Spring. New beginnings. Fresh starts. This is the perfect time to take a step back and change the way you view stress in your life. Stress causes many negative physical effects such as illness, poor mood, inadequate sleep, appetite issues, and even heart disease. These negative effects can promote bad habits such as unhealthy eating, smoking, alcohol abuse, and lack of exercise.
Think about the last time you felt stress. How did you respond? Could you have handled things differently?
Take a moment and consider the following to change your reaction:
- What was the stress and how did you react?
- Think about your reaction. Was this the reaction you wanted?
- Rewrite your response. What would your ideal self do in the same situation?
- Write down your changed response as a reminder.
Switch out those unhealthy stress reactions! Stress can lead to poor and impulsive nutrition choices, such as binging or even avoiding foods. Are you finding you are turning to negative habits to cope with stress?
- Do you find yourself grabbing a handful of chips when you’re stressed? Swap the chips for some raw veggies.
- Do you need a glass of wine to relax after a stressful day? Try some hot tea instead.
- Consider making meals in advance or have some easy recipes on hand for those nights when you want to order take out.
Reset the stress levels. Sometimes you just need a little time to yourself to evaluate your stress reactions. Some simple behaviors can help eliminate or reduce stress.
- Hydrotherapy – Try a hot bath at night to relax or in the morning a 5-minute contrast shower, alternating every 30 seconds between hot and cold water. Both have been shown to reduce the feeling of stress.
- Keep a positive attitude – look for the little positives during the day, find things to laugh over. Laughter has been shown to decrease stress hormones.
- Breathing exercises – focus on your breathing or even take a yoga class. Calm, relaxing breaths help lower your blood pressure.
- Exercise – physical activity releases endorphins, which helps improve your mood and decrease your stress.
Don’t let stress bring you down! Start thinking about how you can change your views and reactions to stress. Establish new, and more positive reactions to help find ways to reset your stress levels. Little changes go a long way!