If you do one thing for your health…De-Stress!
Easier said than done, right? I couldn’t agree more especially as I’m certainly no stranger to stress myself! However, it’s so important that we find ways to at least manage our stress levels so that it doesn’t start impacting upon our health and wellbeing. As always, prevention is better than cure!
Often making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can go a long way towards keeping your stress levels under control, below are my top tips:
1: Avoid Stress Promoting Foods:
Our diet plays a huge role in how our body manages stress. A diet that is high in stimulants and processed foods and low in protein and whole foods leads to a chain of events that deplete serotonin, the feel good hormone that helps us feel calm and relaxed. Certain food and drinks rev up stress hormones which in turn wreak havoc on our nervous system, throw our blood sugar levels off balance and ultimately lead to weight gain. These foods include: caffeine, sugary foods, alcohol, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates e.g. white flour foods.
2: Fight Back With Stress Busting Foods:
Prolonged stress literally drains and depletes vitamins and mineral from our bodies which is why it is so important to eat regularly and well in order to replenish these stores. The main vitamins and minerals affected are the B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. The following foods will help build your body’s resistance to stress and should be eaten regularly: nuts & seeds, whole grains, beans & lentils, green leafy vegetables, berry fruits, oily fish, eggs and plenty of water.
3: Practise stress management techniques
Often we can’t change the causes of stress but we can work on our reactions to them. Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Certain techniques which have been proven to help keep stress hormones in balance include: meditation/mindfulness, yoga, moderate exercise and breath work. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is also excellent to combat anxiety, this can be done with a therapist or individually by following a book or online programme, it depends on the individuals needs. ‘Change Your Thinking With CBT’ by Dr. Edelman is a book I’d highly recommend.
Invest a little time to experiment with different techniques until you find one or two that make a difference to you, sometimes you only have to change a little to change a lot!