It’s important we take measures to reduce the stress or lessen the impact of stress where we can if we want to enjoy life to the fullest and achieve a great state of health. Chronic exposure to stress can cause many negative consequences including excess abdominal fat, poor memory, anxiety, food cravings, reduce recovery and even shorten our lifespan. Lee-Anne Wann shared her tips for reducing stress at our Men’s Health Breakfast on 1 June 2016 to launch Men’s Health Month.
1 TRY SOME GREEN TEA
Green tea is readily available and an easy thing to add for lowering stress. It is high in antioxidants, helps with fat burning and helps reduce inflammation and the impact of stress. Any amount is helpful but aiming for 2-3 on a regular basis is a great place to start. Another option is to use chilled green tea as a base for a smoothie or shake or add to your drinking water.
2 STRENGTH TRAINING
Lifting those weights or using your body weight
Great for improving insulin sensitivity – strength or weight training is in the list for improving the body’s ability to manage stress. It helps us produce a powerful antioxidant called glutathione which protects us from the effects of stress and the damage it can cause. Aim for at least 3 sessions per week of resistance of around 20-40 minutes.
3 EAT OFTEN
Many of us who are stressed tend to skip meals and go for long periods without food which can send stress levels even higher. Eating good foods actually resets your hormonal cascade and helps reduce cortisol (the stress hormone). Choose nutrient dense, actual foods like chicken, eggs, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocado, and berries over highly processed packaged foods.
4 ADD HEALTHY NATURAL FATS TO YOUR NUTRITION
It is great to add omega 3 fats (the ones found in fish oils) as these help decrease inflammation and can help fight the symptoms of chronic stress. Eating salmon a few times a week is great as well as considering a high quality fish oil supplement, try some chia seeds in your water or foods which also contain omega 3 and have the added bonus of helping with hydration.
5 LAUGH MORE
Small things really do make for great changes and laughing is definitely one of those. Laughter can increase our natural killer cells and make us more resistant to stress and boost our immune system. Nothing easier than renting a great comedy movie or spending some time out with friends for an effective stress management tool.
6 MOVE MORE
- The Shoulder Shrug. Sitting, standing, or riding in the car or on a bus, raise your shoulders as high as you can, reaching for your ears. Hold them in that position for a few seconds and then drop them to their normal position. Repeat three times. You’ll instantly relieve upper chest and shoulder tension.
- The Shaker. Stand with arms dangling loosely at your sides and start to shake your hands. Then start shaking your arms. Next sit and repeat the same moves with your legs. You will feel less tense and more alert in minutes.
7 STRESS-BUSTING FOODS TO INCLUDE
Eggs are a great option for protein that can help improve motivation and focus, both of which are beneficial when facing high-stress situations. Add with some spinach high in magnesium for a great stress busting breakfast. Pumpkin seeds are a great stress busting snack that are high in magnesium. Flax seeds and walnuts are also great additions and researchers believe the combination of antioxidants and omega 3s allow for improved stress management.