Was your stress response higher than usual this past year? Stress can cause significant health effects on your body that lead to a variety of issues. Feeling anxious and overwhelmed especially during the pandemic is beyond normal and expected. Dr. Joey Shulman shares natural ways to reduce your stress.
What is the five ways to naturally reduce stress?
1) Eating The Right Way
You MUST eliminate foods that can exacerbate stress such as refined flours and sugars. When you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed your body naturally craves foods that are sugary, full of fat, or salt. These will cause more brain and body inflammation, which will only make symptoms worse (and can cause sleep to be restless). Examples of foods that can help with brain health and can help satisfy a craving without causing heighted stress reaction in the body are:
- Add some brazil nuts into your smoothie – they are rich in selenium which help with stress
- Fatty fish – rich in omega 3 and have been shown to reduce inflammation
- Eggs – a source of vitamin D and protein – both helpful in regulating mood and blood sugar
- Dark chocolate –it appears the flavanoids in dark chocolate reduce neuroinflammation. Chocolate also has a high tryptophan content, which the body uses to turn into mood-enhancing such as serotonin in the brain.
- Tumeric – has been shown to be very effective at reducing inflammation – pills or powder
- Green tea – releases l-thenine in the brain that helps you feel very calm and alert at the same time.
Source: Chemistry World
2) Try Meditation and Mindfulness
It is best to practice meditation in the early morning to set the tone for your day. In addition, you are more likely to have some quiet time in the AM where you can be alone. It’s helpful to have a designated place to sit that feels right to you. For example, on a yoga zafu when meditating with a guided mediation. You can sit quietly or use a guided version.
Another technique to relax is the 4-7-8 breathing technique developed by Dr. Weil based on a yoga technique called Prayanama.
Here are the steps:
- Relax, close your eyes if you feel comfortable and exhale for a count of 4.
- Then visualize a calm setting and inhale for 7 seconds and hold
- When you can no longer hold your breath, exhale and breath out all anxiety
Repeat as many times as you like. You can do the 4-7-8 breathing technique many times during the day. The more practice, the better.
Source: Allina Health
Need a mat for meditation? Click the image below
3) Engage in Joy
Sounds simple right? To train the brain not to loop on things that make you nervous or worried – you need to create a different neuropathway. Find things that “make you lose track of time” or that give you great joy. Dancing, reading, music, your dog, friends, outdoor time, or de-cluttering a closet. Things that involve creativity tend to be very helpful in this regard.
4) Supplements and Body Scan
Consider supplementing with a mixed B vitamin for some extra nervous system support. Take a moment and identify where you are feeling the anxiety. Is it your shoulders, throat or jaw area? Wherever you feel that tension – try to soften the area with relaxing thoughts, gentle massage or breath work. This may not work at first – but the more you repeat this – the more effect it will have on the body!
5) Feed Your Gut and Mind
We know that over 70% of your seratonin is in your gut. If you are having gut issues (constipation, bloating etc.) consider supplementing with gut enhancing supplements such as pre and probiotics and taking a very close look at your diet. Other helpful ingredients include marshmallow, quercitrin and slippery elm (take to your naturopath, holistic nutritionists or doctor about your specific concerns).
Source: Atlas Biomed
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