Stress and anxiety are extremely common. Almost all of us will have experienced some form of stress at some point in our lives. Whether that’s due to a stressful workplace, health concerns, financial worries or family issues. Stress is the body’s natural response to pressure and challenges. It is part of what is known as the fight-or-flight response and prepares us for potential threats or dangers, so that we can cope properly and avoid harm.
Whilst some stress isn’t harmful, persistent or chronic stress is linked to a number of health problems such as heart disease, depression and anxiety. Therefore, taking action to reduce stress in your life is important for your overall health and wellbeing. Here, we provide some stress busting tips to help you eliminate stress from your life.
Take a supplement
Vitamins and minerals play vital roles in brain function and mood regulation. If you are not eating a balanced diet, you will not be providing your body with the right nutrients to help it cope with stress.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in the nervous system and stress response and research suggests that magnesium supplements may help prevent deficiency and reduce stress.
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb known for its ability to help manage stress. By improving signalling in the brain and lowering cortisol levels, ashwagandha supplements can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Taking part in regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay. This is because exercise promotes the release of feel good endorphins and reduces the production of stress hormones. Physical activity can also help you sleep better, which is important for minimising stress. Recent studies have shown that exercise significantly helps improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Practising mindfulness and taking part in activities such as yoga and meditation can help with stress relief. By directing your focus to your body and your breath, these practices can help take you out of your head and away from worrying. They are often combined with rhythmic controlled breathing, which lowers your heart rate and provides plenty of oxygen to your brain to induce a calming effect. Mindfulness also helps reduce activity in the part of your brain that is responsible for initiating your stress response. Research suggests that yoga can increase levels of a neurotransmitter that is often low in people with depression.
Caffeine is a substance commonly found in tea, coffee and other drinks that stimulates the nervous system to increase feelings of alertness and prevent tiredness. Whilst a small amount of caffeine is considered unharmful, consuming large quantities can increase feelings of anxiety and stress. It may also cause sleep disturbances, which can further increase stress and mental health problems.
Eat a healthy diet
Your diet has a huge impact on your mental health. Foods high in sugar can actually increase stress levels and have been linked to depression. This is because when you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar levels increase and your body responds by releasing cortisol, a hormone that regulates blood sugar and stress. Elevated cortisol levels increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Ensuring you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides all the nutrients your brain needs to function properly is essential for helping you manage stress.
Minimising stress in your life as much as possible is important for your health and psychological wellbeing. Eliminating the factors that cause stress in your life can be difficult, but there are other steps you can take to achieve some well-needed stress relief. Eating a healthy diet, taking supplements, exercising, avoiding caffeine, and practising mindfulness are all powerful tools to reduce stress and anxiety. Other stress-relieving activities you can participate in include taking some time to yourself to practice self-care, connecting with friends and family, and spending some time in nature.