Everyone feels stressed out from time to time: you have a big deadline coming up, you’re trying to be in two places at once, it’s the first day at your new job… Stress itself is normal, in fact, you need moderate levels to motivate you to get up in the morning and get stuff done. However, feeling constantly stressed can be very harmful for your both your body and mind. It’s therefore incredibly important to make sure you know how to effectively manage your stress to prevent it from taking over your life. Below are 7 different methods of combating stress…why not try them out for yourself?
Go for a chit-chat
Going for coffee, meeting up for lunch or even just going to hang out with your friends can all help to reduce stress. Psychologist Susan Pinker states that direct person-to-person contact triggers parts of our nervous system that release a ‘cocktail’ of neurotransmitters tasked to regulate stress. That means simply socialising with others can help to make us more resilient to stress factors in the long run! Furthermore, studies have shown that those who enjoy close friendships in their teenage years have lower rates of depression and anxiety in later life. So, be it with family or friends, organise your next meet up ASAP!
Get your heart going and manage your stress
Exercise is another great way to manage your stress and is often likened to a ‘natural antidepressant’. This is because exercise helps to reduce our level of stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins, the name for the body’s natural mood elevators. But the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise also triggers the release of our ‘happy hormones’, serotonin and dopamine which lift our mood and motivation, making us less prone to developing stress-related mental health issues. So, whether it’s joining a local sports team or simply going for a run, taking steps to reduce stress is easy!
Sort out your diet properly with Reset Your Health!
When you’re stressed, it is even more important than normal to maintain a balanced diet. This is because your body needs vitamins and minerals more than ever to support its compromised immune system (all thanks to stress). Vitamin C, for example, is needed by the body’s immune system and therefore a higher supply of it enhances your ability to fight off infection (1). Further benefits of a balanced diet include helping counteract stress-related ‘brain fog’ and bad moods. For example, taking a sufficient amount of B vitamins, found in green vegetables and nuts, will not only improve your brain function but will also help perk you up! To see how you can improve your diet, the right way, check out RYH. Yes, we’ve made it that simple for you!
Mindfulness… it’s not just a fad!
Mindfulness, the state of being fully present and aware of what is taking place in the present, is another proven means of combating stress and its effects. But how does mindfulness actually reduce stress? Whether it be focusing on your breathing or simply concentrating on ‘switching off’ to clear your head, mindfulness has been shown to both reduce existing stress and build long term stress resilience (2). So, if you feel like life is getting the best of you, make time to sit down by yourself and focus on nothing but your own breathing- yes, it’s really that easy!
Mindfulness can also be exercised through yoga- another effective means to manage your stress. The biology behind the benefit of yoga is that, by practicing it, you stimulate pressure receptors in the body which, in turn, decrease the release of stress hormones such as cortisol- therefore making you feel more relaxed (3). Mindfulness and meditation have also been proven to beneficially alter the function and structure of your amygdala (the fancy word for the part of the brain that is involved with stress and anxiety)- more mindful individuals have a lower resting amygdala activity and are much better at coping in high stress situations.
Get some Zzzz
Getting the right amount of sleep is also vital for combating mental stress.
Try something more formal
If you’re still struggling to combat stress, then it might be helpful to undertake some talking therapies. Consider looking into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which works to help you change unpleasant patterns of thought or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which aims to boost self-esteem and confidence- ultimately aiming to motivate you to change your lifestyle habits. Talk to your doctor to see what will work best for you.
The more the merrier…
To effectively reduce existing stress and build future resilience takes more than just a quick fix. Going on one run or meditating a couple of times isn’t going to cut it- to ensure you can consistently stay on top of your stress requires a lifestyle change. Therefore, the more of these 7 solutions you can adopt in your day to day life the better! And why not start now? Sign up for our Reset Your Health plan today and feel the benefits.
1. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11). https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/11/1211
2. Creswell JD, Pacilio LE, Lindsay EK, Brown KW. Brief mindfulness meditation training alters psychological and neuroendocrine responses to social evaluative stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014;44:1-12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453014000584
3. Riley KE, Park CL. How does yoga reduce stress? A systematic review of mechanisms of change and guide to future inquiry. Health Psychol Rev. 2015;9(3):379-96. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25559560/