When you feel like you’re head is an active volcano and about to blow, it’s time to take a few minutes to relieve stress. Sure, you may be busy, but by taking time immediately, you’ll get more done in less time after you do. You’ll also have fewer mistakes and be happier with your results. That’s because stress can impact your ability to see things clearly and make good decisions. You actually take longer to get tasks finished when you’re under stress. Finding a way to relieve that stress not only affects your productivity, it affects your health.
Exercise is the best way to reduce long term stress.
Whether you start your workout at the break of dawn or workout after work, you’ll get long term benefits and one of those is reducing stress. Stress triggers the fight or flight response by signaling your brain it’s time to send out hormones that prepare you for both. Those hormones and the changes they make to your body, like that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, headache and foggy brain. Exercise makes you exert yourself, just as you would if you were running or fighting. You’ll get your body back to steady state by burning off the hormones of stress.
Quit stressing out at your desk and just move!
If you’re at an impasse where your mind is cluttered with too many options and demands, it’s time to start thinking on your feet. While a program of regular exercise can help you delay that overload level, sometimes you need immediate results. Get up. Walk around your office. Run up and down a flight or two of stairs. Studies show that even if you workout regularly, if you’re sitting at a desk all day, you still need to get up and move every 50 minutes. You’ll be surprised how it clears your brain and lowers your stress level immediately.
Cut out stress building foods.
You might be surprised to find that some food actually causes more stress in your life, yet often they’re the same ones you crave when you’re under stress. Sugar, for example, causes the release cortisol, a hormone involved in many functions of the body. One of those functions is to help regulate blood sugar. Another function is to help prepare your body for stress. Eating products with extra sugar added causes a spike in blood sugar levels, so the body produces more cortisol to bring the levels back to balance. That spike results in a sudden drop, where you’re hungry for sugar again. This adds to the stress. Artificial sweeteners also increase stress, plus have other side effects. Processed and refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine all add to your stress level.
- Your exercise program doesn’t have to be formal or involve working out, but does need to boost your heart rate to burn off the stress. For the best results, combine the formal program with an avocation you love.
- Start eating healthier. Switch out processed foods for whole foods. There are healthy options on the menu even at fast food restaurants.
- Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep not only causes stress, it also interferes with the hunger and satiety hormones. The body makes too much ghrelin, the body’s hunger hormone and too little leptin, the satiety hormone, which makes it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it.
- Learn a simple meditation method that you can do for a few minutes to help relax you. Meditation doesn’t have to involve mantras, it can be the simple act of quieting your mind.