A little bit of stress can make you stronger… but prolonged stress has the opposite effect: It can zap your immune system, increase inflammation, and stop you from being the best fat burner.
Winter holidays have a reputation for delivering depression along with gift wrap and gingerbread. But schedule changes during summer vacation can also bring on anxiety instead of relaxation.
All that tension takes a dangerous toll, and rates of panic disorders and stress-related mental illness continue to climb.1 Elevated stress hormones also increase inflammation, putting you at risk for serious issues, including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.14
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If stress is interfering with your moods, sleep, or appetite, try these six strategies:
My top 6 stress-busting strategies:
1) Green tea: Green tea has been proven to boost your health in so many ways, from fighting cardiovascular disease and obesity to preventing type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.2
As if all that wasn’t enough, it also makes you feel good! Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that naturally reduces your blood pressure and anxiety levels.3 Just be sure to switch to decaf after lunch, especially if you're caffeine sensitive.
2) Exercise: Want to feel better fast? Get moving! Studies show that people who exercise at least 2-3 times a week experience significantly less depression, anger, and stress than folks who exercise less frequently or not at all.4
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get those mood-boosting benefits, either! Learn how to get a fat-blasting, full-body workout in just eight minutes here.
3) Chocolate: This one sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? When the going gets tough, if your gut instinct is to reach for chocolate, you might be on to something!
The flavanols in dark chocolate enhance your brain function and lower stress hormones, making you feel more focused and calm.5 (Want more good news? Check out this post about the Top 5 Reasons to Eat Chocolate Every Day.)
4) Lavender: When my son Grant was in the hospital, I witnessed the power of lavender firsthand. Even when he was in a deep coma, rubbing his feet with lavender essential oil reduced his blood pressure and heart rate.
Studies show that lavender is a natural antidepressant that stabilizes your mood, relieves pain, and can even prevent seizures and migraines.6 The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try rubbing a drop into each wrist or taking a bath with several drops of lavender essential oil in the water.
5) Omega-3s: You don’t have to work hard to make a case for getting plenty of omega-3s in your diet, stressed or not! These powerful fatty acids have been proven to boost brain health, fight inflammation, and help burn fat and build muscle.9-11
Healthy omega-3 fats also show enormous promise in treating mood and behavior disorders and healing traumatic brain injuries.12,13 Here's a convenient list of the top 15 foods for omega-3s. I also highly recommend Omega Plus, which packs a whopping 662 mg of EPA and 250 mg of DHA in every softgel! *
6) LOL: Laughter really is the best medicine. Not only does a good belly laugh loosen your muscles for a long time afterward, it also causes the release of endorphins, feel-good chemicals that reduce stress and even temporarily relieve pain.7 In fact, one study found that people with a good sense of humor actually live longer!8
Great sleep is one of my favorite ways to manage stress. Even the best of us occasionally struggle to fall or stay asleep. I compiled my best strategies for deep, replenishing sleep in this Best Rest Sleep Cheat Sheet. Get it FREE here.
The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.