Feeling the strain? Try these seven ways to de-stress

Posted on: 11 January 2017 by 50connect editorial

Nutritional Therapist, Lily Soutter explains how simple changes this year will help you to gain back control of your stress levels.

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The occasional stressful event is part of life. Stress is the body’s way of helping us to focus so we can tackle the problem. When stress is ongoing, whether it’s from work demands or taking care of everybody else – it can take its toll on the body.

Chronic stress can result in all sorts of health problems such as hormonal imbalances, heart trouble as well as causing fat to gather around the middle. Whilst we can’t always control stressful events from occurring, we can control how we respond to them. Here are Lily's tips to help you reestabish serenity and control in your life:

Keep cool with 3 meals a day

Skipping meals can cause our blood sugar levels to drop. Low blood sugar not only stimulates the release of the stress hormone cortisol, but also can leave us feeling tired, irritable and even tearful.

Calm your nerves with chamomile

Chamomile is a calming herb with potent anxiety reducing effects. The herb can be consumed daily as a tea, infused in oils or honey, and can be added to smoothies throughout the day.

Ease tension with magnesium

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Known as ‘Nature’s tranquilliser’, upping your magnesium intake is a must if you’re feeling the tension. Magnesium can help with sleep, resilience to stress and muscle relaxation. Eat more dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocado, yoghurt and dark chocolate.

Unwind with a little bit of chocolate

New research has shown that eating a square of dark chocolate a day can relieve emotional stress. It’s the high quantity of antioxidants called flavonols, which are responsible for these positive effects. Stick with dark, organic, unprocessed chocolate for maximum benefits.

Clear your thoughts with movement

Exercise is one of the most potent stress relievers but also the most underutilised. Take a brisk 5-minute walk to stimulate anti-anxiety effects, clear your thoughts and allow you to deal with your stressors more effectively.

Stay peaceful with deep breathing

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The way you breathe can affect your whole body. By slowing your breathing down, you can dramatically reduce anxiety and emotional intensity. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, simply perform 20 slow deep breaths.

Sleep deeply with a valerian root tea

Lack of sleep dramatically increases the output of our stress hormone, cortisol. Fatigue also hinders our ability to deal with stressful situations. Valerian root tea is the most commonly used herb for sleep disorders and insomnia. Make a brew and drink one hour before bedtime.

Visit Nuffield Health for further advice on how to achieve a stress-free January

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