There are many causes of stress in today’s world, from work to relationships. When we are stressed the body releases the stress hormone called cortisol.
When cortisol is released, blood pressure increases, making heart disease more likely. It decreases immunity, increasing the chance of illness occurring. It stimulates the nervous system making you more prone to anxiety and depression. Metabolism will also slow down, encouraging fat gain.
Here are 8 tips to reduce stress and help you live a happier life!
How to Reduce Stress
Exercise increases happy chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. Exercise can also help transform your body, making you feel better about yourself and improving your self-image.
2. Don’t be a night owl
Adults should be getting a minimum of 7-9 hours sleep. Any less than this and cortisol levels will rise. Not only the amount of sleep but the quality of sleep is important. To make sure you get a good nights sleep you want to soothe your nervous system before bedtime, instead of stimulating it. Stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, sugar, tea will result in insomnia or poor sleep quality. Taking a hot bath, reading a book or listening to classical music are just some ways of switching off an overactive mind.
3. Cut down on sugar
Sugar releases adrenaline – another stress hormone. Not only is adrenaline unhealthy when it is administered in the body, but it can also bring on irritability, anxiety and depression, therefore increasing stress. For more information on the health impacts of sugar, take a read of the article – Sugar: the Heroin of the Food World.
4. Soak up the sunshine
Do you ever feel happier when the sun is out? It isn’t a coincidence. There are two chemical reasons why people are happier when under the rays of the sun. One is that sunshine plays a role in endorphin production in the brain, making us more upbeat. The other reason is that sunlight boosts vitamin D levels in the body. When vitamin D rises, testosterone also rises. Testosterone is responsible for an overall good well-being and libido. Yes that is why some report being more horny in the summer time!
5. Drink Milk
Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, an amino acid that relaxes and calms the nervous system leaving you soothed. Milk also contains Dihydrotestosterone, an androgen hormone. DHT increases overall happiness and wellbeing in a person. However the disadvantage with higher DHT levels is that it can cause hair to thin in genetically predisposed individuals.
Organic milk is recommended, due to unhealthy antibiotics being fed to non-organic cows, in a bid to help them produce more milk. Organic milk is not only healthier but tastes better, with a more natural and creamy taste!
6. Hydration (less alcohol, more water)
Alcohol, a poison, releases cortisol in the body. Alcohol also dehydrates the body. Water is essential in helping all our bodily functions work correctly. With the brain made up of 99% water, and possessing neurotransmitters that affect our moods; it makes hydration extremely important when trying to prevent stress.
7. Take time out for yourself
Every day make time for yourself to do something you love. This doesn’t have to be something that takes a long time. Having something to look forward to will keep you with a positive frame of mind and motivated. Something such as playing monopoly with a friend or family member is one example. Or making time to watch a movie of interest at the cinema.
8. Change stresses in your life
If there are direct causes of your stress, change them or find a solution so you can be happier. If your boss is one from hell, then change job. If your friend is making you unhappy, make new friends. This ruthless mentality concerning your own happiness will help you succeed in many areas of life and reduce stress significantly.
Do you have any additional tips to lower stress and help you relax? Feel free to have your say in the comments 🙂