Maintaining our daily lives often means dealing with stress, whether we like it or not. However, understanding how to handle stress is crucial for physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your stress that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine without disrupting your ability to perform at your best.
It's easy to think of exercise as something you do to improve your strength or cardiovascular endurance. However, exercise has several stress-busting benefits, as well.
For starters, a good exercise session will boost your body's production of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers. They are responsible for the feeling of pleasure you get after eating good food or receiving a hug. Endorphins also facilitate a significant reduction in stress stimuli and anxiety.
Though it may sound counterintuitive to stress relief, exercise can simulate the effects of stress. However, this simulation provides your body with the opportunity to practice working through those effects. With enough training, you'll be better equipped to handle a fight or flight response that isn't simulated.
Regular exercise also enhances other aspects of your health that can positively affect your stress levels. For example, exercise has been shown to help improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety and depression. In addition, exercising more allows you to get higher quality sleep at night, which is a significant component of fighting stress.
Any exercise can carry stress-relieving benefits if you enjoy it and remain consistent. Please consult your physician before starting an exercise program.
Though it has many physical effects on your body, stress begins in the mind. So, there is no better place to fight it than at the source. Guided meditation lets you clear your mind when it's so overwhelmed with thoughts and scenarios that your stress response triggers constantly.
Sometimes referred to as visualization, guided meditation is where you form mental images of places or situations that are relaxing for you. Then, you use your senses to bring these visions to life, sending your mind on a trip while your body remains in one place. You can practice this alone or with the help of a guide or teacher. There are even videos online that lead you through guided meditative exercises.
Just like physical exercise, guided meditation is most effective when you create a routine and stick to it. Your mind is constantly bombarded with stressful stimuli, so you need to practice to make dealing with it easier and more consistent.
When was the last time you thought about breathing? It seems like such a natural function that the idea of not effectively doing it sounds hard to believe. However, the way you breathe has a significant effect on how your body reacts to stimuli. And many of us don't breathe deeply enough.
Your lungs aren't the only part of your body involved in respiration. There is a large muscle at the base of your chest called the diaphragm. This muscle contracts and flattens when you inhale, creating a vacuum that pulls air into your lungs. When it expands on an exhale, the diaphragm helps push the air out of your lungs.
An increased need for respiration is one of the main symptoms of anxiety and stress. Taking short and shallow breaths using only your lungs simulates the feelings of low oxygen that anxiety can create. Unfortunately, this leads to a feedback loop where your body only becomes more stressed during times when it's not simulated.
Instead, it would help if you practiced deep breathing through your diaphragm to control your stress response.
Please remember that it will take a lot of time to relearn breathing. Therefore, practice as much as possible, and be mindful of how you breathe throughout the day, including in stressful situations.
Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining your body's equilibrium. During times of stress, having the proper nutrients will help fortify you against systemic consequences of stress and anxiety, such as reduced immune response and hormonal changes. However, our busy lives often prevent us from eating as well as we should, so it becomes necessary to enhance your nutrition with supplements.
There are several excellent supplements available that will bust your stress while actively supporting your health. For example, Ashwagandha is highly effective at helping you adapt to stress and increase your energy. Studies have linked magnesium deficiency to stress levels. And L-theanine is the amino acid in green tea that helps boost serotonin levels and reduce heart rate.
If you're looking for supplements that can offer stress relief and help you perform at your best, check out Mdrive's full range of supplements and stay driven.
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