What are some Healthy Initiatives I can make to reduce my Stress?
Can my stress be reduced by Healthy Eating?
Yes! Stress comes from our beliefs and feelings. Emotions and thoughts originate in the brain. Brain cells communicate through neurotransmitters which are basically chemicals. These elements regulate our feelings. For example, serotonin balances feelings of sadness and happiness. Dopamine is released for pleasure. But just like everything else in our body, it takes a healthy blend of nutrients to produce an adequate and quality made brain chemical. Could you make a cookie with dirt, grass and gravel? Yes, but not an edible one. If we eat unhealthy, brain chemical production will be low or tainted. To make healthy eating simple, I just encourage people to eat a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables with small portions of protein. We need more than 3 servings daily of fruits and 4 servings of vegetables. Other healthy habits would be to eliminate or reduce your caffeine intake and stop it by early afternoon. Drink a lot of water to flush out the toxins in your body and limit your intake of sugar, alcohol or drugs. Healthy eating will stimulate your brain to release stress busting chemicals on a daily basis.
How can exercise help my stress level?
Exercise combats the Fight/Flight body changes that are triggered by stress. Physical activity will release the extra energy caused by being on high alert. We want to exhaust our stress and dissipate it with workouts. Now don’t get turned off by this advice. I am not telling you that you need to do a Billy Blanks, P90X or Insanity workout. I am just advising you to move your body. Incorporate a habit of being physically active. But this can be anything that gets your body in motion and exerts some energy. Find an activity you enjoy. It can be dancing, walking, biking, swimming, golfing, hiking, cleaning, karate, mowing the lawn, frolicking with your pet, running, weight lifting, bowling with a WII game, playing with your children, rollerblading, skating, skiing, or basketball. You get the idea. Just get moving for an hour a day. It doesn’t even have to be a straight hour. You can make a plan to walk 15 minutes 4 times a day or make it a variety of activities several times a day. Try walking in place while watching TV. Just blow off that stress steam from your system. You will find regular exercise a great stress reduction tool.
In this article on stress reduction, I began by encouraging you to reduce your stress with healthy initiatives like a good night’s sleep, healthy eating and regular exercise. It sounds so simple but are you doing these things? If not, these are great stress busters. To avoid, decrease, or manage stress, it is important to implement these primary healthy habits into your daily life. In my third article, I will give you additional stress reducing tools in my next blog so let’s begin to ease the tension in your life and start enjoying the day.
If you would like additional stress resources, check out How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie or The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood MD and Mayo Clinic. If you would like to read more by this author, there are 3 more parts to The Core of Stress Management: Tools of Empowerment or book a conversation with Vicki at www.supportivetalk.com