Everyone suffers from some form of stress in life, it’s part of the human experience. With busy lives sometimes our stress levels get out of control before we realize. Prolonged stress can be responsible for many chronic diseases and can contribute to worsening symptoms of many different ailments from anxiety/depression, adrenal fatigue/exhaustion, hormone imbalances, high blood pressure, digestive complaints, and insomnia.
Fortunately there is a lot you can do to help reduce stress without requiring a lot of time.
- Unplug: Just 20 minutes a day can make all the difference taking a some time to focus in the moment without any interruptions. This can even be in the form of mediation, prayer, journaling, or any other activity that helps you slow down and be present.
- Exercise: Natural endorphins are released during exercise which are your “feel good” hormones. Even increments of a few short 10 minute walks throughout the day is enough to have health benefits. The goal is to find something that works best for your body.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol: Too much of a good thing can increase stress levels. Caffeine acts as a stimulant and increase anxiety or agitation. Alcohol initially can relax the body, but in larger amounts can have the opposite effect. Both caffeine and alcohol can have major impacts on sleep.
- Sleep: Do your best to get enough sleep. Skip the late night television and head to bed early instead. Lack of sleep has a huge impact on mental function, stress, and even weight gain. An average of 8 hours is ideal each night.
- B-vitamins- These complexes are important for brain function and maintaining energy levels. Some good sources are found in protein sources including nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, and eggs. Making sure you have some protein with every meal will help insure you are getting the right amount.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is often deficient when stress levels are high. Increasing your magnesium levels can help improve muscle cramping, insomnia, and improve overall relaxation. Whole grains, leafy greens, beans, and nuts are a good source. Making sure that your meals and snacks include whole foods and vegetables will help you meet your daily requirements.
These lifestyles can make a huge difference, but if you find yourself needing more assistance, a Naturopathic Doctor can recommend particular supplements and herbs that are especially helpful in balancing the stress response.