We all have those times in our lives where we face something really stressful. Whether it’s taking care of an aging parent, an unruly teenager, financial issues, or possibly a death, our body kicks into a fight or flight response.
When it works well, our body helps us stay focused and energized, and can actually save our life. The problem is, when stress gets too hard to handle, it actually starts to damage our health. Whether we’re worried about paying our bills versus a life-or-death situation, our bodies can’t differentiate between physical or psychological threats.
Some of the health problems caused by stress may include:
The good news is, we can learn how to control the way we respond to stress. Here are a few tips to help you de-stress:
Although you probably want to just crawl under the covers and forget about the day, exercise is a great way to relieve some stress. Mood-boosting chemicals such as endorphins and anandamine help lower anxiety and increase overall mental wellbeing. Remember the time you did NOT want to go to the gym but afterwards you felt great? That is what exercise does for stress. Not only can it help you handle the stress, it will also help you get a good night’s sleep. Zzzzz…
Eat calming food
Although the first thought when stressed is probably to reach for a plate full of sweets and an adult beverage, but the reality is, certain calming foods can actually help your physical and emotional well-being. Magnesium, the anti-stress nutrient, actually relaxes your muscles, aids in energy production, and helps lower blood pressure. Foods rich in magnesium are green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains.
Have a good laugh
A healthy does of laughter can relieve anxiety and stress. It’s an easy way to overcome tense and stressful situations while promoting a healing response within your body. Laughing over something creates a healthy distraction while also creating a fresh perspective on situations.
Focus on the positive
Try focusing on the results you want to get instead of the immediate things that are stressing you out. Imagine yourself in the situation where everything is going right, instead of going wrong. Don’t drown in self-pity, but instead be proactive in getting the things you want instead.
Try de-stressing therapies
Therapy, in the original sense of talking to someone, can help in even the worst situations. Being able to divulge situations to a complete stranger without being judged as well as having an outside opinion helps put things in perspective and gives sense of relief. But even alternative therapies – something as simple as getting a massage or practicing yoga – can change your thought process into something positive. The slow breathing exercises of yoga or a persons gentle touch can have immediate and powerful physical reactions of relaxation and a sense of calm.