5 Ways To Destress And Improve Overall Health

    2020-06-1506/15/20   
Exercise  Family  Nutrition  Stress  

Stress is a natural reaction to any challenging or threatening event in life. When you're waiting for the results of a diagnostic procedure or when another driver suddenly swerves into your lane, your nervous system releases hormones like adrenalin and cortisol that help to activate the "fight or flight" response. You become more alert, your heart rate quickens, and you breathe faster.

Stress is a normal experience, and it can even be beneficial in certain situations. For example, performers and athletes often find that a little stress keeps them focused and in the moment. Students may find that the stress of an approaching due date sharpens their concentration and motivates them to get their paper or project done. But stress can also have negative consequences, especially when it becomes a chronic condition.

Effects Of Stress

When stress is persistent, it leads to feelings of worry, anxiety, and even depression. In addition to causing negative feelings, stress affects your body in several ways and can lead to significant long-term health problems.1 Common symptoms can include headaches, an upset stomach, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, and pain from muscle tension, to name a few. Longterm stress can lead to even more serious problems, such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

How To Destress

It may seem that stress is something you have little control over. While it's true that many causes of stress, like a car accident or an illness, are out of your control, there are some techniques you can use to mitigate your reaction to stressful events or situations. The following are 5 destress techniques that can ease your stress and improve your overall health.2

Exercise

Exercise, along with a healthy diet, is a key to health and well-being, and it can be an excellent antidote to stress. For one thing, exercise releases endorphins, feel-good hormones that lower pain and increase pleasure. Almost any kind of vigorous exercise can have this effect. Running, dancing, going on a bike ride, and playing tennis are a few examples.

Another way that exercise helps to reduce stress is by forcing the mind to be in the moment. When you're doing any kind of exercise, from swimming to walking outdoors to martial arts, you have to pay attention to your body's movements. Many people find that exercising puts them in a zone where they aren't thinking or worrying about anything else.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Another way to combat feelings of stress is to practice relaxation techniques. Deep relaxation can lower the heart rate, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, boost the quality of sleep, and above all, reduce the activity of stress hormones. Many people achieve relaxation through practices like yoga and mindfulness meditation, which encourage deep breathing and awareness of breath.

A simple way to induce relaxation is to tense and then relax various muscle groups. You can start with your feet and ankles, pulling your toes toward your head and holding the position for a few seconds before relaxing. Do the same with your lower legs, upper thighs, hands, arms, shoulders, and face. Finally, tense up your entire body and hold for at least five seconds before relaxing completely. Once your body is relaxed, you can practice breathing slowly and deeply, keeping your awareness on your breath.

Spend Time With Loved Ones

Positive social interaction releases two types of hormones that increase pleasure and reduce stress: dopamine and oxytocin. Oxytocin is referred to as the "love hormone" because it is strongly associated with mother-and-child bonding as well as sexual bonding between partners. Cuddling or holding hands with a partner, stroking your dog or cat, and having a deep conversation with a close friend are all effective techniques to reduce stress and enhance well-being.

Another benefit of social interaction is that friends provide other viewpoints on stressful situations. If you're worried about a health issue or a relationship problem, talking through it with others can help you see the problem in new ways that may be less stress-inducing.

Listen To Music

There is a large body of research demonstrating the physical and emotional benefits of listening to music. Scientists have found that listening to music lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, stimulates recovery in stroke patients, lowers the need for pain medication after surgery, and improves the sleep of depressed patients. All of these benefits result from the connection between music and the brain.

Listening to slow, calming music can help you relax and slow down your breathing and heart rate. Researchers have found that 60 beats per minute is the ideal tempo for relaxation. If you want to boost your mood, on the other hand, any music that you enjoy will do the trick. Chances are the benefits will last for quite a while even after your playlist has ended.

Nourish Your Body

Eating comfort food is a natural reaction to stress because food that is high in sugar, salt, and fat works to lower cortisol and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, a regular diet of comfort food can lead to obesity and major health risks.

Instead of turning to ice cream and french fries in times of turmoil, consider choosing foods that are high in complex carbohydrates (like oatmeal and strawberries) and healthy fats (like salmon, avocados, and nuts). If you're craving sugar, try fresh or frozen fruit instead. Finally, if you're getting your caffeine from coffee and sodas, try switching to tea. Black tea, in particular, has been shown to help people recover from stress more quickly than other types of beverages.

