8 Ways to Manage Stress
Stress is an adaptive response to our environment, that's why small amounts of stress may be beneficial to keep us more alert, attentive, and motivated in our daily life. However, high levels of stress experienced over a long period of time is considered "chronic" and very dangerous for our overall health. Stress is capable of increasing someone's risk for heart disease, diabetes, weight gain or obesity, mental disorders, autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, and also aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
We can't always control the sources of stress in our lives, but we can change how we react to them, along with implementing some behavioral changes to help us to reduce and prevent the negative effects of stress on our body.
Here you have 8 recommendations to help you manage your stress on a daily basis:
1. A Nutrient- Dense Diet
A steady supply of nutrients like essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, amino acids, and antioxidants all help your brain to handle stress better. Some of the best foods for natural stress relief includes:
- Foods high in B vitamins: which the body uses to convert nutrients to energy. Some foods rich in B vitamins are cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, poultry, and green leafy vegetables.
- Foods high in calcium and magnesium: these minerals are important for relaxing muscles, relieving headaches, and helping you to sleep. Some good sources of these minerals are unsweetened organic yogurt, wild-caught salmon, beans/legumes, avocados, nuts, leafy green veggies, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
- High protein foods: provide amino acids that are needed for proper neurotransmitter functions. Meat, fish, eggs, and beans/legumes are high in protein.
- Healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids: reduce inflammation and help stabilize moods. Some sources of Omega 3 are wild-caught fish like salmon or sardines, and you can find healthy fats in nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and coconut.
Exercise is a natural remedy for anxiety. It releases endorphins in the brain, which act as natural painkillers and mood lifters. Regular exercise protects us from stress because it regulates various metabolic and psychological processes in the body. It improves insulin sensitivity, can help mental processing, and lowers the risk for depression. Also, exercise helps us to sleep better reinforcing our natural circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles) that regulate hormones and help the body recover.
3. Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation is a proven stress reliever that helps people deal with worry, anxiety, and finding peace of mind. Various forms of meditation have been shown to lower physiological responses to stress, improve mental awareness, and help people overcome various emotional and physical problems, such as: anxiety, depression, attention problems, substance use, unhealthy eating habits, sleep, and pain. Mindfulness-based stress reduction are types of simple mental techniques that are practiced for as little as 10-15 minutes once or twice a day in order to bring more awareness and reduce stress or anxiety.
4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic intervention practice that has been proven to lower anxiety, stress, and help in multiple disorders, including addiction, eating disorders, insomnia, and depression. CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhealthy cognitive distortions (thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) such as "all-or-nothing" thinking, jumping to conclusions, pessimism, having unrealistic expectations for ourselves, expecting the worst-case scenario, and feeling guilt or shame over events that are out of our control. Once you can identify the root thought pattern that is causing harmful thoughts, you can work on changing how you think about some events and therefore how to react to them. CBT helps to improve emotional regulation, and with the development of personal coping strategies.
5. Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogens herbs are healing plants that can improve anxiety symptoms by reducing the effects that stress and cortisol imbalances, "the stress hormone", have on your body. Adaptogens, including Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Maca, Rhodiola, and Holy basil, balance and protect the body and make it easier to handle stress by regulating hormones and physiological functions.
6. Essential Oils
Essential oils such as Lavender, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Valerian, and Bergamot are used to help to relax the body and mind, and aid sleep. In particular, Lavender essential oil is widely recognized as a natural relaxer and sleep aid, soothing feelings of anxiety.
7. Spending More Time in Nature
Being outdoors can lift your mood and help you to get a good night of sleep due to the effect of natural light on our circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles).
8. Being social and having positive interactions
Doing things that you love, with your friends and love ones, are important behaviors that work as stress relievers. The feeling of belonging, being heard and valued, are important stress protectors.
Let me help you to create a nutritional and lifestyle plan to achieve your health goals.