Every day we’re confronted by multiple challenges that send our stress levels sky high, such as meeting deadlines, juggling family and work life, or paying bills. A small amount of stress can be positive – it can force us to perform well, keep alert, and be full of energy. Too much stress, on the other hand, can have detrimental effects on our health and well-being. It can make us tense, anxious, and cause sleep problems and other illnesses. To protect our health, let’s not wait for the fight-or-flight response to kick in. Let’s take the right steps now to reduce our stress levels.
“It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye
The following 3 healthy tips from Advanced Health in San Francisco are a guide for reducing stress in your daily life and regaining control over your health and happiness.
1. Stay Physically Active
When our body feels good, so does our mind. Exercise lets us blow off steam. It releases endorphins, our mood-enhancing chemicals which relax our body. As endorphins levels increase, our blood sugar and blood pressure decrease. Our mind is able to think more clearly and be focused. Exercise also helps decrease stress hormones, like oxytocin and cortisol.
Our body loves feeling tired and relaxed at the end of the day allowing us to sleep better. Exercise helps us feel physically and mentally stronger, and more connected to our body.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep loss increases hunger and negatively affects metabolism, immune system, and hormone balance. Chronic sleep loss is directly linked to weight gain, heart disease, arrhythmias, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. A good night’s rest regenerates our energy levels and increases our ability to manage stress better. When we are tired, we are more easily prone to becoming anxious and are less patient with others.
3. Avoid Sugar and Junk Food
Refined sugars plus processed, pre-packaged, and ready-made meals are low in nutritional value. The nutrients have been stripped off of these foods so they can sustain a long shelf life. These foods are actually dead since they contain little to no nutritional value but are full of calories which drain the body of energy. These foods and drinks make our body feel sluggish, anxious, sad, and irritable while also compromising our focus, attention span, and ability to grasp new information.
How well we handle stress comes down to one or more choices we need to make. Choose to make lifestyle changes to manage your pressures better. Choose to make dietary changes to combat tension. Sometimes – when you’re in an unhealthy relationship or soul-crushing job – no amount of healthy food and habits will resolve your angst completely, and the only choice you can make is to walk away.