Stress. We have all experienced it at one time or another, and some of us feel overwhelmed just about every day. However, while it’s a common feeling, stress should be addressed and managed as much as possible. Here are some key ways to reduce stress in your daily life:
Get more physical activity
Research has shown that engaging in physical activity can reduce stress levels and improve mood. On the flip side, inactivity may lead to increased stress, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. While it can sometimes be difficult to find the motivation, exercising sparks a sense of achievement, confidence, and self-worth. In addition, physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, our happiness hormone.
Many people with built-up stress find that activities such as kickboxing and cardio are excellent ways to burn off energy and release negative feelings.
Follow a healthy, balanced diet
Did you know that food plays a vital part in our happiness? While eating “comfort” foods like french fries and Chinese takeout may feel good in the moment, ultra-processed foods and added sugar are more likely to trigger stress levels.
Consider reducing your intake of highly processed foods and beverages and fueling up on more nutritious foods. These include vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, and lean meat. In addition, a wholesome, natural diet can boost energy levels, promote cardiovascular health, and even improve self-confidence.
Limit screen use
We can all agree that technology has its pros and cons. Smartphones and computers are sometimes necessary, whether for work, research, looking up directions, or making an emergency call. However, using technology recreationally too often can significantly increase stress levels.
A recent study has also shown that excess screen time can disrupt sleep, which worsens issues like anxiety, stress, and depression. You can be mindful of your screen time by creating boundaries for how long you’re using devices. Track your time and cut yourself off at a certain point of the day. Then, after a few days of practicing good screen time habits, you can monitor your stress and see if there were any improvements.
Stock up on supplements
Vitamins and minerals are essential for several functions in the body and play an important role in our stress response and mood regulation. However, most people are deficient in one or more nutrients. Fortunately, there are thousands of brands that sell vitamins and supplements, including Olly, Cymbiotika, and Ritual.
Magnesium has been shown to improve stress levels and overall mood. In addition, vitamin B6 and other supplements such as ashwagandha and L-theanine can have mood-stabilizing effects as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety.
No matter how busy your schedule is, it’s important to practice self-care.
Examples of activities include:
- going for a nature walk
- reading a book
- taking a yoga class
- getting a massage
- practicing a hobby
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Set boundaries when it comes to work, social time, family plans, and other busy activities. Even if you’re an extrovert and enjoy staying busy, feeling overwhelmed can be detrimental to your mental health. If you don’t have enough alone time for self-care, your performance at work, your relationships, and even daily tasks can be negatively affected. Try setting aside time each night to decompress and focus on yourself.
Have you ever sat down to rush through a meal because of work or social plans? Or sat down to read a book and found yourself getting easily distracted? If so, you could probably benefit from mindfulness. With some practice, a little bit of mindfulness can go a long way. Some tips and tricks to practice include:
- Cook your own meals and eat slowly
- Live in the moment.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Practice meditation.
- Establish a morning routine.
Set aside time for hobbies
Hobbies are important for people of all ages, including young children and mature adults. Parents, working professionals, and college students are among many who find themselves too busy to engage in their own interests. However, neglecting our hobbies can have a taxing effect on mental health, causing us to feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled.
Reserving some weekly time slots to do things you enjoy can improve stress levels and help you get back in touch with yourself. This can also be beneficial for resolving built-up issues and enhancing your perspective on life.
Practice deep-breathing exercises
Mental stress can trigger your sympathetic nervous system, which throws your body into fight-or-flight mode. Any time you feel overwhelmed, try taking a few minutes to stop what you’re doing and practice deep breathing.
Taking slow and deep breaths can help you focus your attention on your breath, rather than the activity that’s stressing you out. You can practice deep breathing by deeply inhaling through your nose and exhaling at a steady pace. This helps to slow your heart rate.