Today, April 17th, is National Stress Awareness Day! Coincidentally it falls on the very stressful Tax Day.
Our blood pressure rises, we breathe more quickly, we become tense. How often do most of us experience these symptoms at least daily?
Researchers say that a certain amount of stress is healthy – it forces us to meet that deadline and can even act to protect us through our natural fight or flight response. However, constant high stress levels have been shown to be detrimental to our health and have even been linked to heart problems, dementia, and seizures.
Each of us have different symptoms of stress, but how we manage those situations is what’s important. Some of us may experience food cravings – others, loss of appetite. Some, feelings of anxiety – others, feelings of lethargy.
So what’s the best way to deal with stress? By taking some time out of today to just relax and then make it a practice every day. Whether it’s exercising, writing in a journal, meditating, or taking up a hobby, it’ll make a huge difference for your mental state.
Equally as important are the foods you eat. Look out for complex carbs that boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical, like oatmeal or pasta. Stay away from simple carbs like sweets and soft drinks because they’ll only provide short-term stress relief. And instead of coffee, which boosts blood pressure and stress hormones, try a warm black tea, which has been shown to have a calming effect.
Happy stress managing!