How would you rate your average stress level on a scale of one to 10? If it’s higher than you’d like it to be, it could be causing some negative health consequences. Insomnia, moodiness, poor memory, frequent colds, and feeling overwhelmed or easily agitated are all warning signs that you may have too much stress in your life.
Another major side effect of stress is that it can cause the body to hold on to excess fat in the worst areas – specifically, right around the midsection. We not-so-fondly refer to this as “stress weight gain”.
To reduce the negative side effects of stress in your life, it’s important to evaluate what causes the stress and eliminate what you can. To help manage your daily stress load, here is a shortcut to calm – because sometimes we just need to reduce stress now!
- Start your day with serenity. Stretch, take a few deep breaths, make a cup of coffee or tea and take the time to enjoy it.
- Increase your movement. Head out for a 30 minute walk to jump-start your morning, or add a yoga session to your afternoon. Just moving for 30 minutes every day will decrease the negative side affects of stress.
- Take breathing breaks. Stop and be present in the moment, listening to your breathing and focusing on deep, cleansing breaths to increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain and other organs.
- Drink more tea. Sometimes, sitting down with a warm cup of tea is just what you need to release some of that tension you’re carrying around. Try a soothing chamomile for extra relaxation, or a warming vanilla chai for an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Count to 10. It may sound simple, but it works. Next time you find yourself getting frustrated at work or at home, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and count to 10. You can do this!
- Find a Zen place. Whether that is going outside for a few minutes or finding a quiet nook to read for a little while, sometimes you just need a physical escape. Another way to reduce stress is to visualize yourself in a zen place – on a beach, in the mountains, or wherever you feel at peace.
- Eat foods that enhance calmness. There are some great, on-plan food options that can actually enhance the calm feeling in your mind. Read this list of calm foods to add to your next grocery store run!