Do These Things to Manage Stress and Change Your Life

Hang Out With Your Pets Great news! All that time spent snuggling or playing with your pet? It’s lowering your stress levels. In an American Heart… Robyn Traber - January 18, 2023

Stress is a common and natural part of life that affects everyone, but when it becomes chronic, it can have serious negative impacts on both your physical and mental health. Prolonged stress can lead to muscle tension, headaches, stomachaches, and worsen existing health conditions, and increase your risk of serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. In addition to the physical toll, living with chronic stress can be overwhelming and just not enjoyable. By finding ways to manage and reduce stress, you can improve your physical health and live a happier, more fulfilling life. Whether you’ve heard of some of these tips or not, implementing these into your life can go a long way in managing stress.

Source: Cosmopolitan

Cut Down On Your Sugar Intake

Sugar may seem like a sweet escape from stress, but it can actually do the opposite in the long run. Consuming too much sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, lead to poor sleep, and increase inflammation, all of which can contribute to stress. By cutting back on sugar, you can help regulate blood sugar levels, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation, leading to a happier and calmer you. So, instead of reaching for that sugary snack when feeling stressed, consider reaching for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts for a natural boost in mood and stress relief.

Source: HowStuffWorks

Laugh Like A Child

The sad truth is that, on average, we go from laughing 400 times a day as children to only 15 times a day as adults. Thus, many adults are missing out on the surprisingly abundant benefits of laughter. Laughing can not only improve mood, but also lower cortisol and epinephrine (stress hormones), relax muscles, and stimulate the cardiovascular system. Over the long term, there are even more benefits: increased immune function, better coping skills, pain relief, and overall improved mood and outlook on life. There are many ways to bring more laughter into your life. While some might scoff at the idea of practicing laughing, even forced laughter has benefits and can lead to easier natural laughter.

Source: Nunu Chocolates

Add Some Complex Carbohydrates To Your Day

Complex carbs are like a BFF to your brain when it comes to stress relief. They help boost the production of serotonin, the happy hormone that improves your mood and reduces anxiety. When we consume complex carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which is used as a source of energy by the body. This increase in glucose also stimulates the production of insulin, which helps transport glucose into the brain. In turn, this can increase the availability of tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin. The increased availability of tryptophan in the brain can lead to increased production of serotonin, which can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of stress. Eating complex carbs, like whole grains, fruits, and veggies, gives your body sustained energy and regulates blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed. So go ahead, grab that bowl of oatmeal or snack on an apple for a little mood boost!

Source: Keener

Give Mindfulness Meditation A Try

There’s an abundance of research indicating that mindfulness meditation benefits both mental and physical health. Stress, as well as mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, can be reduced by using mindfulness. This practice has positive impacts on both the regulatory and the reactivity stress pathways in the brain. This results in better outcomes for stress-related conditions, including chronic pain, IBS, and even colds. The best part? It’s easy to get started, with the widespread availability of in-person and online classes, therapists specializing in the practice, and even smartphone apps to guide you.

Source: Sci-Tech Daily.

Add Valerian Root To Your Anti-Stress Toolbox

Valerian root is a fascinating natural remedy with some serious stress-busting superpowers! It has been used for centuries to help calm the mind and reduce anxiety. So what makes valerian root so special? It works by affecting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA, which helps regulate brain activity and promote feelings of relaxation and calm. And if that wasn’t enough, valerian root can also help you get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that it may have a sedative effect and improve sleep quality, making it a double whammy against stress. Plus, it may boost your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety, making it a well-rounded natural remedy.

Source: Boston Magazine

Try “Micro-Workouts” To Boost Your Mood

Micro-workouts, or short bursts of physical activity, can be a powerful tool for boosting your mood and fighting stress. Exercise is well known to have a positive effect on mental health, and micro-workouts can be an easy and convenient way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. One of the ways micro-workouts boost your mood is by releasing endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that help relieve pain and improve mood. They can also reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. This could mean taking a quick walk during lunch, doing a few jumping jacks in the morning, or even just doing some stretching exercises at your desk. The key is to find activities that you enjoy and that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.

Source: National Philanthropic Trust

Build Your Social Support Network

Dealing with stress alone is more difficult than dealing with it with others. Alone, you feel isolated and dwell on all the negatives. With strong social support, however, you can become more resilient to stress. Having people in your life who listen to you and encourage you has a tremendous effect on your health and stress levels. Social support reduces negative coping strategies, protects the mind and body from the negative effects of stress, and even improves cardiovascular health. Meaningful relationships with others also improve self-esteem and feelings of belonging and purpose.