Citations:
1 The Effects of Stress on Your Body, https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
2 10 Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress On-the-Spot, https://elementsmassage.com/issaquah/blog/10-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress-on-the-spot

headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018
Author

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups, and well-established organizations having gone through the tech boom of Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle, after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges, including auto-immune diseases, and being overweight, that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been passionate about encouraging others to live better through whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

  Related Wellness Resources

We encourage you to take advantage of these FREE Wellness Resources on our website.


webinar

Webinar: Eight and One Half Steps to Relieve Stress

Facilitator Libby Wright discusses the physiological effects of stress and how we perceive situations with participants of the Your Best Weight program. She provides practical tips for managing stress that everyone can do. The webinar last for 17 minutes and addresses questions submitted by the program participants.

You can learn more about the NuMedica supplements discussed: AdrenaMed, Magnesium Citrate and Power Greens.

You may view or download the slides used for the presentation. We encourage you to take advantage of the supporting content on the Resources tab and to ask questions or share your thoughts in the Discussion Forum.


Grumpy Man Inside House Drinking Coffee

Change Your Monday

As many of you know from my older posts, right now I'm struggling with my thyroid. I have to be honest when I say I try to smile through the struggle because I don't want to be a joy sucker, someone who sucks the oxygen out of a room upon entry.


Man in Suit on Skateboard Taking Leap of Faith

Faith Makes it Possible, Not Easy!

Who says a life of faith is easy? No one with much experience in that area. But, all things are possible with God!


Man In Suit With Head Exploding Into Smoke

Job Stress

Sometimes we can go from zero to sixty with frustration with a boss or co-worker. How would you respond to this work situation?


Stressed out Middle Aged Over Weight Hispanic Woman

Stressed!

Sometimes it seems that my day can get derailed before my alarm clock even has the chance to ring. It's easy to try and "help" yourself by cutting corners on your health and well being when it feels like the wheels are coming off. The best thing you can do (for you and those you love) when you are stressed/exhausted is to take some time to care for yourself!

  • Blog Post

    Stress is a normal experience, and it can even be beneficial in certain situations. For example, performers and athletes often find that a little stress keeps them focused and in the moment. Students may find that the stress of an approaching due date sharpens their concentration and motivates them to get their paper or project done. But stress can also have negative consequences, especially when it becomes a chronic condition.

    Effects Of Stress

    When stress is persistent, it leads to feelings of worry, anxiety, and even depression. In addition to causing negative feelings, stress affects your body in several ways and can lead to significant long-term health problems.1 Common symptoms can include headaches, an upset stomach, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, and pain from muscle tension, to name a few. Longterm stress can lead to even more serious problems, such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

    How To Destress

    It may seem that stress is something you have little control over. While it's true that many causes of stress, like a car accident or an illness, are out of your control, there are some techniques you can use to mitigate your reaction to stressful events or situations. The following are 5 destress techniques that can ease your stress and improve your overall health.2

    Exercise

    Exercise, along with a healthy diet, is a key to health and well-being, and it can be an excellent antidote to stress. For one thing, exercise releases endorphins, feel-good hormones that lower pain and increase pleasure. Almost any kind of vigorous exercise can have this effect. Running, dancing, going on a bike ride, and playing tennis are a few examples.

    Another way that exercise helps to reduce stress is by forcing the mind to be in the moment. When you're doing any kind of exercise, from swimming to walking outdoors to martial arts, you have to pay attention to your body's movements. Many people find that exercising puts them in a zone where they aren't thinking or worrying about anything else.

    Practice Relaxation Techniques

    Another way to combat feelings of stress is to practice relaxation techniques. Deep relaxation can lower the heart rate, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, boost the quality of sleep, and above all, reduce the activity of stress hormones. Many people achieve relaxation through practices like yoga and mindfulness meditation, which encourage deep breathing and awareness of breath.

