Simple and Proven Ways to Reduce Stress
No one is immune to stress. But with a few simple tools, you can take charge of stress and bring the balance back into your life.
Modern lifestyles are fast-paced and sometimes it can feel like there is nothing you can do to slow things down. But it is possible to take the power back! Sometimes, simply knowing that you can change your situation can make a huge difference to your outlook. Here are five simple tips to help you reduce stress and bring back the balance in your life.
Five simple tips to stay on top of stress:
Taking care of your physical wellbeing can make a huge difference to the way you cope with stress.
1. Take a breath:
Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping dial down stress and making you feel more relaxed. The parasympathetic nervous system is your “rest and digest” system which is active when you are calm and at ease. It works to slow heart rate and facilitate digestion, muscle repair and recovery . Conversely, when you are stressed, your nervous system or “fight or flight” response kicks in, releasing adrenaline and increasing heart rate. While the sympathetic nervous system has a vital function, for optimum health, we want to be in the parasympathetic state most of the time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit down in a comfortable chair, or lie down, close your eyes and take 20 deep breaths. Think of a happy memory or visualize yourself in a place that makes you feel relaxed and calm.
Get your endorphin release by hitting the gym or heading out for a run or bike ride. Exercise reduces levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol while providing a natural boost of endorphins to help you feel more positive and regain perspective .
Stress depletes a significant amount of nutrients, including Zinc, Vitamin C and Magnesium, while certain nutrients, such the B-group Vitamins can actually help the body better withstand stress. Beneficial sources of Vitamin B include bananas, leafy greens, red meat, dairy products, brown rice and other wholegrains, legumes and eggs .
Lack of sleep elevates levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which over time can lead to fatigue, weight gain (especially around the middle), poor immunity and elevated blood pressure. Poor sleep also means that your body mean misses out on the vital repair and recovery work that happens during sleep. Stress can also make it difficult to sleep, causing a vicious cycle. Try to go to bed at the same time each evening and aim for seven to nine hours per night.
5. Start a relaxation practice:
Yoga helps lower heart rate and blood pressure, and brings down levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Small amounts of cortisol are harmless to the body, but our current hectic lifestyles stimulates the constant release of large amounts of cortisol, which over time can lead to a range of negative health impacts, including chronic fatigue, low mood, cravings for sweet and salty foods, weakened immunity and weight gain . Meditation and mindfulness teach us to stay in the moment and can help relieve feelings of anxiety, stress and being overwhelmed . As you learn and practice these techniques, your stress levels will decrease, and your mind and body will become calm and centered. Even 10-15 minutes a day can have a positive impact.
A little extra help
Sometimes we all need a little extra support. Fortunately, nature has created a variety of botanicals like dandelion extract, passionflower, hops and valerian that can help us better manage stress and promote a calmer state of a mind. Xtend-Life has harnessed the power of these herbs to create our Neuro-Natural Serenity product. Neuro-Natural Serenity works in a range of ways to support a healthy response to stress:
- Boost levels of serotonin, our feel-good neurotransmitter to promote balanced mood and help relieve feelings of anxiety and stress.
- High in B-group vitamins to help the body cope with stress and support healthy energy levels.
- Promotes restful sleep by elevating levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has a calming effect on the body and plays a key role in the sleep-wake cycle .