Stop Stressing & Start Feeling Great – Here’s How

Occasional stress can be helpful, giving you motivation in today’s fast-paced world. But, long periods of stress can cause serious health problems. Here’s more. 

From work to family to money concerns, stress is a natural consequence of life in today’s fast-paced world. The good news is that you can use short bursts of it to prepare for an important presentation, meet a tight deadline or escape physical danger. Too much, though, is just plain bad for your health.

Health Consequences of Stress

Stress affects every part of your body. It tenses your muscles, quickens your heart rate and breathing speed, and raises your blood pressure to deal with the perceived threat. These physical effects are usually innocuous in short bursts, but can cause a variety of health problems in the chronically stressed.

Mental consequences of stress include:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anger and irritability
  • Loss of focus or motivation

Physical consequences of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

Stress and Weight Gain

Do you ever reach for comfort foods, such as a batch of cookies or a bag of cookies, when you’re stressed? Do you tend to use more substances like caffeine or alcohol? These choices may be increasing your stress levels even more.

Typical comfort foods like fried chicken, pizza, macaroni and cheese, chocolate and pastries tend to be high in fat and/or sugar. Eating these foods may feel good in the moment, but they leave you tired and sluggish in the long run, less able to deal with the source of the stress. Alcohol similarly impairs your ability to deal with stress.

That vanilla latte you grab to keep going through the stressful situation may not be a good idea, either. Sugar and caffeine trigger stress hormones that can make a bad situation worse.

How to Combat Stress

One simple way to reduce stress is to improve your diet. Instead of fatty, sugary comfort foods, choose healthier options. Foods high in complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and sweet potatoes cause your brain to release serotonin, a relaxing hormone, without making you sluggish. Foods high in good fat, such as salmon and tuna, can help regulate your stress hormones and stress surges. Balancing your diet with healthy fats, protein, and plenty of fruits and veggies is a great start to reducing your stress level.

Exercise is also a crucial aspect of natural stress relief. You may feel too busy to stay active, but exercise releases powerful endorphins that improve your mood. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve your sleep. Aim to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, such as running.

Set aside time to actively relax. Scrolling through Facebook or watching TV may feel like an easy way to unwind, but they do nothing for your overall wellness. Set aside time to focus on a relaxing activity, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Try meditation, deep breathing, or a relaxing hobby such as knitting or reading. You can also make exercise a form of active relaxation with yoga, a long walk or a hike through nature.

For surges of stress, deep breathing can be the perfect calming tool. When stressed, we tend to take short, shallow breaths or hold our breath for longer than necessary. If you feel particularly stressed out, try taking five deep, full breaths.

About Roger & Jane Hardy

Roger and Jane created Hardy Healthy Gut to show you that every problem in life is easier to solve when your mind and body are working properly.
And you don't have to be a health nut or fitness enthusiast to enjoy a mind & body that's firing on all cylinders.

All it takes are simple, daily habits that get easier and easier with practice.

The tips we teach are the same simple daily habits that helped us feel better in our 40's than we did in our 20's.
And these same daily habits have made our 50's and 60's a successful adventure!

Now we look forward to the future and we're enjoying getting older!

Which proves that age is just a number and that number isn't what's slowing you down.
Your age isn't the real cause of those aches, pains, and brain fog.

All of this is possible for you too, my friend!

So thank you for being here. I hope you use these tips to transform your life and enjoy retirement as much as we have!

Click here to learn more about how Roger can help you boost your success

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