Author Teresa Mitchell-Paterson
Most of us deal with stress every day – juggling multiple to do lists, packed schedules, financial worries, family and work stress. In fact, a startling 4.9 million of us say we’re stressed.[i] Thankfully there are simple ways to help reduce daily tension
1. Go to bed early (and wake up early)
Lack of sleep not only means you’ll feel rested and ready to face the day, but it’ll also help you cope with whatever life throws at you during the waking hours. A small study at Berkley University, California, found that when you sleep, there is a sharp drop in the levels of norepinephrine, a brain chemical associated with sleep.[ii]
As often as possible, go to bed at the same time every day, and follow a similar bedtime routine: whether it’s a warm bath, meditating (which can help restful sleep, and reduce stress too), making sure your room isn’t too hot or too cold, and ensuring there’s no noises or lights which may affect your ability to drop off.
2. Banish electronic devices
We’re all guilty of it: waking up in the night to check an email or social media, or sneakily looking at our phone when we should be focusing our attention elsewhere.
One British study of 100 people found that those who constantly check their phones, email, or social media have higher levels of stress than those who are less attached to that ‘ping’.[iii] The answer? A digital detox to wean yourself off the constant need for updates and messages. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that those who reduced checking their email inbox to just three times a day for one week were reportedly less stressed than those who continually refreshed the mail icon.[iv]
3. Eat well
Eating a nourishing, wholefood diet, low in salt, sugar and additives is a must to help reduce stress. By eating a wide-range of fresh, healthy foods, you’ll be more likely to get the nutrients you need to help maintain a balanced mind and body. Some foods can assist in lowering your stress (cortisol) levels including:
Oranges, capsicum and blueberries: these contain Vitamin C, which can help you feel less stressed as it lowers the level of cortisol in the blood[v]
Herbal teas: it’s tempting to reach for another coffee to fuel your day, but herbal teas are caffeine free, so you’ll be less jittery, plus you’ll sleep better too. Chamomile, liquorice or caffeine-free green tea are good choices
Salmon, walnuts and avocado: these all contain the healthy fats which are known for helping lower norepinephrine levels.
Green, leafy veg, dairy, whole grains: good sources of vitamin B and folate, high levels of which may help you fight stress
4. Supplement your stress
When you’re busy though it can be difficult to eat as healthily as recommended above. A daily stress-relieving supplement can ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need. An effective way to offset your body against stress is through adequate vitamin B levels. However as majority of these vitamins can’t be stored in your body, you need to ensure your supply is constant. An activated B vitamin group, made up of B6, B12, B5, B3 and B1, all help brain function, may help reduce your risk of anxiety by aiding in the transmission of dopamine and serotonin, and assists you achieve and maintain a calmer mood[vi].
Head outside and find some greenery to help reduce your stress levels, say researchers.[vii] It can be tempting to work instead of exercising, but even short breaks away from the pressure can make a difference. And exercises such as yoga, swimming, tai chi or stretching with meditation are all designed to help you calm a racing mind and take some time for you.[viii]
Stress and anxiety may be related to serious medical conditions and you should consult your healthcare practitioner to discuss your particular needs to optimise your health.
For more information on these, and other supplements, visit Eagle Natural Health on https://eaglenaturalhealth.com.au
[i] Was 2017 Australia’s most stressful year? LiveBetter – Medibank. Retrieved: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=medibank+survey+on+stress+4.9&rlz=1C1GGRV_enAU787AU787&oq=medibank+survey+on+stress+4.9&aqs=chrome.69i57.8511j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
[iii] Home Science News (2012) Study: Smartphone addiction a problem. UPI. Retrieved: https://www.upi.com/Study-Smartphone-addiction-a-problem/48411326388574/
[iv] Kushlev K, Dunn EW (2015) Checking email less frequently reduces stress. Computers in Human Behavior 43:220-228 Retrieved: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214005810
[v] Brody S et al (2002) A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol and subjective responses to psychological stress. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 159(3):319-24 Retrieved: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11862365
[vii] Jordan R (2015) Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature. Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Retrieved: https://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/
VII Benton D et al (1995) Vitamin Supplementation for 1 year improves mood. Neuropsychobiology 32(2) : 98-105 Retrieved: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/119220
[viii]AIPC (2017) Helping clients relax: techniques that focus on the body. AIPC Article library. Retrieved: https://www.aipc.net.au/articles/helping-clients-relax-techniques-that-focus-on-the-body/