The modern world is getting more stressful all the time, so it’s no wonder that more people are suffering as a consequence. If you find that you get home at the end of an exhausting day in the office and find that you just don’t know how to relax and unwind, you certainly aren’t alone – over 80% of people in America feel the same.
The main problem is that stress isn’t only bad for your mind, it’s bad for your body too. Long-term stress can cause a host of physical complaints from reduced immunity to hair loss. It couldn’t be more important to manage your stress, so here are some top tips to help beat the anxiety and to help you to wind down in a safe and productive way.
Switch Off Your Technology
It can be very tempting to get home and just sit down in front of the TV or lie on your bed checking your phone, but that isn’t the best way to switch off from the stresses of the day. Studies have shown that smartphones increase stress levels, and researchers have proven that the more you use Facebook, the less happy you become. The key to relaxation, then, is to switch off your devices and to find a way of enjoying yourself without using media.
Track how much time you spend plugged in and consider trying a media detox. You don’t need to go completely device free straight away. You can begin with a TV-free evening, a few hours without your phone or a day without your PC. You’re sure to feel better.
Choosing the right food can really help you to manage your stress. Dark chocolate doesn’t just taste delicious, it is packed with antioxidants that lower the stress hormones in the body while reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Chocolate even boosts the mood as long as you choose a brand with a minimum of 65% cacao.
Make sure to eat lots of omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods too. Avocados are a good source, as are sardines and other oily fish. Eating 2 servings per week will help to combat stress effectively. Vitamin C is known to be another useful weapon in combating stress, so eat grapefruits, strawberries and oranges regularly as well as peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and kiwi fruit.
Living a sedentary lifestyle may sound like it would be relaxing, but actually it is worse for your stress levels. Taking more exercise is a healthy way of preventing stress and anxiety, and those benefits continue even once the workout is over. Try high energy cardio activities like dancing, spinning and running as well as stretching exercises which are good for flexibility as well as the mind – pilates and yoga are two good examples. To get the most benefit from your new exercise regime, make sure to choose the right clothing and footwear since this is a good way to feel comfortable and to ensure that you enjoy the best possible range of movement.
Get Quality Sleep
People suffering from stress often struggle to sleep too. Poor quality sleep leads to heart problems, reduced immunity and increased anxiety, so it can become a never-ending cycle of poor sleep and stress. It’s important to not only increase the amount of sleep you get, but to ensure that the rest is a good quality one. There is no point in lying in bed wide awake for hours in the dark, or waking repeatedly during the night and struggling to drift back off again. A good 8 hours of undisturbed sleep is the key to mental well-being. You can help to improve your restfulness by skipping coffee in the afternoons and evenings. The caffeine will stay inside your system for as long as 6 hours, so if you want a sound sleep, you shouldn’t drink any coffee after lunch. Avoid checking your phone or watching TV just before you go to bed. The blue light from electronic devices affects sleep quality, so banish screens from your bedroom and try reading a book instead. You should also make your bedroom as quiet, cool and dark as possible. Fit blackout blinds or drapes, use a quiet-running fan if necessary and make sure that all sounds are kept to a minimum. You’re sure to find you sleep more easily.
Follow this helpful advice, and you’re sure to find that your stress levels begin to reduce and you start to feel more able to cope with the strains that everyday life puts on you. By taking the time to limit the stress in your life, you’ll not only feel better mentally, you’ll be physically healthier, and you’ll ensure that you live a longer and happier life without the long term medical problems that stress can cause.