Don’t get me wrong. Helping people with their mental health is well out of my scope. This article is not for you if you have a diagnosed problem that needs medical attention. However, everybody experiences lower or higher levels of stress and anxiety in their work and/family life.
If these become chronic they can lead to a variety of long term health problems. The aim of this article is to help you find ways to combat and overcome everyday stress with the help of lifestyle hacks so when the next situation arises your body will be more equipped to cope with it.
The problem is so widely recognised that even the NHS website has dedicated a full article to the topic. We use that as a base and expand on the options you can introduce to your lifestyle to reduce the paralysing effects of stress and anxiety.
Hack #1. Diet
I added this as #1 because very few people realise that their diet can be a source of a lot of stress. Whether that’s because you are trying too hard to lose weight and restrict the foods you eat too much, or because you are not paying attention whatsoever and often end up eating fast and processed food on the go.
Solution: start making small changes, one habit at a time and create eating habits that fit in with your lifestyle but also support more balanced energy levels and cause less stress on your system. If you feel unhappy in your skin, do the smallest thing that may have the biggest impact on your quality of life.
Hack #2. Deep Breathing
This is an easy trick that can immediately alleviate the effects of a suddenly occurring stress or anxiety attack. When you are stressed, your heart is racing and by decreasing your heart rate you can activate your body’s relaxation response to calm you down.
As soon as you notice that you are becoming agitated, take a deep long breath and make sure you expand your chest so your diaphragm contacts. Take just as long to exhale and keep repeating until you feel its beneficial effect on your body.
Hack #3. Sleep
Keeping your sleep pattern under control will help with the prevention of becoming stressed and anxious in minor situations which normally only become annoying when you are tired, sleepy, and impatient.
Evidence suggests that sleep is very important for hormonal balance, including cortisol, the so-called stress hormone and the hormones that regulate your hunger levels and can trigger cravings. The recommendation for adults is to have 7-9 hours of sleep, but the quality of your sleep is also important. I recommend removing all distractions and using blackout curtains in your bedroom.
Hack #4. Exercise
Exercise has several health benefits that includes improved cardiovascular fitness, bone and joint strength, increased energy levels, it lowers blood pressure and when combined with a balanced diet it will also help you lose weight and look fitter and leaner.
But did you know that it also triggers the production of endorphins in your brain which causes you to feel much better after a good workout? Not to mention that it improves your sleep as well. While there isn’t a magic pill for all health and fitness problems, exercise comes close. Just make sure you enjoy the activity, so you will want to do it regularly.
Hack #5. Quit Damaging Habits
If you use caffeine, alcohol or smoking to release stress you will need to understand one thing. Over time they will create new problems instead of solving them and NHS recommends you find the root cause of your stress and sort it before the effects of these habits become more severe.
In many cases you will need to reach out and get help. According to statistics women are better at seeking help but sometimes we all need it. So, if you are a father or a busy professional under a lot of stress, find a way to de-stress before it turns into a bigger problem and don’t hesitate to talk to someone if needed.
On the other hand if you need help with your diet and exercise, feel free to get in touch!
WHAT TO DO NEXT….
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My name is Calumn Duthie, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people just like you get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to improve your nutrition, training and mindset then you definitely want to be part of my bigger community. Join my Facebook group,Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.