Feeling more stressed than usual? Here are five tips for you to tackle and overcome stress in healthy ways
When feeling intense amounts of stress, it would be all too easy to fall back to self-destructive behavior, such as unhealthy eating, drugs and alcohol, violent outbursts, and oversleeping. Add on the fact that if you’re too stressed too often, you could experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and nausea. Studies have also shown that stress can dysregulate your immune system and increase the risk of many other mental and physical illnesses.
All in all, it’s clear that neither acute nor chronic stress should be ignored. To learn more about healthy strategies for dealing with stress, read our list below.
Avoid your vices
Unless you want to develop a terrible dependency, don’t let unhealthy vices become your go-to in every stressful situation. This means avoiding bad habits like smoking or vaping, drinking alcohol excessively, and overeating junk food. These vices can also worsen your mental health and increase your cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone.
Cook for yourself
By cooking for yourself, you get to enjoy full control of what goes into your body. And at this stressful point in your life, you should be prioritizing healthy and filling meals made of foods that will support your mental health and gut health. Not only is cooking a meaningful activity, but choosing to cook nutritious meals for yourself is also a form of self-care. Even reheating healthy dishes delivered to your door is a step better than ordering fast food or skipping meals. For recipes, look to the Mediterranean diet for inspiration.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that we suggest exercise in times of stress since something as simple as walking and gardening can improve your mood. While all forms of exercise can induce mood-boosting hormones in our brains, we particularly suggest doing mind-body exercises like pilates or yoga. This way, you can enter a meditative state and feel more grounded as a result.
RELATED: 3 Major Reasons to Start Exercising
Take deep breaths
Similar to how mind-body exercises can help you in times of stress, other forms of mindfulness-based interventions can, too. Such interventions include slow breathing techniques that bring you down to 10 breaths per minute at most. You can also practice deep breathing by doing a guided or sitting meditation, for example. Ultimately, deep breathing can help to lower your cortisol and, in effect, your stress levels.
Make time for conversations
Finally, don’t forget to make time for conversations. This means making an effort to reach out to or be with the people you trust, such as your friends, family, counselor, priest, and the like. Tell them what you’re worried about, how you’re feeling, and how you’re coping. But don’t forget to share your happy moments, too. After all, having social support is necessary for managing stress.