Some studies indicate that between 75 % – 90 % of all doctor visits are related to stress-induced conditions. Chronic and uncontrolled stress could make you more susceptible to several serious ailments, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders and psychiatric disorders. Since it is impossible to completely avoid stress, it is best to refocus our efforts on effective and natural ways to handle it. Below are some of the most effective stress relievers available to us:
Exercise and Yoga: During exercise our brain releases powerful endorphin chemicals, which acts like a natural painkiller and mood-enhancer. Exercise also improves insulin sensitivity and can help one become more conscious of his hunger levels, improves self-esteem/confidence, and leads to better mental processing.Yoga also has been proven to have similar benefits, while reinforcing the “mind-body connection,” improving how one feels about her body, aiding with sleep and the controlling of stress.
Meditation: Numerous forms of meditation have been shown to reduce physiological responses to stress, improve mental alertness, and help people overcome various emotional and physical problems which might impact quality of life, attentional problems, substance use, eating habits, sleep, chronic pain and weight gain.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a powerful and commonly used technique in the management of several stress-related issues, such as autoimmune type illnesses and some forms of psychiatric disorders. There has also been some data on the positive impacts of acupuncture on blood pressure, circulation and overall cardiovascular health.
Nutrient-Dense Foods: A consistent source of nutrients such as healthy fats, essential vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidants will improve your body’s ability to handle stress better, while benefiting your overall health. Specifically, the research has shown the following to be beneficial:
• B vitamins (which the body utilizes to convert nutrients to energy) — raw or cultured dairy products, eggs (preferably cage-free), beef (preferably grass fed), wild-caught fish, poultry, and green leafy vegetables.
• Foods that are a good source of calcium and magnesium — calcium and magnesium are critical for relaxing muscles; alleviating headaches and a great sleeping aide. Try yogurt (unsweetened), wild-caught salmon, legumes/beans, leafy green veggies, brassica vegetables (i.e. broccoli), avocados and nuts.
• Protein — Protein contain amino acids that are utilized for proper neurotransmitter functions.
• Healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids — wild-caught fish (salmon or sardines) can assist in reducing inflammation while helping stabilize mood. Additionally omega-3s are phenomenal for the brain, development and heart health. Other great sources of fat that aide in brain health are nuts/seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil.
• Avoiding packaged or sugary foods — processed, refined foods can give you blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day, as well as increase constant food cravings and fatigue.
• Avoiding excessive alcohol or caffeine —alcohol and caffeine can contribute to anxiety, dehydration, and sleep disruption, thus making it increasingly difficult to cope with stress.
• Avoiding refined vegetable oils — an abundance of omega-6s over omega-3s from your diet, has been tied to metabolic damage, inflammation and even poor gut health, all of which can affect mental processes.
Therapy: Therapy has been shown to lower anxiety, stress and multiple disorders — such as addiction, eating disorders, insomnia and depression. For example, therapists who use CBT can train clients to better manage stressful situations.
Being Social: Making time for connecting with your support system and doing things you love with others are all effective stress relievers and great for your health. Investing in healthy social relationships can create a feeling of being a part of something larger than oneself while giving a broader perspective.
Journaling: Journaling is an easy and effective way to monitor your state of mind throughout the day, helping you to become aware of negative thoughts and helping to figure out what’s really bothering you when you’re unsure.
GUEST POST: Kiran Gojnur is a passionate health and wellness expert with over 10 years of human
optimization. His passion stated at an early age and led Kiran to pursue a BA in psychology and an MA in holistic health. Kiran has worked with people individually and through workshops to address health issues such as anxiety/depression, stress management, weight loss and addiction. He has also worked with those struggling to find a deeper meaning or purpose in their lives. Kiran utilizes a variety of tools such as meditation and neuroplasticity techniques, hypnosis, diet and exercise and lifestyle coaching. Kiran can be reached at email@example.com. Here he discusses some of the most effect, natural ways to combat stress.
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com
DISCLAIMER: All information and content in this post are for informational purposes only. The author does not provide any medical advice on the site, and the information should not be so construed or used. Nothing contained in the site is intended to create a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a licensed, trained physician or health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of a physician or trained health professional licensed in your state. The opinions expressed here are of the guest blogger and not of Dr. Iyer or of any hospitals or academic facilities with which Dr. Iyer has an affiliation. You should consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.