What’s your average stress level? April is Stress Awareness Month – although, some people might think that we don’t need a special holiday to recognize our incredible amount of stress. Sponsored by the Health Resource Network (HRN), a nonprofit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national campaign to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and harmful misconceptions about stress that are widespread in our society.
Throughout the month, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the nation work together to increase public awareness about the causes and cures for the present stress epidemic. There are so many notions and beliefs when it comes to experiencing and avoiding stress. The biggest questions often come down to the best ways of ending up on top and taking control of whatever aspects in life get you going.
From a biological standpoint, stress stems from the body’s natural “fight-or-flight” response. Once the body senses a given threat, the heart begins to pump blood more quickly, the brain sends cortisol and adrenaline throughout the body, and the digestive and immune systems shut down temporarily to focus all concentration on dealing with the stressor. The staff at Aero Jet Medical knows firsthand the alarming and intensive issues with stress, and has some helpful tips to tackle these pressures.
Here are some of our relaxing and healthy ideas to help solve your stress problems:
De-stressing with food
Leafy greens – “Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm,” says Heather Mangieri, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A 2013 study from the University of Otago, found that college students tended to feel calmer, happier, and more energetic on days they ate more fruits and veggies. It’s difficult to identify which came first – upbeat thoughts or healthy eating – but researchers have found that healthy eating seemed to predict a positive mood the next day.
Salmon – This fish is full of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help to increase serotonin production. According to an article in Inc.com, the DHA (docosahexanoic acid) in omega-3 fats help to nourish the brain while easing stress hormones. Plus, the omega-3 in salmon can decrease inflammation and promote healthy blood flow, both of which are compromised with chronic stress.
Unique ways to de-stress
There are countless procedures to help de-stress, but which are the right ways for you? Various methods work for different people, and some techniques may come as a surprise! Here are some interesting and not-often-thought-about ways that The Huffington Post recommends dealing with stress:
- Peel yourself an orange. Studies show the smell of citrus can help reduce stress.
- Research suggests that having your dog in the office working with you can lower stress levels throughout the day.
- Pour a warm glass of some black tea.
- Be adventurous – walk or bike to work.
- Choose a plant for your house or your desk.
Consider the upsides
Just as we have the control to panic for a big meeting or interview, dread the usual morning traffic jam, or expect the worse from a friend or family confrontation, we can approach stereotypical “stressful” situations in a proactive, optimistic fashion. An article in Harvard Business Review indicates that with this attitude, the body’s stress response can begin to work for us rather than against us.
For example, reposition challenges as opportunities. This mental skill will not only make you more resistant against the negative impact of stress, but also sets you up for more effective stress encounters in the future. Consequently, instead of viewing daily doses of stress as mountains to climb, accept it as a positive challenge to then improve your productivity, focus and overall performance.
These ideas are just a few supportive insights for overcoming stress obstacles during Stress Awareness Month. Share with us the techniques you use to handle your personal stress!