Wellness is about more than exercising and eating right. It’s about taking care of yourself emotionally and spiritually. It’s about finding inner peace. But, is that even possible in this hectic world?
These days, it seems like we’re bombarded with stress. It comes from every angle, and it just doesn’t let up. We’ve become “tough,” and we’re raised to handle everything without uttering a complaint. We can handle this, right? Well, what we consider “handling it” may not be so good for our bodies.
When we feel stress, the body naturally starts what’s called the “fight or flight” response. As soon as your brain perceives a threat, a surge of stress hormones are released and the body is ready to flee from danger. Your body is ready to do whatever it takes to survive. But you’re not in that kind of situation, are you? Your body, in an attempt to calm itself down, begins craving fat, sugar and carbs. Raiding the vending machine for donuts is not a good method of stress management.
Here are my three quick tips to lower stress levels:
- Wake up more peacefully. A thundering wake-up alarm causes an adrenaline surge before your head leaves the pillow. Softer sounds are less stressful.
- Laughter, I love to listen to Pandora.com. I love this website because I can choose relaxing music or a little comedic relief, like Jim Gaffigan or Brian Regan, just a few minutes of laughter is known to reduce your stress levels.
- Cut back on carbs. High-carb choices like white flour muffins and bagels stress your system. A whole wheat English muffin and a tablespoon of peanut butter deprives you of stress, not satisfaction.
- Drink water. Dehydration can make you grumpy. When stressed, liquids like water and tea protect your body, mind and spirit.
- A no-guilt cat nap or a little exercise can also help to lower stress.
If those aren’t practical, a stress-reduction eating plan.
Ideas to combat stress while eating at home or out:
- Breakfast at home: open-faced egg and whole grain toast sandwich. Starbucks: egg white English muffin with turkey bacon.
- Snack: an apple, a few almonds and a cup of green tea.
- Lunch at home: open-faced turkey and veggie sandwich. Chipotle: ½ chicken burrito bowl with less rice and more beans, loaded with veggies and salsa. Save the rest for your snack.
- Snack: lunch leftovers or fruit with peanut butter.
- Dinner: grilled veggies, brown rice and salmon or chicken.
- Snack: tangerines with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.