Table of Contents
Introduction … 4
1. Your Stress-Busting Diet ………. 7
Foods that Fight Stress …… 7
Putting Together Your Diet Plan …….12
2. Your Active Lifestyle …………… 15
Best Stress-Busting Exercises ………15
Your Regular Routine ……..16
Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health ………….17
Getting Started With Exercise ………..18
3. Lifestyle Habits Which Cause Stress …. 20
Drinking Alcohol 21
Sleeping Habits ..22
Social Habits ……23
4. Lifestyle Habits Which Relieve Stress … 25
Friends and Family …………27
5. Your Lifetime Relaxation Techniques … 29
Breathing Techniques …….29
Advanced Breathing Techniques …..30
Conscious Relaxation …….31
6. Recognizing Stressful Situations ………. 33
Noticing Your Stress ………33
How to Manage Stressful Thoughts .34
Finding Your Techniques ..35
Finding Your Stressors …..36
Being In Control .37
Conclusion … 38
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Putting Together Your Diet Plan
Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feel-ing worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears. When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. How-ever, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run. Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yo-ghurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress.
When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eat-ing a diet which is healthy and balanced. In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier over-all, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too. A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries
Mid-morning snack: Natural yoghurt with fruit or a handful of pis-tachio nuts
Lunch: A pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate
Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables
Before bed: Chamomile tea
Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good idea! Remember to exercise good portion control when eat-ing foods such as nuts, chocolate, yoghurt or avocado!
As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.
2. Your Active Lifestyle
When you’re feeling stressed out, exercising is probably the last thing on your mind. However, having a lifestyle which is active and participating in some sort of exercise regularly can actually help you to feel calmer and less stressed. Cardiovascular exer-cise has been proven to have a wide range of health benefits be-sides weight loss and increased fitness, and has been shown in studies to actually reduce the symptoms of depression. Because of this, taking part in regular exercise should be an important part of your lifestyle when it comes to dealing with your stress.
Best Stress-Busting Exercises
If you’ve ever been stressed out and went outside for a while to ‘walk it off’, you’ve probably found that this approach actually works. Exercise, no matter how gentle, can often be the best thing for stress and anxiety. Walking has been proven to have a num-ber of huge physical and mental health benefits, so if you’re not used to exercising a lot or don’t want to join your local gym, there’s nothing to worry about as simply going for a walk could be enough to help you feel better and clear your head.
If you’ve had a stressful day or something is really getting to you, getting out for a walk can be the best, quick-acting antidepres-sant. This is especially true if it’s a nice day and you’re getting some sunshine as well, as Vitamin D is absolutely crucial for men-tal health. Simply heading for a walk up the road or setting off to your local park to wander around for a while can help to take your mind off whatever is stressing you out, allow you to clear your head and put things into perspective – all of which can help you to manage your stress and deal with your stressors in a calm, col-lected manner. This is because walking, which is a simple exer-cise that most of us can easily do, releases endorphins, which create feelings of increased happiness and euphoria. So, if you’re feeling like stress is taking over, hitting the pavements for ten minutes or taking your dog for a walk can be a quick solution.
Your Regular Routine
Whilst exercise can create a great ‘quick fix’ for those who are feeling anxious and stressed out, sticking to a regular exercise routine can actually help to improve symptoms in the long run. Doctors recommend that people who are suffering from chronic stress, depression or anxiety to make sure that they get plenty of time in the gym. But, don’t worry if you can’t or don’t want to join a gym or fitness center, as there are plenty of exercises which you can do from the comfort of your own home. For the best physical
and mental results, you should mix a range of cardiovascular and weight training exercises. This could include walking, jogging, cy-cling, or swimming, for example, along with exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, crunches, and stretches. Com-bining these two types of exercises will not only improve your mental health by releasing feel-good chemicals to your brain, you will also reap the benefits of a body which is stronger and healthi-er.
Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health
Exercising regularly has a range of benefits for your mental health. Not only does the actual act of participating in physical ac-tivity release endorphins to your brain which will make you feel happier, calmer and help you to clear your mind, it can also help in a range of other ways. Since exercising regularly can help to improve your physical appearance due to muscles which are stronger and more toned and perhaps weight loss, this can help to give your self-esteem a boost, resulting in increased levels of self-confidence which in turn can have an effect on your stress levels.
Along with that, exercise is important for keeping you in good physical health. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to prevent against diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some cancers. Since poor physical health can be one of the biggest causes of feeling stressed or at the very least contribute to increasing anxiety levels in stressful situations, exercising regularly can help to reduce stress by giving us less to be stressed about. Regular exercise can also help with issues such as muscle or joint pain, which in turn can help you to feel better, stronger and healthier overall. In turn, you’ll feel more able to take on stressful situations and will be less likely to be worried about your own health or dealing with pain and discomfort.
Getting Started With Exercise
If your lifestyle has been more on the sedentary side than that of the active recently, there’s nothing to worry about as gentle exer-cise is often enough to help improve your stress levels. If you’re taking up exercising regularly for the first time or haven’t done much exercise for some time, it’s important to make sure that you start off slowly and gently in order to make sure that you give your body the time to get used to the increase in activity and gradually improve your strength. Jumping straight from the sofa to a strenu-ous exercise routine can actually do more damage than good. So, don’t feel bad if you can only do a little bit of exercise at first – as you continue to practice, you will be able to increase the amount that you do.
Yoga for Stress
Yoga is one of the best exercises which you can do in order to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Yoga is designed to not on-ly improve fitness levels, strength and balance, but also clear the mind and help reduce stressful thoughts and feelings. Taking part in yoga not only allows you to improve your levels of fitness and strength to be healthier overall, but it can also strengthen your mind and help you to feel more at peace with yourself and every-thing around you. Yoga is also often associated with mindfulness meditation, which can be extremely useful for dealing with stress and anxiety. Another benefit of yoga is that it is often done social-ly – joining a yoga class means that not only will you be able to benefit from the physical and mental health benefits of taking part in yoga, but you will also be able to reap the social benefits of meeting new friends and getting support, something which can be incredibly useful for dealing with stress and anxiety.
3. Lifestyle Habits Which Cause Stress
Unhealthy lifestyle habits are some of the biggest stressors. You may not realize it, but some of the habits which you do on a regu-lar basis could actually be a huge contributor to your stress levels. Do you lift a cigarette to your mouth whenever you’re feeling stressed and anxious? Or, do you turn to alcohol to help you re-lax? Maybe you drink more cups of coffee in a day than you should, or stay up late working to find solutions to fix whatever is causing your stress? The thing is, doing any of these can usually only serve to make your stress worse.
Stress and smoking tend to have a direct relationship with one another. For many people, having a cigarette is what they turn to when stressed as they feel that inhaling the smoke from the ciga-rette calms them and helps to clear their head. For smokers, be-ing addicted to nicotine itself can actually cause stress levels to rise. When the body is deprived of nicotine, stress can be a huge symptom of cravings. Since having a cigarette quenches the nico-tine cravings, the smoker begins to associate having a cigarette with feeling less stressed.
On the other hand, smoking marijuana can actually have the op-posite effect. If you live in a state where marijuana is legal for ei-ther medical or recreational use, you may be able to try using cannabis to help with stress and anxiety.
The problem with turning to alcohol when you are stressed out is that alcohol is a depressant. Have you ever noticed that you are a happy drink when you were feeling good before you started drink-ing, but if you drink when you’re feeling down, you only end up feeling worse? This is because alcohol tends to heighten which-ever mood you were in when you were sober. If you drink alcohol when you’re stressed, you could end up feeling worse. Along with that, alcohol can impair your judgement of situations, therefore getting drunk when you’re stressed out could lead to some regret-table decisions. For this reason, it’s vital to consume alcohol in moderation in order to help control your stress levels. For exam-ple, one glass of red wine per night can actually be good for your health, but it’s important to avoid overconsuming.Other Details
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