Stress is a natural part of life, and everyone has to deal with it at one point or another. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, there are several things you can do to reduce stress in your life and lift that weight off your shoulders.
What is Stress?
Stress is actually a natural biological response that prepares the body to face any situation, threat, or challenge ahead. However, stress does not affect everyone the same way, and it can take a serious toll on our mental and physical health if we stay in a state of stress for too long. For some, chronic stress is a debilitating health condition that needs to be treated long-term because it affects their quality of life.
Tips to Reduce Stress
Physical activity can do wonders for the body; it's no wonder it is the first recommendation on every doctor’s list. For starters, exercise improves sleep, which helps heal and renew cells in the body. Also, it stimulates the endocrine system, which releases hormones like endorphins that have a euphoric effect, making you feel better.
Furthermore, there is no right or wrong kind of exercise. Any physical movement, from taking the stairs to mowing the lawn, can make a difference.
Limit Screen Time
While electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are now a necessary part of our life, they also affect our health by increasing stress.
Try to minimize screen time as much as possible, especially before sleeping. Doctors recommend closing all devices at least two hours before going to bed.
Consume a Balanced Diet
What you eat affects more than your body. It affects your mind, which is why an unhealthy diet can worsen your stress levels.
Furthermore, chronic stress can lead to eating disorders such as overeating or not eating enough, which can have lasting effects on your overall health.
Avoid highly processed foods and added sugars and focus on a more balanced diet with whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, fish, seeds, and lean meats. With proper nourishment, your body will be able to recover and regulate its stress response.
Take Care of Yourself
Set aside time to focus inwards and do things that make you feel good. Numerous studies have shown that people who practice self-care have lower levels of stress, fewer cases of burnout, and a higher quality of life.
Take time to tend to your well-being and consider adding some of the following activities to your daily routine:
● Practicing yoga
● Starting a hobby
● Getting a spa treatment or massage
● Connecting with family or friends
● Reading a book
● Following a skincare routine
Self-care does not have to be an elaborate, time-consuming activity. You can start with 5 – 10 minutes a day and build up from there.
While our body’s natural stress response has protected our species for thousands of years, it does have its downsides. And it doesn’t help that our lifestyle in this day and age is packed with overstimulation, leading many to suffer from higher stress levels.
Luckily, all hope is not lost, and studies have shown there are many ways we can alter our habits and improve our mental state, like minimizing screen time, exercising more, eating better, and indulging in a little self-care.
However, if you find you are unable to find relief and feelings of stress seem to go on for weeks, consider consulting a healthcare professional to find out what treatments are available to help you reduce stress.
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