Reducing Stress and Anxiety

There’s no denying that life is stressful, even more so in the last year or so. Staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough for many. There has been a lot of pressure on mental health and it is normal to be more stressed than ever in such unnormal times. Despite everything, it is possible to manage stress so that it doesn’t get the better of you. The key is in understanding how stress works.

When we are in stressful situations, the adrenal glands flood the body with cortisol. Cortisol has gotten a bad reputation, but it’s actually very important in the regulation of a number of physiological processes, including immune response, inflammation, cardiovascular function, nervous system function, and more. When we are under stress, cortisol triggers an increase in energy and concentration among other physiological changes intended to deal with a potential threat. When stress is prolonged, however, cortisol continues to flood the body, leading to negative effects, including adrenal exhaustion, reduced immune function, anxiety disorders, and chronic disease.

The first thing to be aware of is that eating junk food can exacerbate stress and anxiety. When stressed, most people crave foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt, and perhaps even caffeine. It makes sense, if cortisol raises energy levels, it has to come from somewhere, and these foods offer the quick energy needed to meet a threat. Over time, however, the adrenal glands have to work overtime to keep your blood sugar under control. Choose snacks that are high in protein and healthy fats such as nuts. Go with almonds or macadamia nuts for the magnesium for an efficient energy boost and to calm your nervous system. Swap your coffee, especially in the afternoon, for peppermint tea or another soothing alternative.

Exercise Can Help Raise Your Mood

Moderate exercise lowers stress levels by reducing cortisol production and triggering the release of endorphins which can raise your mood.

Meditation is becoming increasingly popular thanks to recent research into its potential for lowering stress levels. People in stressful situations or who work in high stress fields may be able to lower stress levels significantly just by spending a few minutes in meditative practice. Meditation requires very little and can be done anywhere. Even taking a few minutes in your car or on the bus is often enough to clear your mind.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good sleep at night is important. If you wake up refreshed in the morning, you will feel in a much better position to be able to tackle the stresses of the day. For some, insomnia can be a big obstacle to this. If you are a light sleeper, or if your partner snores, you may want to invest in some earplugs. If you are not sure which ones to choose,  buy a sample pack that contains lots of different types. Zoom Health offers both a male earplugs sample pack and a female earplugs sample pack so that you can find the perfect pair quickly.

Supplements for Managing Stress

If you’re looking for even more powerful stress relief, supplements may help. Try these:

Emergency Essence

With its calming effects, emergency essence is great for calming the emotions in a crisis. In a medical emergency, this remedy will help comfort an injured person until medical help is available. Emergency essence can be taken every hour as needed until you’re feeling better.

Rhodiola

This herb is useful for balancing hormone levels and supporting the adrenal glands. Studies have have found that Rhodiola may improve the ability of the cells to produce ATP, which can boost mental and physical health, as well as lowering anxiety. It is a great supplement for students who are getting ready for exams.

Lithium

Lithium is often used to treat mood disorders.Research shows that around 20mg of lithium per day can lower humans depressive symptoms and protect the brain from those conditions.In the UK, lithium carbonate (often referred to as just lithium) is the medication most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder.


Photo Credit: Anna Gutermuth on Flickr

Zoom Health is a leading UK supplier of  Home Health Tests and Earplugs

This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated regularly since.


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