The Keys to Reducing Stress in Your Daily Life

Stress is doing more to you than making you grouchy, frustrated, or impatient. Stress causes physical symptoms like frequent headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems, insomnia, and more. You can't always remove stressors from your life, but you can reduce the effect of stress by paying more attention to your body.

Eat Healthy Food

If you're busy and overwhelmed with work and life problems, you may be skipping meals, grabbing fast food, or filling up on sugar and caffeine. That's a mistake—bad eating habits are only making things worse. To fight stress, you need the right fuel. 

Foods high in vitamin C - such as oranges and berries - help lower cortisol levels and blood pressure. B vitamins, found in whole grains, eggs, and dairy, have been shown to produce the "feel-good" hormones of serotonin and dopamine. Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower anxiety; fish, avocados, and nuts are good sources.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting better quality sleep is also essential to your mental health. Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues. Your mind and body are closely linked, and if your bodily systems aren't recharging through sleep, it can affect your cognitive functioning and alertness.

It's important to find a strategy that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep for the recommended 7 to 8 hours each night. Stick with a routine of going to bed and getting up at regular times. Try relaxation techniques before going to bed, such as meditation or taking a hot bath.

Exercise

Giving your body a good workout can go a long way in reducing stress. Exercise boosts levels of endorphins and reduces stress-causing cortisol and epinephrine. It also increases oxygen to your muscles and brain and boosts your immune system by increasing the production of red blood cells and germ-fighting macrophages.

Exercise prepares you to handle any stress that comes your way. Whether you're running, lifting weights, or doing yoga, you are connecting your mind, body, and emotions. Your entire self must respond to the challenges of exercise, which is exactly how you must respond to stress.

You can't control everything that happens in your life, and you're bound to feel stressed occasionally. But you can control your daily lifestyle habits. Getting your body ready to fight stress can help you both physically and mentally.

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