The average person living in the 21st Century is no stranger to the word “busy.” With hectic schedules comes stress, especially in this on-the-go world we live in. There are virtually endless amounts of factors that cause stress, including school, relationships, parenting, and work.
Let’s face it – stress is easier to come by now more than ever. Whether it be business, education, or just good old entertainment, technology is a key factor that has opened up a whole new world through innovative products and services. You probably reap the benefits of technology on a daily basis, but it is also likely to cause a lot of stress in your life.
Think about it – your phone is constantly notifying you of the latest text message, email, or social media alert. Remaining connected at all times can be very stressful – and we’re only talking about technology!
The essence of this idea is simple: Life can be stressful! Fortunately, there are some strategies you can apply that serve as a remedy for stress in the busy life you lead!
Feeding your body the right vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies is a great way to manage stress. In fact, building up your nutritional “fortress” might be one of the best ways to keep stress at bay. Here are the top nutrients for dealing with stress!
The first botanical to turn to for stress is Ashwagandha. This plant is rich in a large number of compounds that include alkaloids, fatty acids, and amino acids. Ashwagandha is known for its wide-range of health benefits and the anti-stress effects of this plant have been studied extensively throughout the years – thus making it a trusted stress-reducing remedy. Ashwagandha is commonly known as the “Indian Winter Cherry” because of its importance in Indian Medicine.
Ashwagandha is regarded as an adaptogen – a plant that has the ability to help the body resist physical and chemical sources of stress. This is made possible by reducing the amount of cortisol in blood. In turn, Ashwagandha helps maintain homeostasis to provide a sense of comfort and stress relief. Adaptogens have been around for hundreds of years but have experienced a renaissance of sorts in recent history.
If you’re looking to manage your stress through the use of Ashwagandha, there are a number of healthy supplements that contain the ability to reduce cortisol levels and stress. This plant is not commonly present in food sources, so supplements are the way to go.
It’s fair to say that Magnesium isn’t always associated with stress relief. In fact, men use it to promote testosterone while the elderly turn to Magnesium for bone and muscle support. However, the versatility of the mineral is on full display because of its added support for stress relief.
Magnesium’s importance lies within circulation and proper support for a functioning musculoskeletal system. However, this mineral acts as a co-factor for over 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions throughout the body, one of which is blood pressure regulation. It is common to experience a rise of blood pressure when stressed, and one way to manage this is through the use of Magnesium. Plus, Magnesium is used as a muscle relaxer to reduce soreness – especially after physical activity.
Recent research now shows that Magnesium can aid with depression and anxiety relief. Unfortunately, modern farming has depleted much of the available magnesium from the soil. So while you can get some magnesium from leafy greens and almonds, you might consider supplementation. However, you will want to look for a magnesium supplement that features a high-absorption form, such as Magnesium Bisglycinate or Magnesium Citrate.
Next up on the list is Rhodiola – a plant that grows in cold, harsh, and mountainous environments in Europe, Asia, and some parts of the Artic. It’s safe to say the Rhodiola root is battle-tested from the start! This herb provides amazing effects on the mind and body with its ability to support healthy stress levels. It’s important to note that this nutrient has not undergone the same amount of testing as other stress remedies and therefore does not boast the same backing from clinical studies as, for instance, Ashwagandha, although a number of studies have been done in Russia and published in Russian. However, recent research is proving Rhodiola to be of use for improving mental and physical performance. And as a fatigue-fighter, Rhodiola can help keep stress at bay by keeping you energized and calm at the same time.
Like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola is a plant and therefore it is more practical to seek out sources of this botanical through dietary supplements instead of food.
Melatonin is perhaps one of the most commonly sought-after ingredients when it comes to healthy sleep. The human body produces Melatonin through the pineal gland and is crucial to maintain an ideal sleep cycle. This particular nutrient is different than other stress remedies because it is mainly used to relax the body right before sleep. As reported by the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality, a part of the Department of Health & Human Services, studies show Melatonin safely decreases sleep latency and improves sleep efficiency, which is the ratio of the total time spent asleep compared to time in bed.. Plus, Melatonin can assist your body in recovering from jet lag, disruptions in sleep schedule, and even insomnia. This is helpful if you’re looking to cut down on the time between laying down and actually drifting off into deep sleep (sleep latency) — a time when people often stress themselves out with random thoughts!
As mentioned, your body is able to produce Melatonin on its own. Still, it’s important to seek external sources of Melatonin, especially if you’re on the hunt for a calming remedy. According to SleepFoundation.org, banana, pineapple, and orange are three nutrient-filled sources of Melatonin. Warm milk and heart-healthy fats such as almonds are solid options as well.
