We all know that stress can build up quickly and cause health problems ranging from decreased energy levels to impeding weight loss.
The good news is that ultimately stress comes from within and we can take specific steps to help manage stress.
When the world feels like it’s caving in on you, these 5 tips can go a long way toward helping you relax, find some inner peace, and improve your health and well-being.
A few of the following 5 tips to manage stress are easy to implement, whereas others may take a little bit more planning. At the end of the day, the more you can incorporate into your life, the better your odds of managing stress for the long-term.
1. Switch out Coffee for Green Tea
Both contain caffeine (allowing for a release of cortisol), but green tea also has an amino acid theanine, which is the precursor to the calming neurotransmitter, GABA. In other words, not only will you have a small energy boost, but you should also have an increased calming effect from drinking green tea over coffee.1
2. Deep Breathing
Taking 10 Deep Breathes helps stimulate a nerve that connects to the calming centers in your brain. Typically, taking 10 breathes at a rate of 4-5 seconds in, holding for 4-8 seconds and breathing out for 5-10 seconds can stimulate that nerve and cause an overall calming effect. Put one hand on your belly and one on your chest, then take a big breath into your belly, then into your chest and repeat. 2
3. Workout Consistently
Working out helps to both control the increased inflammation from stress while also helping to improve your cell’s receptors for both insulin and leptin. In addition, working out helps to burn all of the extra fatty acids released from cortisol’s release. 3 If you can’t get a full workout in when stressed, sometimes going for a walk will help to burn off some energy and clear out your thoughts. Every little bit helps.
4. Be Prepared with Healthy Food
The easiest way to control your blood sugar, especially when you’re overly stressed, is by eating nutritious food. By doing so, you influence the insulin/cortisol cycle while helping regulate your brain’s neurotransmitters. By controlling your brain’s neurotransmitters, you allow your body the opportunity to better control your stress over the long-run. Typically, protein-rich foods help to form the foundation of dopamine and acetylcholine (attention and focus) neurotransmitters, while healthy sources of carbs, such as fruits, vegetables and sweet potatoes help to create serotonin, which has a calming effect.
5. Start a Grateful Log
Recent research has shown very positive results with starting a Grateful Log. A grateful log is relatively easy to do and simply requires you write down 5 things you’re grateful for, every day. By doing so, you allow yourself focus on the positive in your life, which helps to lower your overall stress levels and realize you might not have it “too bad.” You can start with things, such as your health, the ability to see, your family, a roof over your head, access to this article 😉 and anything else you can think of. Try not to repeat anything for two weeks straight and you might start seeing that “I have it pretty good.”
At the end of the day, these are 5 suggestions that have been shown to help decrease stress levels, but what’s more important is finding something that helps you to relax and control your stress levels.
Hope you enjoyed the article and were able to learn something that you can apply to your own life.
Do you have any tips that help you manage stress? Leave a comment!
- Shilo L, Sabbah H, Hadari R, Kovatz S, Weinberg U, Dolev S, Dagan Y, Shenkman L. The effects of coffee consumption on sleep and melatonin secretion . Sleep Med. May;3(3):271-3. 2002. ↩
- Hayama Y, Inoue T. The effects of deep breathing on ‘tension-anxiety’ and fatigue in cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy . NCBI. 2012 May; 18(2):94-8.2011. ↩
- Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty, F. Exercise For Mental Health . J Clin Psychiatry. 8(2): 106. 2006. ↩