By Julie Ann Kelly, Nutritional Scientist
Stress is your body’s response to certain situations. It can affect your health physically and mentally and alter your behaviour. While it would be impossible to completely avoid stress, it is important to try and manage and reduce stress in your life.
- Try to identify your triggers; or things that cause you stress. Discuss these with someone you are comfortable with to try and gain an external perspective. Take advice. Sometimes when you are caught up in the middle of an acutely stressful situation it is hard to think clearly.
- If you can remove or avoid the stressor then do so. If you can’t then take a break from it if possible.
- Eat well, regularly and drink plenty of water.
- Take some sort of daily exercise, even if you have to force yourself to do so initially. Exercise reduces levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. It also produces endorphins, which are mood elevators.
- Talk. To friends, family, colleagues and strangers. Isolating yourself during a stressful time can exacerbate an already frightening situation.
- There are many nutritional deficiencies linked to chronic stress. Ask in your local health food store about supplementing with Magnesium. The best on the market in terms of quality, purity and concentration are a powdered Magnesium Citrate called Mag365 and a capsule Magnesium Bisglycinate called Prizmag.
- Herbal supplements may also help certain people. Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola, Ginsing and Ashwagandha are all available over the counter. Vogel, one the founders of herbal medicine has a whole suite of tinctures for use in stress management including Avena Sativa, Passiflora and Valerian complex. Ask in your local health food store for the product most suited to you individually.
- Consider alternative therapies such as aromatherapy. Simply inhaling essential oils such as Lavender or Chamomile can have an instant calming effect. While certain oils and oil blends can act to prevent stress building up in the first place. Try Absolute Aromas Relaxation or Equilibrium in an oil diffuser or burner at the end of a hard day. They do exactly what they say on the box!
- The distraction of learning keeps your mind busy and therefore less likely to overthink or stress. Anything new and of interest to you will help you to alleviate stress - be it a craft such as crochet or a course such as project management.
- Practice mindfulness. Become aware of your breathing and learn to accept yourself for who you are. Some more hands on ways to improve mindfulness include meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy.