These days it feels like there is no way to escape stress, so it’s important that we learn to reduce what stress we can!
We all know that in this day and age, stress is unavoidable. While acute stress can play a significant role in survival and repair, chronic stress has become an epidemic in our fast-paced society. Many people are unaware that chronic stress can weaken our immune system and gut health, contributing to thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune diseases, metabolic dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and a decrease in cognitive function.
So what can we do about all this stress in our lives?
6 healthful tips to reducing stress:
1. Prioritize Sleep
When we sleep we give our bodies the time to repair and heal as it gives
our brain a chance to repair neurons. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night has been
shown to increase cortisol and decrease serotonin levels and mental focus which can have a
negative impact on our immune system. One of my favorite hacks is to limit blue light
exposure at least an hour before our desired bed time. Blue light has been shown to block
the formation of melatonin in our brain. So turn off those phones!
2. Practice gratitude and to be patient with healing
Be mindful that healing takes time and be thankful that you are taking action. Gratitude has been linked to improved social relationships, better mental wellbeing as well as better life satisfaction.
Here’s a little challenge. Everyday for one week, write down three things that you are
3. Drink herbal teas
Herbal teas contain bioactive compounds that have the potential effects of calming down the nervous system. Some of these teas include chamomile, valerian, jasmine, cedarwood, rosemary, citron, lavender, peppermint, and lemon balm.
4. Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing exercises have the capability to activate the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous systems which improve relaxation. Meditating or concentration on your breath can calm brain activity related to stress and increase focus and mental balance.
5. Natural light
Exposure to sunlight and grounding has been shown to regulate our circadian rhythm
which controls our sleep/wake cycle, hormone secretion, improves mood and lower
blood pressure. Just 20 minutes of sunlight exposure can help us get our daily dose of
6. Be active
Prioritizing movement of at least 20 minutes of exercise a day through yoga,
walking, resistance training, etc has been shown to increase endorphins and serotonin
levels. When brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are released our stress levels are automatically decreased. In addition, physical activity can increase
the human body’s immune system through the release of histamines post-exercise.
While we can’t eliminate stress from our lives completely, we can do our best to protect ourselves from the strain it puts on our minds and bodies.