5 Easy Steps to Reduce Stress

April 17th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Healthy Living

Are you a part of the 75% of adults who admit they don’t take the proper steps to prevent themselves from feeling stressed? I have to admit that I’m a part of this group (even with a variety of natural products to help me cope with stress). Sometimes we need reminders of how we can lift our spirits naturally and that’s what you can find here—5 easy steps to reduce stress daily.

Step One to Reduce Stress: Calm Down, Take a Breath

Keep calm and breathe on with these easy steps to reduce stress.

Keep calm and breathe on with these easy steps to reduce stress.

It may seem like such an obvious step that it shouldn’t be listed but think about the last stressful situation you experienced… did you give yourself a moment to think things over and slow your breathing? When we are presented with bad news, are in a stressful situation, or are worried/frustrated, our breathing becomes shallow and fast which increases our stress levels. By taking a moment for a calming, slow breath we are able to alter our rapid breathing patterns and signal to our bodies that the stress and anxiety we are experiencing are temporary. When we slow our breathing, our minds also calm and our stress levels can be greatly reduced. This step may require some practice but don’t discount its ability to immediately calm. For an added stress buster try listening to soft music and breathing deeply to unwind after a stress-filled day; research showed it was as relaxing as a massage.

Step Two to Reduce Stress: Say No to Trans Fat

Aside from being bad for your waistline and heart, trans fats could also affect our mental well-being. Trans fats are found in processed foods and can be tricky to cut out since products labeled as “Zero Trans Fats” are allowed to still contain 0.5 grams of the stuff per serving. Steer clear of trans fats, processed foods, and partially hydrogenated oil to be sure you’re not adding to your stress levels. The clear reason of why trans fats are linked to stress levels isn’t completely clear but studies show that it triggers inflammatory changes in the body, each of which are linked to depression, stress, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Step Three to Reduce Stress: Get in a Routine

Don’t discount the healing properties of doing something your way! Research at Tel Aviv University found that performing everyday tasks in a ritual-like way may create a sense of calm. When we are allowed to complete actions in a manner that is specific and comfortable to us personally, we feel a sense of control in an unpredictable world. Once you have an understanding of the steps that make you feel secure and give you a sense of control, consider adding in healthy activities that will boost your body’s resistance to stress like exercise, arts, or a hobby you’ve given up.

Step Four: Power in Probiotics

The preliminary research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that healthy bacteria levels in our systems can lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone. Because it is believed that nerves transmit messages from microorganisms in the gut to the brain, there’s a strong link between the health of our digestive tract and our emotional health. We shed more light on this in a recent blog here and hope you’ll consider this shelf-stable probiotic from Kroeger Herb called Taurin Dophilus, made in a base of prune fruit for easy recognition by the body.

Step Five: Natural Happy Pills

Why are omega-3s happy pills? Check out how they can reduce stress naturally.

Why are omega-3s happy pills? Check out how they can reduce stress naturally.

Another reason to love Omega-3s! People who took an omega-3 supplement daily were 20% less anxious during stressful periods than those who did not take one. Experts believe that the healthy fat in omega-3 supplements may buffer against stress-related inflammation which has been linked to mood disorders, high levels of stress, and anxiety. Want to learn more about omega-3 supplements and what they can do for your entire body? Check here for a recent post.

No matter what the day holds, keeping these 5 steps to reduce stress naturally in mind will help you cope in a healthy way and combat the triggers. Exercising daily makes a tremendous difference in our mood and how we deal with stress so don’t discount getting up and moving!

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