There is a total of 8 B-Vitamins – all of which provide required nutrition that help sustain health and wellness throughout your body. For the sake of remaining on a stress-related track, we’ll focus on the 5 B-Vitamins that help maintain a healthy nervous system. These B-Vitamins are Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), and Cobalamin (B12). It is helpful to know that a healthy nervous system is essential to your body when fighting symptoms caused by stress.
These 5 vitamins are often turned to for stress relief. Clinical research shows that certain B-Vitamins lead to significant improvement in stress relief, especially in relation to workplace stress.
A Vitamin B-rich diet includes whole grains, meat, and dairy products. Brown rice, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk are all loaded with all 5 vitamins that deal with stress!
Moving past healthy nutrition, it’s important to include enough daily activity in order to manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of the most universally agreed upon methods to combat stress is exercise. There are a countless number of ways to go about this, ranging from an easy walk around the block to an intense weight-lifting session. Exercising daily is key for your mental and physical health. You may not know it, but consistent physical activity does wonders for hormones and neurochemical balance. The two hormones to keep an eye on are adrenaline and cortisol – both of which can be positively influenced by exercise.
Virtually any kind of exercise will help relieve you of stress. It is safe to say that some forms of physical activity provide greater benefits than others, but consistent exercise of any type should do the trick! According to Harvard Health, swimming is the ideal workout. Swimming is deemed the “perfect” workout because water helps take the strain off your muscles which allows you to exert your energy more efficiently than on dry land. The weight-bearing effects of swimming provide comfort and stress that support the high standards Harvard has placed on this workout.
While many would say Yoga falls under the exercise umbrella, it deserves to stand alone because of the benefits it brings to the table. Yoga is substantially different than traditional exercise yet still is considered one of the most effective activities for stress relief. The beauty of Yoga lies within its ability to tie in both mental and physical disciplines in order to achieve ultimate comfort. Perhaps the most common form of this activity is called Hatha Yoga – a form that emphasizes controlled breathing couple with physical exercise. Studies show that Hatha Yoga may reduce stress and anxiety as well as other relaxation techniques, but with the added physical benefits.
It’s important to note that Yoga should be done properly because it could lead to injury. If able, try to consult professional instructors or trusted websites before diving right into Yoga. When done correctly, Yoga allows your body to manage stress in a safe and enjoyable way. As always, make sure to listen to your body and consider the boundaries of what it can and can’t do.
8. Food Choices
With a countless number of fast-food options available at our fingertips, a strict diet that consists of only healthy meals can be quite the challenge. It’s proven that a consistent helping of unhealthy food may sap your motivation and lead to bleak moods. Thankfully, it is also proven that healthy foods can enhance your well-being and even assist in keeping stress in check. The reason for this is that food has a direct impact on your blood pressure, your mood, and more. The nutrients found in your fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish all have the potential to leave a positive impact on blood flow. A more detailed explanation of this is found in nutrient-rich sources such as blueberries, tuna, and red wine. A healthy diet that includes foods such as blueberries, omega-3 sources like salmon and tuna, and healthy nuts are directly associated with brain health. Your food choices are critical for managing stress. At the end of the day, putting in the extra effort to consume healthy food over junk food can go a long way!
9. Time Management
Next up on the list is time management. If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably interacted with at least one calendar app in your lifetime. There are a number of different apps responsible for reminding you of future meetings, events, phone calls, and more. The reason is quite simple – a structured schedule is far less stressful than the dreaded jumbled mess of missed assignments, video conferences, and whatever else is knocking at your door.
The fight against stress goes beyond our phones. MentalHelp.net suggests keeping a list of all the things you have to accomplish helps manage stress. Writing things down on a piece of paper will help you get a sense of what needs to be accomplish, all while keeping your stress in check. Also, try not to emphasize one task over another. Instead, balance your to-do list and place an equal emphasis on each responsibility. This will lead to a more complete effort and will keep your stress at bay.
10. Getting Enough Sleep
Rounding out the list of ways to deal with stress is sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial for most aspects of your health – especially stress. An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from sleep-related illness. The amount of people that have trouble sleeping is on the rise – and with that comes health issues that demand recognition. Stress is one of the more prevalent issues that relate to sleep trouble, but there are solutions to help combat these woes. As mentioned, exercise is a great way to combat stress while exerting energy in a healthy and safe fashion. It’s quite simple – the more you work out, the greater amount of energy you’ll burn! Stress.org states a direct correlation between physical activity and healthy sleep, so it may be a good idea to put your body through some workouts to help you drift off into a peaceful slumber at night.