In this fast-paced world, it is easy to feel stressed over the demands that are placed on us. Many people suffer from depression and anxiety as a result of stress and resort to drugs – prescribed or otherwise – as a means of dealing with this problem. By making certain lifestyle changes, stress can be brought under control and you can begin to enjoy life again.
Rest and Sleep
This is essential to fighting stress. Many people spend their time rushing from one activity to another and end up being anxious, nervous and fatigued all the time. The body cannot rejuvenate itself if it doesn’t get between 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Brain cells become worn, tension builds in the muscles and blood pressure rises. Do yourself, and those around you a favour by getting enough rest and sleep.
Watch your diet
This can go a long way in helping you overcome stress. Some foods fight depression. Whole foods such as whole-wheat bread, grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, almonds, fish and fish oils will keep you healthy and combat stress. Eating foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, grapefruit, oranges, carrots and cantaloupe get rid of free radicals which damage cells, cause heart disease and premature ageing. Stay away from white bread, white potatoes, sugary and processed foods and fat. These will add body weight, increase your cholesterol levels and aid depression.
This, as we all know by now, is a major stress buster. When we exercise, hormones called endorphins are released that improve mental functioning, concentration and the ability to relax. And exercise does not have to mean pumping iron in the gym. It can take the form of any pleasurable activity that will raise your heart rate and get the blood flowing to your brain and other organs. Dancing, gardening, walking, swimming, cycling through the country are all good forms of exercise.
Stop smoking, then get over the initial difficult period. Many people smoke when they are nervous, but it has been found that cigarette smoking can cause tension headaches which can lead to stress, even though the smoker may falsely equate smoking with relaxation.
Limit alcohol intake
Limit or stop drinking altogether. The dangers of alcohol are seen around us almost daily. Overindulgence in alcohol leads to impaired judgment and accidents. Besides, excessive alcohol damages organs and weaken the immune system, all of which can lead to stress.
Keep a positive attitude. Nothing is ever as bad as it looks.