    A simple way to induce relaxation is to tense and then relax various muscle groups. You can start with your feet and ankles, pulling your toes toward your head and holding the position for a few seconds before relaxing. Do the same with your lower legs, upper thighs, hands, arms, shoulders, and face. Finally, tense up your entire body and hold for at least five seconds before relaxing completely. Once your body is relaxed, you can practice breathing slowly and deeply, keeping your awareness on your breath.

    Spend Time With Loved Ones

    Positive social interaction releases two types of hormones that increase pleasure and reduce stress: dopamine and oxytocin. Oxytocin is referred to as the "love hormone" because it is strongly associated with mother-and-child bonding as well as sexual bonding between partners. Cuddling or holding hands with a partner, stroking your dog or cat, and having a deep conversation with a close friend are all effective techniques to reduce stress and enhance well-being.

    Another benefit of social interaction is that friends provide other viewpoints on stressful situations. If you're worried about a health issue or a relationship problem, talking through it with others can help you see the problem in new ways that may be less stress-inducing.

    Listen To Music

    There is a large body of research demonstrating the physical and emotional benefits of listening to music. Scientists have found that listening to music lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, stimulates recovery in stroke patients, lowers the need for pain medication after surgery, and improves the sleep of depressed patients. All of these benefits result from the connection between music and the brain.

    Listening to slow, calming music can help you relax and slow down your breathing and heart rate. Researchers have found that 60 beats per minute is the ideal tempo for relaxation. If you want to boost your mood, on the other hand, any music that you enjoy will do the trick. Chances are the benefits will last for quite a while even after your playlist has ended.

    Nourish Your Body

    Eating comfort food is a natural reaction to stress because food that is high in sugar, salt, and fat works to lower cortisol and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, a regular diet of comfort food can lead to obesity and major health risks.

    Instead of turning to ice cream and french fries in times of turmoil, consider choosing foods that are high in complex carbohydrates (like oatmeal and strawberries) and healthy fats (like salmon, avocados, and nuts). If you're craving sugar, try fresh or frozen fruit instead. Finally, if you're getting your caffeine from coffee and sodas, try switching to tea. Black tea, in particular, has been shown to help people recover from stress more quickly than other types of beverages.

    Citations:
    1 The Effects of Stress on Your Body, https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
    2 10 Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress On-the-Spot, https://elementsmassage.com/issaquah/blog/10-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress-on-the-spot

    headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018
    Author

    Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups, and well-established organizations having gone through the tech boom of Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle, after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges, including auto-immune diseases, and being overweight, that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been passionate about encouraging others to live better through whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

    Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

  • Articles

      Related Wellness Resources

    We encourage you to take advantage of these FREE Wellness Resources on our website.


    webinar

    Webinar: Eight and One Half Steps to Relieve Stress

    Facilitator Libby Wright discusses the physiological effects of stress and how we perceive situations with participants of the Your Best Weight program. She provides practical tips for managing stress that everyone can do. The webinar last for 17 minutes and addresses questions submitted by the program participants.

    You can learn more about the NuMedica supplements discussed: AdrenaMed, Magnesium Citrate and Power Greens.

    You may view or download the slides used for the presentation. We encourage you to take advantage of the supporting content on the Resources tab and to ask questions or share your thoughts in the Discussion Forum.


    Grumpy Man Inside House Drinking Coffee

    Change Your Monday

    As many of you know from my older posts, right now I'm struggling with my thyroid. I have to be honest when I say I try to smile through the struggle because I don't want to be a joy sucker, someone who sucks the oxygen out of a room upon entry.


    Man in Suit on Skateboard Taking Leap of Faith

    Faith Makes it Possible, Not Easy!

    Who says a life of faith is easy? No one with much experience in that area. But, all things are possible with God!


    Man In Suit With Head Exploding Into Smoke

    Job Stress

    Sometimes we can go from zero to sixty with frustration with a boss or co-worker. How would you respond to this work situation?


    Stressed out Middle Aged Over Weight Hispanic Woman

    Stressed!

    Sometimes it seems that my day can get derailed before my alarm clock even has the chance to ring. It's easy to try and "help" yourself by cutting corners on your health and well being when it feels like the wheels are coming off. The best thing you can do (for you and those you love) when you are stressed/exhausted is to take some time to care for yourself!

  • Supplements

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