5 Ways to Reduce Stress

The Stress in America Survey shows that people report high levels of stress in adulthood. Seventy-five percent of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month, and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year. Stress seems unavoidable in our world today.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress 1

So, what can you do to decrease stress in your life? 

1. Eat a healthy diet. Stress creates oxidative stress for our bodies, which drives our immune system crazy. Emotional stress especially suppresses our immune activity. Decreasing the amounts of fats and processed sugars in our diet helps our bodies handle stress better. Moving from a high-protein meat diet to a plant-based diet provides us with better antioxidants which help our immune systems to function better. Lower levels of folate in the diet contribute to greater stress and depression. Folate is commonly found in green leafy vegetables, lentils, other legumes, and oranges. 

2. Get regular exercise. When we are stressed, our bodies produce a substance called EDLF (endogenous digitalis-like factor), which has an effect similar to the drug digitalis in our bodies. EDLF strengthens the heart’s contraction and increases the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat, thus stressing the heart. Exercise neutralizes the effects of stress in our lives, including the effects of EDLF. Exercise outside in the fresh air helps us to relax and improve our circulation. 

3. Get eight hours of sleep per night. When we sleep, our bodies heal and repair themselves. We need to strive to get eight hours of sleep each night, and the earlier we go to bed, the better our rest will be. Going to bed earlier helps us to get more deep sleep (Stages 3 & 4) which provides our bodies with more time for healing and repair. When we are in those deep stages of sleep, our EEG shows slow delta waves, signifying that our brains are resting and doing less complicated tasks. 4. Drink plenty of water. Drinking more water hydrates each cell in your body, helping to keep them healthy. When we are better hydrated, our bodies are more alkaline instead of acidic. That helps to keep all of our enzymatic processes and hormones working normally. A better hydrated brain thinks more clearly and does not get stressed as easily. 

5. Simplify your life. Look for ways to simplify your life and thereby decrease stress. Try cutting back on your time commitments. Let go of material things or drop that second job. Live within your means or even below your means. Peace of mind may be worth more than a new car or the latest gadget.