Stress affects just about everyone at one time or another, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, ongoing stress that chips away at your energy level and overall health needs to be managed. While you can’t stop stress from existing in your life, there are some things you can do to protect yourself against too much stress. Here are some tips.
The important of regular exercise seems to be key to managing more and more conditions. Reducing stress is yet another benefit of exercise. Exercise is just a good and healthy thing to do regardless, keeping your body in top condition to help it handle stress.
Specifically, exercise increases circulation and may help move toxins out of the body. Toxins are said to collect in the body as a result of stress, probably because stress affects the usual elimination systems (especially digestion).
Practicing deep breathing can help prevent stress from taking hold. As often as you can during the day, at regular intervals and/or when you feel a stressful situation coming on, take at least ten deep breaths. Breathe very slowly – some experts recommend counting to ten as you do – and breathe very deeply, imagining your breath filling your lower abdominal cavity. It’s important to relax those tummy muscles we all like to hold in! Then breathe out slowly as well, taking care to expel the very last bit of air from your lungs.
A medical study in the mid-1990s linked the ingestion of fish oil with stress reduction – rats that were given fish oil supplements were found to be less susceptible to stress-induced gastric ulceration.
Other studies have shown fish oil’s ability to combat the toxic by-products produced when the body digests bad fats, or saturated and animal fats. Fish oil may therefore protect against the toxic by-products of stress as well. In addition, fish oil is reported to help reduce blood pressure by promoting the relaxation of the cells lining the blood vessels.
Fish oil can be taken in supplements, or you can make a point of eating fatty fish like salmon and sardines several times a week.
Meditation has been shown to be very helpful in stress protection. It helps focus the mind and relax the body, both crucial elements in stress reduction. You do not have to be religious to meditate; the principle of centering, focusing, and relaxing is not connected with any religious practice. If you do practice a religion, you can combine meditation with prayer, or repeat a religious mantra.
Practicing good nutrition is important for stress management. Taking a good vitamin supplement – preferably food-based and formulated for your age and gender – is a good idea. Eating healthfully every day is also important, and varying the foods you eat helps ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. Whole foods are a good idea – whole grains, fresh produce, and lean meats are a good basis around which to build your stress-protective diet.