Source: Healthline

Passionflower Is Like A Magic Potion Ingredient For Stress

Passionflower – the name alone sounds like a magic potion for stress relief, doesn’t it? This beautiful flowering plant native to the Americas has a rich history of being used to soothe the mind and calm the nerves. Some studies suggest that passionflower can increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which helps regulate brain activity and promote feelings of relaxation and calm.Passionflower can also have a sedative effect, making it a great natural remedy for those who struggle with sleep problems. If that’s not enough, passionflower may also help reduce feelings of anxiety and improve your mood, making it a triple threat against stress. You can find passionflower in different forms, such as teas, capsules, and tinctures, so you can choose the one that works best for you.


Try Some Deep Breathing Exercises

When stressed, the sympathetic nervous is activated. This is often known as the “fight-or-flight” response. A fast heart rate, quick breathing, and the feeling of adrenaline are classic signs of the fight-or-flight response. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system, often known as the rest-and-digest system, is characterized by slower heart rates, more relaxed breathing, and calmer feelings. Deep breathing is a strategy to activate the parasympathetic nervous during times of stress. A simple deep breathing exercise to start with is to simply breathe in slowly through your nose, filling your lungs deeply, and then slowly breathe out through your nose. The belly should move more than the chest. Another simple exercise to try is inhaling to a count of 5 and then exhaling to a count of 5. You can increase or decrease the count to whatever is most comfortable, but remember that the goal is to breathe as slowly as possible. There are also many other deep breathing exercises to choose from.

Source: Vanilla Papers

Journaling for stress relief

Keeping a journal can be a powerful stress management tool. It can be used to build self-knowledge, explore thoughts and feelings, bring more positivity to your life, aid in problem-solving, and keep you focused and organized. Journaling has been shown to alleviate stress and even help with the symptoms of some health conditions. It’s not something that works for everyone, but with no upfront costs-all you need is a pen and paper or a computer-it can’t hurt to give it a try! There are many types of journaling and what works best is going to vary from person to person and even from day to day. Try looking for journal prompt lists. There are no rules to journaling, so take it easy and try whatever sounds appealing to you.


Aromatherapy Isn’t Just A Candle Maker’s Marketing Scheme

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants to improve physical and emotional health. The idea behind aromatherapy is that the scent of essential oils can have a positive impact on the brain and the body, helping to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation. When essential oils are inhaled, the aroma travels to the olfactory receptors in the nose and triggers a response in the brain. This response can result in a number of physical and emotional benefits, such as reduced stress levels, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety. In addition, some essential oils can be applied topically to the skin or added to a bath, where they can be absorbed into the body. This can help to relieve muscle tension, soothe sore joints, and promote overall relaxation. It’s important to note that not all essential oils are safe to use and some can be irritating or even toxic if used improperly.

Source: News18

Hang Out With Your Pets

Great news! All that time spent snuggling or playing with your pet? It’s lowering your stress levels. In an American Heart Association survey, 95% of people with pets reported their pets helped them with stress relief. Not only can pets bring more fun and laughter into your life, but they can also lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Pets can even help with mindfulness, reduce loneliness, and provide comfort during stressful times. While owning a pet might not be for everyone-they require a lot of care and attention-spending time with a current pet or getting a new one can be a fun way to lower stress.

Source: Northwestern Now

Get Enough Sleep

Many of us just don’t get enough sleep. Unfortunately, this can have major consequences for stress levels and overall health. People who consistently get less sleep than they need are at greater risk for a number of illnesses, including cardiovascular problems, type II diabetes, and stroke. Low energy, poor mood, and mental health problems are also consequences of inadequate sleep. The good news is that if this is you, you can change your habits and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lessen anxiety, and improve immune function. Adults are recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. While this may seem challenging for some, it’s possible to achieve by adjusting your bedtime or wake-up time by 10 or 15 minutes each day. Being consistent, even on weekends, improves success.

Source: The Chopra Center

Ashwagandha Is An Ancient Tool For Relieving Stress

Here’s the deal: when you’re feeling stressed, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is great in small doses, but when it’s consistently high, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. But that’s where ashwagandha comes in! Studies have shown that ashwagandha can help reduce cortisol levels, so you can feel more relaxed and calm, even during high-stress times. Not only does ashwagandha help reduce stress, but it’s also a multitasker. It’s been shown to improve brain function, reduce inflammation, and even improve energy levels and physical performance. And let’s not forget, ashwagandha can also help you sleep better.

Source: Go Wander Wild

Connect With Nature

Access to nature varies greatly with location, although this is starting to change as policymakers are coming to recognize the importance of connecting with nature. Lower stress, greater happiness, and a stronger sense of well-being and purpose are just some of the benefits a little time in nature can bring you. It’s even been shown to help with loneliness. Cognitive benefits, such as improved attention and memory, and mental health benefits also result from time in nature. Researchers are still working on how much time in nature is needed to experience the benefits, but an early study in 2019 indicates that 2 hours a week is enough. Those 2 hours can be broken up into smaller chunks throughout the week or done all at once. As for where to go, natural areas, urban green space, and “blue spaces” such as oceans or rivers have all been shown to be beneficial. Even audio or video of nature can provide some benefit.

