With the fast and intense pace of modern life it can be very easy to sometimes feel stressed out, anxious and downright overwhelmed. From geopolitical and socioeconomic strife abroad to work, family and financial challenges at home, stress is an inevitable part of everyday life. It is now more important than ever to make sure you know how to properly manage your stress levels.
This might sound obvious, nobody likes feeling stressed and overwhelmed but the gravity and importance of stress management actually goes much deeper than that. The National Institute of Mental Health cites that stress can contribute to a myriad of serious health problems including headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety. Seventy-five to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and even OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has declared stress a hazard of the workplace.
So what are some stress management techniques? Some people try to manage their stress by drinking alcohol or taking drugs (whether illicit or pharmaceutical), but unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems. I have found that the most effective and sustainable method of managing stress is to focus on four daily fundamental basics: Diet, Exercise, Sleep and Gratitude. I know that this might sound overly simplistic but it’s just an easy and effective way to manage daily stress. If you make a daily commitment to be good to yourself and set attainable goals in these four basic areas your body will naturally feel better and your stress will become much more manageable.
Here are some simple examples of practical ways to “stick to the basics.” First, you want to set attainable goals. You don’t need to force yourself into a strict diet and exercise regiment that is hard to stick to because you will probably fall off the rails and inevitably fail, leading to more stress. Start with something small like swapping your lunchtime burger for a salad or a smoothie, or replacing your afternoon snack with some fresh fruits or vegetables. You don’t need to get an expensive gym membership, just go outside for a daily walk or bike ride. Make sure you are doing everything you can to get enough sleep (diet and exercise will definitely help with this) and make sure you are taking a small part of your day to do something that brings you gratitude. This can be reading, gardening, playing music, or simply hanging out with friends and family. If you start focusing on these four simple things every day you will start to feel better and your stress level will become more manageable.
I have also found that in addition to these four fundamental basics it can be very helpful to add some natural supplements to your diet. One of my absolute favorites for stress relief is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an ancient herb traditionally used to reduce stress and
enhance wellbeing. In a 2019 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Ashwagandha supplementation was associated with a statistically significant reduction in depression, anxiety, stress and hormonal changes in cortisol (the stress hormone). Ashwagandha intake was also associated with greater reductions in morning cortisol, we all know that stress can be at its worst in the mornings when you’re thinking about everything you have to do that day! I have found that by taking supplements with Ashwaghandha and other stress reducing ingredients it can be yet another useful tool in managing my stress.
So in conclusion my friends, by sticking to the four basic fundamentals (diet, exercise, sleep and joy) and by adding in some clinically proven stress reducing supplements to your daily routine, you can really make tremendous strides in lowering your stress levels and start living a happier healthier life. I think that is something that we can all get behind!
Stay well my friends, until next time.
Scott Solomon is a former collegiate and NFL athlete and the co-founder and CEO of BrainTree Nutrition. He is passionate about helping people live their happiest and healthiest lives. Through meticulous research and an unwavering commitment to transparency, quality and honesty, he and the entire team at BrainTree believe they have created some of the best and most effective supplements on the market. Please visit braintreenutrition.com to learn more.