The simple act of holding hands or even giving a tight hug to someone you love can help you immediately feel better and lighter, observes nutrition and stress management expert Dr Khushboo Thakker Garodia.
All stress is not created equal.
The ‘once in a while’ stress often pushes you to do better.
But we can experience different levels of stress ranging from small challenges to major crises.
So stress is an inevitable part of life.
While you can’t always control what goes on outside of you, you can definitely control how you react and respond to it.
It’s only when stress becomes unmanageable, or chronic, that it negatively affects your health and sense of well being.
If you feel that the stress is affecting your life and is making you feel unwell here are some things you can do to get your health back on track:
1. Eat clean
Eating the right foods at the right time can not only help stabilise your mood but also reduce the risk of metabolic diseases.
Try to avoid sugary and processed packaged snacks.
It is very important to plan your meal ahead of time, so you are prepared and not forced to eat whatever is available.
Workouts are a non-negotiable part of life when it comes to managing stress.
Giving your muscles the much needed movement releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.
A few minutes of outdoor walk and fresh air has a positive impact on one’s health both mentally and physically.
3. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to our thoughts and feelings and how it affects your body — in a way that increases your sensitivity and ability to manage situations better and make better choices.
4. Express gratitude
When things around you are difficult, finding something to be grateful for is a great way of reminding yourself about the good that exists in your life.
Every night before you go to bed, write down three things you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal every day.
5. Find ‘me-time’
‘Me-time’ can be a wonderful way to relieve stress.
Incorporating it into your daily schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better.
6. Laugh out loud
A hearty laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones. It makes your brain happy.
7. Improve sleep hygiene
We all know that stress can cause you to lose sleep. And this lack of sleep is an added stress on the mind and the body.
This cycle fatigues the brain and body and only gets worse if not managed sooner.
Make sure to catch the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep.
Turn the TV and mobile phone off an hour earlier. Dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed.
Have a warm shower before bed or simply sip on warm milk. It may be the most effective tip to help you sleep better.
8. Watch your breath
Catch your breathing pattern when you are stressed and you will notice shallow breathing.
Now consciously take a deep breath — do this for the next few minutes — breathe in from your nose and breathe out from your mouth and soon you will start to feel better.
Deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps centre your body, and clears your mind.
9. Spend time with loved ones
If you feel too tired or stressed, simply dial a friend or someone you love to share details about your day.
The simple act of holding hands or even giving a tight hug to someone you love can help you immediately feel better and lighter.
When you feel good with someone you love, your body releases oxytocin, it makes you feel happy and relaxed.
10. Reassess your life and cut things out that add to your stress
While all the above strategies help manage stress, it is very important to let go of things that add to your stress and no longer add value to your life.
This can help you experience more peace.
It could be an activity like smoking or drinking or being too connected to social media or having too much caffeine or anything that does not nourish your soul.
It is time for some cuts and changes to your daily habits that could be instrumental in helping you feel happier and more relaxed.
Again there is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress management.
What works for one person might not work for another. Often finding the best stress relief self-care strategies may take some experimenting, consistency and practice.
It is very crucial to keep looking for the tools and techniques that will help you manage life’s curve balls in a healthy way.
Managing stress appropriately is important for your overall well-being.
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