What is Stress ?
Stress is a normal part of life and can be a good thing in small amounts. Chronic stress can negatively impact work and home life and be detrimental for our health. Stress is associated with headaches, cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, depression and anxiety. It may also worsen skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, lead to unwanted weight gain and can make it more difficult to become pregnant.
As stress has many negative psychological and physical health effects, stress management is an extremely important part of maintaining overall health. Diet, exercise, socialising and finding time for yourself are all suggested as techniques that can be used to manage stress in your life.
Below are 10 tips to reducing stress in your life now;
Being able to identify the causes of stress in your life makes it easier to manage them. Once you know your stress triggers, you can identify which triggers can be removed or reduced. You can then focus more on coping mechanisms to manage the stressors you cannot change.
Your diet can make a big difference to your mental health. A healthy balanced diet rich in omega-3’s, fruits, vegetables and whole-grains is essential for optimum health, both physical and mental.
OmegaBrite is the only omega-3 supplement clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. A randomised controlled trial conducted at Ohio State University reported students who had taken OmegaBrite had reduced levels of inflammatory markers and had a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms. This trial was the first piece of revolutionary evidence that omega-3 supplementation can reduce anxiety and stress.
Exercise is great for both your physical and mental health. Exercise causes the brain to produce hormones called endorphins. These endorphins cause us to feel good and leave us feeling happy after exercise. In animal studies, physical activity caused the hippocampus to grow back to normal size after chronic stress caused it to shrivel 6. Exercise has even been shown to be as effective as some medications at treating depression and anxiety 6.
Sleep is important for both physical and mental health. To have a better night’s sleep, try to have a regular sleep routine, going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day. It’s best to avoid screens like TVs, computers and phones an hour or two before bed and to use heavy curtains or a sleep mask to block out light when you’re trying to get to sleep.
Enjoy “Me” Time
Finding time each day to do things that you enjoy and that help you unwind can reduce stress in your life. Even just 10 minutes of “me time” each day can make managing stress much easier.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, it can help to talk to someone. Talking to a close friend or family member about what is stressing you and getting their advice can help you gain a new perspective. If you still feel you can’t cope with the stress, your doctor or primary healthcare provider may be able to suggest a mental health professional you can speak to.
Plan your Day
Overwhelming stress can damage your work performance and make it more difficult to focus on tasks. Planning out your day in the morning can help you set realistic goals and make your day more productive, while also reducing stress.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
When we feel relaxed we breathe slower and deeper breaths. Taking a moment to focus on your breath and practice deep breathing can help your mind and body feel calm and relaxed. Taking time out of your busy day to meditate and calm down can be extremely beneficial for managing stress.
Find What Works for You!
There are many techniques for managing stress and different things work for each person. Incorporating one or more of these techniques into your daily routine can greatly reduce your stress level and improve your quality of life.
- Association AP. Stress in America: Our Health at Risk. 2012.
- Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2011;25(8):1725-1734.
- Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-262.
- Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(1):96-106.
- Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009;75(2):105-112.
- Ratey J. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.