to a sticky situation can help you determine the steps needed to get to your optimum goal.
Self-Massage: While daily full body massages are unrealistic for most, self-massaging areas like your eyes, forehead, and even hands can help relieve some unwanted tension.
Relaxation Exercises: Tensing and then relaxing your muscles one at a time can bring an immediate feeling of relaxation.
Laughing: As simple as it sounds, laughing can be a huge de-stressor, relieving physical tension in the body and releasing feel-good hormones and endorphins to put you in a more comfortable state.
Journaling: If sharing verbally isn’t an option or just too intimate, journaling can provide many of the same benefits, allowing you to vent, clear your head, and put things in perspective.
Sleep: Getting enough rest at night can be more helpful than you realize. When you’re overtired, that lack of energy can compound your stress levels, making it more difficult to concentrate, focus, and be alert. Many sleep experts suggest that adults (18+) should be getting a minim of 7 hours of sleep a night, ideally closer to 9 if possible.