What does stress do to your body?
Stress is detrimental to your mental health and your physical health. Chronic stress suppresses your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to diseases.
It can increase the risk of autoimmune and heart diseases, cause sleep problems, and even upset your digestive and reproductive systems.
Stress can also manifest on your body by causing skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
Dealing with stress isn’t always easy, but you can effectively manage your stress levels by starting with a few of these daily habits.
Switch your morning coffee with tea
When they wake up, most people turn off their alarm, maybe scroll on their phone a little bit, then get out of bed to make themselves a cup of coffee.
However, caffeine counteracts adenosine – a relaxation chemical that helps you sleep. It releases hormones that cause your body to produce adrenaline, putting you in fight or flight mode.
If you are already having difficulties falling asleep or waking up, try giving up caffeine to reset your brain.
Getting better sleep can also help tremendously when trying to reduce your stress levels.
Plan out your day
Being organized and realistic about your daily goals can prevent you from being overwhelmed. It’s essential to communicate your capabilities to people so you don’t take on more than you can handle.
Making a list of your priorities for the day can help you become more selective about your work and activities. Try to focus on one task at a time to avoid procrastinating and leaving tasks incomplete.
Engage in any sort of movement
Whether your preferred activity is yoga, running, weight lifting, or just jumping around, movement is a powerful stress reliever in all its forms.
Exercise has been proven to reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels and improve mood. Even a 10-minute workout a day can get rid of the built-up tension in your body and reduce stress.
Spend some time in the great outdoors
A study published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that going for a walk in nature for 20 minutes significantly reduces your stress hormones.
If you live near a park, forest, or the coast, try to schedule 20 minutes from your day for your daily walk and spend it in nature.
Talk to someone you love
Loneliness is one of the top reasons for having anxiety or depressive disorders, especially in young adults.
Talking to someone you love who listens and understands you can boost your mood, help you feel less anxious and hopeful about getting your situation under control.
If you prefer physical touch, try hugging a friend. This will make you feel even better since it releases oxytocin and lowers cortisol in the body.
If you live away from family, being part of a community by volunteering or playing team sports and doing group exercises are great alternatives to combat anxiety and depression.
Be mindful of what you eat
Food feeds the brain too. Many people who cope with significantly higher levels of stress in their daily lives experience digestive issues such as IBS, indigestion, nausea, cramps, and more.
As published on Harvard Health, experts say that your brain and your gut are connected and affect each other’s health. Being more mindful about what you eat can help you improve your gut health.
We recommend you to:
- Minimize your intake of highly processed or sugary foods and drinks
- Eat lots of vegetables, legumes, beans, and fruit
- Eat prebiotic foods or take prebiotics
- Supplement your nutrition with natural supplements containing vitamin B complex, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Make some time for yourself
Even 5 to 10 minutes each night, when you can spend some time by yourself, can help you unwind and restore.
After your kids go to bed, after a long day at work, take some time to yourself and minimize distractions such as screen time.
You can read a book, listen to music, spend time on a hobby, do an exercise, or do any self-care routine that will help you relax.
Giving yourself short breaks to switch off each time you feel overwhelmed, confused, stuck or tired can also help you reduce your stress levels.
Take time off from screens, work, or any responsibilities to truly switch off. For example, when you go on your daily walk, try to leave your phone on your desk if you can.
Switching off from your screens before bed can improve your sleep quality, lowering your stress levels too.
Go to bed early
Getting a good night’s sleep is key to a healthy life and coping with stress, but stress and anxiety make falling and staying asleep harder.
Researchers have found that sleep deprivation increases activity in the amygdala, which is our brain’s emotional rapid-response center. As the amygdala gets more reactive, its communication with the prefrontal cortex also gets affected, and our brains can’t regulate our emotions normally.
Meditate in your own way
Meditation is becoming the norm, and it’s readily available via mobile apps or on video platforms such as Youtube. However, it can feel strange or out of touch for most people who haven’t tried meditating before.
If you don’t find it easy to relax by guided meditation and such, try a method that works for you instead. This can be doing a breathing exercise, stretching, or doing yoga. You can also listen to calming sounds or music, lie flat on your back, or just close your eyes.
If you are struggling to get your anxiety under control, you can talk to a professional about managing stress, anxiety, and depression. There are different types of treatments a professional can recommend you such as:
- Talk therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- One to one counseling
If you think you are experiencing severe anxiety or major depressive disorder, please get in touch with one of our specialists who can help.
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