April is National Stress Awareness Month, which highlights an area we all could likely benefit from addressing.
Whether it's good pressure (like arranging a wedding) or negative pressure, (for example, losing your job), we have all felt the impact of stress at some point in our life.
Stress can cause physical symptoms like weariness, headaches, and muscle strain, as well as contribute major health problems like cardiovascular disease. In fact, 77 percent of Americans claim to have bodily symptoms as a result of their stress. Furthermore, 33% believe they are under a lot of stress, and 48% believe stress is having a negative influence on their personal and professional lives.
While stress is inescapable for the vast majority of Americans, there are strategies to help prevent and manage it! Take a look at these seven stress-reduction and management strategies:
1. Eat Healthy - Nutrition is the foundation of wellness, mentally and physically. Eating a diet rich in fresh, healthy foods aids the body's natural stress management. Avoiding stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, which can intensify stress, disrupt sleep, and worsen the effects of stress on the body, is also a good idea. Finally, addressing nutrient deficiencies like magnesium and vitamin d can also play a role in stress management.
2. Get Moving - Regular exercise can lower blood pressure and give a healthy outlet for stress relief. Group fitness classes can take the benefits that much further as they also provide stress relief via friendship, fun, and camaraderie!
3. Try Box-Breathing - Inhale, hold, exhale, hold, and repeat. This type of breathing can restore mental and physical equilibrium, while decreasing stress and tension.
4. Get Outside - Time in nature and breathing in fresh air can help you destress. Oxygen is thought to affect serotonin levels in the body, which supports feelings of happiness and relaxation.
5. Stay Hydrated - Studies suggest that dehydration raises cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone. Set yourself up for success by drinking water regularly throughout the day.
6. Try Massage - Massage can help your body recuperate from stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. It’s another great way to relax and manage stress.
7. Get Your Zzzz's - Sleep deprivation is a type of torture for a reason. It's tough to deal with stressful events when you don't get enough sleep, and it can lead to worry and despair. Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime to build a healthy sleeping regimen, and attempt to establish a peaceful nighttime ritual, such as reading, a warm bath, or meditating. This process will help your mind unwind and prepare for a good night's sleep.
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