Dealing with stress more effectively has become my main objective lately. Life is too short and, like most people, I certainly want to make the best out of it. Unfortunately, stress inducing situations happens all the time. That’s why living a happy and healthy life may take some strategizing. Here are a few of the approaches that may help us all reduce stress:
- Jump start the day with a balanced breakfast: When you skip the most important meal of the day, you are setting yourself up for moodiness and less coping capacity. Missing out on breakfast lowers your blood sugar levels and makes you feel cranky. Solution: Start your morning with some cold cereal or puffed grain served with berries and low fat milk or soy milk or have a whole grain toast or tortilla topped with low fat cheese or nut butter for a quick meal.
- Eat smart all day: Eating the right amount of carbohydrate and protein can help your body and mood stay steady all day by increasing serotonin levels, the “happy hormone”. Foods high in protein tend to contain large amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin. However, without carbs, the body cannot produce serotonin. Solution: select a low-sugar version of oatmeal in the morning. At lunch, have a salad with chickpeas or beans. At dinner, enjoy whole grain pasta.
- Gamble on Magnesium for comfort: Severe stress can make you anxious, irritable and unhappy; symptoms caused by the production of some powerful hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Magnesium appears to regulate tension by suppressing the release of these hormones. Solution: consume seafood, beans, nuts and leafy green veggies to protect your brain from these symptoms.
- Boost your vitamin C intake: a German study found that vitamin C may help reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress on people. Vitamin C appears to also reduce cortisol levels. When the body feels tension, cortisol is produced and triggers the fight or flight response. Solution: have orange juice, strawberries or guava for breakfast or snack; add more green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and asparagus to your meals.
- Don’t overdo caffeine. Moderate amounts of coffee, tea or other caffeine containing beverages may put you in the right state of mind. Caffeine may keep you mentally alert and overcome fatigue; but excessive use may cause you to feel anxious instead of calm. Solution: aim for no more than to 2 to 4 cups of coffee each day.
- Disconnect from technology: When you feel overwhelmed by your online community, it may cause you to feel fatigue, headaches or back pain. Pay attention to your wise body and take a break. Solution: Step away and take a walk, do some meditation, yoga or tai-chi or get in touch with your family and friends.