Some days can feel like a long ride on a roller coaster of stress. To help fortify your nerves and increase your sense of calm on challenging days, try adopting some of these simple practices.
What to eat
As we inhale, odor molecules attach themselves to tiny hairs inside our nostrils. This triggers receptors that detect smell and taste. To improve your sense of smell, and calm a busy mind, infuse a room with pleasant aromas. Studies found that peppermint helps enhance physical activities while cinnamon improves attention and memory.
· Have more leafy green vegetables
According to mindbodygreen, dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli are a great source of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber as well as minerals known for their calming benefits, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
· Increase servings of fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are rich in omega-3, which are polyunsaturated fatty acids primarily known for being beneficial for brain and heart health. A recent study also indicated a significant association between consuming omega-3 and improving depression or anxiety.
· Re-think dessert
According to Healthline, eating too much sugar can increase your risk for depression and mood disorders. Rather than having a piece of cake for dessert, try some dark chocolate instead. Not only will it satisfy your sweet tooth, research suggests that dark chocolate may contain calming minerals and rich antioxidants to help keep you healthy.
· Dietary Supplements
Some dietary supplements may help boost our sense of calmness. Look for over the counter supplements like B complex vitamins, curcumin, and ashwagandha, which are all believed to help reduce anxiety and stress.
What to drink
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dehydration can cause serious health issues including “unclear thinking and mood changes.” To stay on top of your liquid intake, try supplementing with one of these hydrating and relaxing options:
· Teas – Scientists have found that “drinking tea lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” according to a Nature article. “Explorations into the effects of tea on behaviour and mental health come at a time of growing scientific interest in the role of nutrition in mental health and preventive medicine,” the piece explains. It's reassuring to know that the calming effect of drinking tea may actually be based in fact and not just our feelings. In the meantime, stay hydrated and have a soothing cup of green, chamomile or tulsi tea.
· Tonics – When you feel the urge to brew yet another cup of coffee, try a tonic beverage to boost your energy instead. Healthline suggests using mood lifting ingredients like ginger root, maca powder, or reishi mushrooms.
According to MedlinePlus, an inactive lifestyle can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and increased feelings of depression and anxiety. To get moving, try one of these easy-on-the-joints activities:
· Yoga or Tai Chi - Take a class or stream a yoga program in your home. These meditative activities help reduce stress and are thought to help improve your quality of sleep.
· Walk in your neighborhood – For a moderate aerobic exercise routine, the CDC recommends walking for 150 minutes a week. To reach this goal, some folks may prefer to take several short walks throughout the day, while others will go for a long walk several times a week. The key is to find a walking schedule that works for you and to stick to it.
Get some rest
There’s no doubt that a good night’s sleep is vital for feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. But as the stress mounts throughout the day, try to remain calm by:
· Sitting quietly – One of the simplest and most effective ways to remain calm under pressure is to sit still for a few minutes. Clinical health psychologist Amy Sullivan recently told the Cleveland Clinic, “We can use calm, quiet moments to tap into a different part of the nervous system that helps shut down our bodies’ physical response to stress.” To enhance the experience, breathe deeply to help restore your sense of tranquility.
· Sauna and massage time - Take some time to recharge your mind and body with a weekly or monthly sauna session at your gym. Better yet, combine a sauna with a massage at your favorite spa. While these activities may seem like an indulgence, they can go a long way to physically reducing tension and helping you to manage stress.