Exercise, sunshine, strong happy hugs and sound nutrition can improve your mood by promoting balanced hormone levels. They promote the creation of happiness-promoting chemicals called endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. They are natural anti-depressants, lowering your level of unhappiness while raising your smile. So does having a pet whose company you enjoy. Get walking with your dog, meet the neighbors and enjoy the scenery. You might end up with firmer muscles, improved breathing and overall strength. They relieve and prevent stress. And about the sunshine – let the sun shine on your skin, especially during winter months, to prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a serious mood destroyer.
Several solutions to lowering your stress can be found in your home. One of them is tooth floss, which aids optimal nutrition. Medical evidence proves that using it minimizes the chances of developing painful gum disease, the inevitably poor digestion that goes with poor oral health, and expensive medical bills.
While we’re on the topic of oral health for alleviating stress, let’s think more about good nutrition. Mood-boosting menus include fresh (and freshly ground for better absorption) flaxseed, nuts, soybeans, and dark green leafy vegetables. Load up on Vitamin B12 in home-made fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled beets and cucumbers. Store-bought brands tend to fill you with synthetic chemicals that sabotage your health. If necessary, supplements can provide you with adequate B12. Be sure to discuss the matter with your doctor. Low-fat carbohydrates can put a pleasant curve on your lips, too, when you eat plain hot-air popcorn, a baked potato, and whole-grain pasta. Carbs from vegetables such as asparagus, avocadoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, kale, spinach and zucchini, fruit, and whole grains add fiber to your diet. They’ll keep your digestive system clean and your bowel movements regular. That’s a stress reducer all its own.
Though it’s easy and fun to guzzle a caffeinated drink, dump the sodas and too much coffee from your cup. Excess levels of caffeine can give a person the jitters, leaving you feeling nervous, insecure and in need of another helping. That’s a recipe for poor sleep no matter when you go to bed. Break the vicious cycle and the stress it rings on by ending it today.
Now that you know your real energy levels, not caffeinated fake ones, move your muscles. Walking videos let you work out in the office or at home. Go outdoors. Nature is its own psychological soother. Greenery pleases the eye, as do colorful flowers and whispering trees or babbling fountains and brooks. While you’re at it, go swimming, ride a bike or do some gardening. Any activity that lets you stretch, breathe deeply, feel productive and fosters inner strengths is a stress reducer. You’ll be able to socialize more than before, when you felt sucked of energy and happiness. Pleasant human relationships can be supportive and soothing.
Supplements such as St John’s Wort, Evening Primrose Oil and valerian capsules or drops are known for lowering stress. It might be wise to reserve their use for especially stressful occasions, not daily intake. Your goal is to prevent the need for medication of any sort, even if it’s all-natural. Let some meditation time help, instead. Focus on even breathing, a pleasant thought or simply emptying your mind of thought. Live on autopilot until you feel calmer.
There are other popular ways to alleviate stress, and they’ll be covered in a future article.
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Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.