Today we are going to talk about a little thing called stress. You may have heard of it. I’ve been told by my editor (aka my husband) that I’m too wordy and to just get to the point. So here is a no-nonsense Tuesday Tip for all you people out there who can’t spend seven minutes reading a post. I can’t spend seven seconds reading a post – so I feel ya!!
ACTION STEPS TO REDUCE STRESS
Yes, day drinking, indulging in the righteous herb and hanging out on TikTok for hours on end may seem like the right approach for the current stress “pandemic” but sadly, these activities may not be in your best interest. Here are some proven techniques to make you a more sane, less anxious and stress-ridden individual.
1. Try meditation and other relaxation techniques
Meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises can help minimize feelings of stress and anxiety. Meditation also has a few not so trivial side benefits:
» lower high blood pressure
» reduce resting heart rate
» decrease the body’s stress hormone, cortisol
Not sure where to start? Set aside a few minutes each day to simply focus on your breathing without external distractions or try listening to a guided meditation exercise online. Check out my post discussing Top 3 Meditation Apps and Five Ways to Relieve Stress That Feel Doable.
2. Unplug from your devices and connect with nature
iPhone surgically attached to your face? Can’t free the mouse from your grubby little hand? There is no question our daily lives contain way too much screen time. Step away from your computer or phone at regular intervals throughout the day. Spending time outdoors offers numerous health benefits, including improved mood and reduced stress levels. Can’t escape into nature? Research suggests that simply looking at photos of nature can help improve your mood. Really? I don’t know. Maybe if Brad Pitt was recumbent on a rock in the middle of the woods… (Wish granted! —Ed.)
3. Plan ahead and prioritize tasks
Set time each week to plan out daily tasks and upcoming events. You know, like a virtual game of mahjong. A virtual cocktail hour. A virtual bitch fest. An appropriately distanced social walk with friends. A book club meeting where no one has any intention of actually discussing a book. Find strategies that work best for you, whether that’s using a mobile app or keeping a paper planner to efficiently manage your schedule. Paper planner…come on!!
4. Talk to friends and family
Staying connected with family and loved ones can improve resilience to stress. Population groups across the world with the highest concentrations of 100 year olds, known as “Blue Zones,” prioritize family and social circles, which suggests that social connection plays a role in longevity and overall health. This circles back to getting off the phone, off the computer, off the news, off Netflix, off the TikTok.
5. Stay active and exercise
During exercise, the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety. Adults should participate in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity exercise each week to reap the many health benefits exercise offers. Now, apparently, it’s not enough to just watch people exercising, which was my personal preference. Lots of online quarantine opportunities abound. Varis by Equinox, BeachBody, Peloton has exercise classes that don’t actually involve that devious device called a stationary bike or just go out and, wait for it…wait for it…walk. Or if you’re truly adventurous you can run. But really, have you seen people running? Nobody looks happy running. Oh! I always wanted to know what you look like just before you’re about to vomit. Thanks for sharing… Or visually attractive. What are you DOING with those arms?? Are jogging or trying to claw out of a grave? Except maybe marathoners, but again, they often look absolutely miserable. Especially as they approach the finish line, when their brain is telling their legs one thing, but those limbs are clearly not receiving the messages…
6 SUPPLEMENTS TO MANAGE STRESS AND ANXIETY
Here is a list of six nutrients and botanicals that have been shown to help naturally manage stress and anxiety.
This increasingly well-known herb demonstrates a range of health benefits, including being a safe and well-tolerated natural stress remedy. Ashwagandha lessens stress by lowering elevated levels of cortisol in the body. Additionally, ashwagandha may improve total sleep time and sleep quality, for those suffering from insomnia often triggered by stress and anxiety. Here is a botanical blend I love called Cortisol Manager. Take 1-2 at bedtime.
Chamomile has long been used as a mild sedative to promote calmness and ease feelings of anxiety. Chamomile may improve moderate-to-severe symptoms associated with a generalized anxiety, one of the most common chronic psychological disorders. Try a cup or two of herbal tea. Can be very calming. Unless you drink 12 cups like I did one day and, well, let’s just say my bladder was anything BUT calm.
Drinking a beverage infused with lemon balm can help lower your stress and anxiety levels.
3. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and promote well-being. One study found that supplementing with lemon balm for eight weeks resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. If you want something for sleep, I love Insomnitol. It contains many of the ingredients we talk about in this article but also there are others that are specifically targeting sleep. There is a liquid version from herb pharmacy of lemon balm alone that is also great, use 1 dropper in tea or liquids 2 to 5 times a day as needed.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has been shown to have calming effects. A meta-analysis of nine peer-reviewed articles concluded that L-theanine supplementation reduces stress and anxiety in individuals experiencing stressful situations. One study showed that perceived stress was significantly reduced one hour after supplementation and cortisol levels decreased after three hours. Certainly try upping your green tea if you like. However, if the caffeine keeps you up, consider some great supplement support. I love this combination formula: NeuroCalm. Take 2 capsules a day. You can also try L-theanine, straight, 400mg once or twice a day.
Magnesium has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. Approximately 68% of North Americans don’t intake enough daily magnesium, which is associated with increased feelings of stress and anxiety. What’s even more annoying is that when you are under acute stress, the body excretes increased levels of magnesium through the urine. What the heck! Supplementing with magnesium can help maintain adequate magnesium levels and support the stress response. I love this before sleep. Try Magnesium glycinate 2-4 capsules at bedtime.
6. B Vitamins
If you struggle with high levels of stress, B vitamins, most significantly B6, B9, and B12 may help alleviate your symptoms. Vitamin B complexes have a variety of scientifically-proven benefits when taken daily, including combating depression, anxiety, and the effects of work-related stress. Take one capsule daily of a highly bioavailable form of B vitamins like Methyl B complex.
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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website drsadaty.com. Hey Look! You are already here…
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendations, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!