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This article was written by Tania Bhattacharya on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
Blame it on the society that we live in or the kind of lifestyle we lead, shielding ourselves from stress is almost becoming impossible. No matter where we are and what we do, it seems that stress always has its way into us. But how much stressed are we as a nation? The American Psychological Association tried to find an answer through a survey it conducted in 2017. The survey cited various factors including work, personal finance, and the socio-political makeup of America as the most disturbing triggers for stress. While 14 percent of the responders resort to unhealthy practices such as smoking for dealing with stress, 53 percent said they exercise or participate in physical activities in an attempt to cope with stress. Other alternatives that most people are turning to as stress busters include listening to music (47 percent), praying (29 percent), and meditating or yoga (12 percent).
How do you manage stress?
Did you know that a few simple changes to our lifestyle can help to reduce our everyday levels of stress and improve the quality of our life? Here are a few things to consider:
We need to understand that stress is a psychological condition and hence in order to deal with it, the first thing to do is to calm down and keep our mind healthy. That’s exactly what meditation, a mind-body practice that has a long history of being practiced across the world, helps in achieving. Studies show that meditation is effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression apart from helping you to manage pain better and improve overall health.
- Healthy food choices
Believe it or not, the kind of food we eat (or don’t eat) affects our psychological wellbeing. However, mindful eating can significantly improve your health and reduce stress. Vitamin B found in common food items such as chickpeas, chicken, salmon, plain yogurt, and oatmeal can help in generating pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine and erase anxiety. Similarly, magnesium in food such as spinach, tofu, and almonds has a calming effect on the body and relaxes the muscles. Psychological stress can manifest in physical conditions such as belly fat and may even damage the brain cells. Including enough vitamin C in your diet will help control this damage and build a strong immune system.
- Get a pet
Studies show that pets can reduce the level of stress. Petting an animal or playing with it can reduce the secretion of stress hormone cortisol and increase the levels of oxytocin that’s responsible for lower stress levels. A pet owner, especially the owner of a dog, gets a lot of exercise in walking the dog and playing with it, which is also a good way to reduce stress. If you are not allergic to pets, getting one might be a good idea.
One of the essential steps in reducing stress is to give importance to yourself. Take care of yourself and do things that make you happy. Surround yourself with positive people, say no to addiction, identify your stress triggers and stay away from them as much as possible, and most importantly, embrace a healthy lifestyle. Also, pamper yourself with a good massage every now and then. It will help you relax almost instantly.
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