According to the American Psychological Association (APA), fifty-nine percent of U.S. adults say that the current divide within the country causes them stress.
“We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines,” reports APA CEP Arthur C. Evans Jr., Ph.D.
“The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”
With all this on your plate, what are you supposed to do? The truth is, it’s rarely, if ever, as bad as it seems. We’re adept at blowing things out of proportion and overwhelming ourselves in the process. Still, you need to be taking steps to combat this wave of stress if you want to lead a happy and healthy life.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to reduce stress and find greater balance in your daily life.
From meditation to medication, there are a lot of stress-reduction coping mechanisms out there. But did you know there’s actually a lot you can do to fight stress through health and wellness? Stress has a lot to do with what we put in, and do with, our physical body as much as it does with any external factor.
Whether you’re skeptical of traditional stress-relief methods or you want a more well-rounded approach to dealing with stress and its symptoms, here are five natural health tips for doing just that:
1. Consume more antioxidants and nutrients
When stress hormones are triggered, the body balances this out by increasing adrenal production.
Why does this matter? When we enter this state, our body consumes nutrients at a much higher rate, which can lead to a deficiency that results in all kinds of problems — from exhaustion to illness — that can end up increasing our stress indirectly.
To combat this, make sure you’re maintaining a healthy, nutrient-rich diet with antioxidants. Green tea is great for this because it’s high in antioxidants along with also having L-theanine, a stress-reducer in itself.
2. Weed out toxins
When the body experiences high levels of stress, it inhibits organs such as the kidneys and liver from functioning correctly. Why does this matter? Because when that happens, it becomes harder to remove toxins from the body, which can result in a kind of toxic build up that causes all kinds of issues.
However, the good news is you can get proactive and start removing these toxins from your regular cycle of consumption to reduce the likelihood of this happening. It’s important to note, however, that our food supply can have its own potentially harmful toxins, so you need to be diligent if you want to remove them, and seek to eat as much organic food as possible.
Other examples of products that can have potentially harmful toxins include:
- Bath and hygiene products
- Cleaning products
- Plastic (mostly exposure through microwaving food in plastic containers)
Become a conscientious consumer and seek to get as many organic or all-natural products in these categories as possible.
3. Watch for stress-inducing foods
We often don’t realize it, but a bad diet can cause its own amount of stress within the body. If you consume too many processed foods and sugars, the stress you put on your body will be felt, even if you don’t realize it.
The most important thing you can do here is to strive to get your food as close from the source as possible. Does your local grocer sell organic items? Great. How about locally grown whole foods? Even better. And a farmer’s market? The best of all.
The idea is that you want to be consuming food that doesn’t have any added bad chemicals or substances that can cause additional stress on your body’s digestive and other systems.
4. Get the right amount of sleep
Just as what you consume is critical for maintaining a healthy, stress-free body and mind, what you do with your body each and every day also matters a lot. And one of the most important parts of that is sleep.
An unnatural or inconsistent sleep schedule can wreak all kinds of havoc on your body, and lead to not only increased stress but other symptoms that result in even more stress in the long-run.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s just as much about the quality of the sleep you get as it is about the quantity. So, make sure you follow these basic tips for maintaining good sleep hygiene:
- Adopt a nighttime ritual
- Turn off blue light at least one hour (if not two) before bed. This includes electronics such as smartphones, computers, and T.V.
- Stick to a set bedtime to optimally condition the internal systems of the body
5. Get active
Working out might seem a bit stressful at first, between purchasing and gathering all your gear and finding an activity you enjoy. Once you do that, decide where you’re going to work out, get a gym membership if you’re going to a public gym, set a time for your workouts (and stick to it), and then get up to work out.
Physical exercise has been shown to be one of the most powerful stress reducers of all. That’s because when you exercise, your body releases a chemical called an endorphin, which helps improve hormone levels (which are partly connected to stress).
The cool part about this is you don’t have to do anything time-intensive or difficult, even a quick ten-minute workout or jog outside in the sun can do wonders for the body.