Source: Glints

Re-Evaluate How You Use Social Media

In this age of social media and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are aware that social media can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Many have found that social media offers a great way to connect with other people and ease loneliness. This has been supported in several studies-but only if the connections are meaningful. Excessive or non-connection-promoting social media usage is associated with increased stress, increased loneliness and isolation, and lower self-esteem. It’s important to manage your social media usage to avoid stress and negativity. Tracking your usage is a good first step towards healthy social media usage, allowing you to be aware of and monitor your social media usage.

Source: The Virtual Instructor

Engage in your hobbies

A hobby can be almost anything that you enjoy doing in your free time. And this is a good thing, too, since engaging in your hobbies has been shown to lower stress and increase overall well-being. While any hobby can provide a healthy distraction and emotional release, some hobbies have specific benefits. For example, creative activities have been shown to lower cortisol levels and improve moods. Team hobbies, on the other hand, improve social support and lower depression and anxiety. And having a support system through a shared interest can offer more emotional relief than you may realize.

Source: Wholebeing Institute

Say no more often

Having too many commitments means lots of stress, rushing, lost sleep, and unhealthy meals. Even then, it can be hard to say no when people ask you to do something or take on more responsibilities. But doing so can damage your health from the effects of long-term stress and overall just leave you with low energy and a bad mood. A healthy level of commitment, on the other hand, allows you to take care of your health, spend time doing things that are enjoyable, and better fulfill your other obligations. Saying “no” can be hard, but most people won’t hold it against you if you are polite. When faced with a new request, ask yourself if this is where you want or need to spend your time and energy.

ource: Futurity

Let Go Of Past Anger & Resentment

Everyone has been hurt or wronged by someone, whether through a small action or a major betrayal. Holding onto that anger and resentment, however, is damaging to your physical and mental health. Anger triggers the stress response, so chronic anger leads to chronic stress. Forgiving can lessen stress, improve mental health, and benefit phsyical health. It can reduce pain, improve cardiovascular health, and lead to better sleep. A good place to begin is by remembering and reflecting on the event. Then you can try to empathize with the other person, and let go of expectations for apologies. It’s important to forgive deeply and truly, not just because you feel obligated to. Mark your forgiveness with some kind of action: talk to the other person, confide your feelings to someone you trust, or even just write about your forgiveness. Many of us also harbor damaging anger towards ourselves, so remember to forgive yourself too.

Source: American Heart Association

Schedule some self care time

Taking care of yourself is an important ongoing task that sometimes gets lost in the busyness of life. Self care, defined as anything you do to take care of yourself physically or emotionally, is important for building resilience and well-being. Good self care can not only lower stress, but also improve physical and mental health. Taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle, addressing your emotional needs, and taking time to relax are all components of self care. If you’re not sure where to start, making a list of things that you enjoy is a good first step. From there, you can make goals on how to incorporate more of those into your daily life. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s okay to start small-even just a few minutes a day can be beneficial-and then work on bigger goals over time. Try different things, and adjust your goals if something isn’t working for you or is harder than originally planned.

Releasing repressed emotions by talking can lower stress. Source: Healthy Food Guide

Talk About Your Feelings

An ages-old strategy for processing your feelings and lowering stress is simply to talk to someone else about your problems. Letting out your emotions, whether through talking or writing, removes the stress of holding in painful emotions. Repressing those emotions takes a lot of effort and relieving that effort lessens the stress response. As an extra, talking about your problems and feelings can help you to better understand yourself and your emotions. What “talking about your feelings” actually looks like can vary depending on the person and their needs at the time. Sometimes venting about problems to a friend is helpful, while at other times talking through a conflict is better. There are also times when talking to a therapist is helpful, especially if you’re struggling. Talking to someone you trust is important and so is making sure that they’re prepared for the conversation.

Source: Vitality Magazine

Set Boundaries For Healthy Relationships

Having supportive relationships brings a whole host of benefits, including lower stress, greater happiness, and even increased longevity. However, it’s important to set boundaries in your relationship, whether its at work, with friends or family, or in a romantic relationship. Strong, healthy boundaries support life balance and healthier relationships, while weak boundaries can cause resentment, conflict, and stress. A life without boundaries leaves you constantly pulled by others’ needs and expectations, without being able to assert any of your own. Boundaries are tools to protect your physical and mental and be sure your needs are met. A healthy boundary doesn’t exert control over others, just establishes your needs. Setting boundaries can be scary, but the people who care about you will recognize and support you in meeting your needs.

Where Do We Find this Stuff? Here Are Our Sources: