Are you exhausted, depressed, anxious, helpless and irritable lately? Not understanding what is going wrong with your body? Do you often feel low in self-esteem? These are signs of a disorder called “Stress”. Stress is defined as a feeling of being under extreme pressure physically and mentally. Stress has the different impact on different people. Physical or mental pressure turns into stress when you have the inability to cope with it. Things that may seem stress to you can be a motivation to someone else. Here you can get some Foods That Reduce Stress

What is Stress?

Stress is defined as the body’s way to respond to any kind of threat or imbalance in the body. When there is a threat or imbalance, the body responds by releasing stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which are produced by the nervous system. This makes the muscles tighten, increases blood pressure, uneven breathing, heart pounds faster and senses become sharper.

Foods that reduce stress

Stress can remain within a comfort zone or go imbalanced. Stress in a comfortable zone in a healthy way helps stay more energetic, focused and alert. Stress also leads to self-defence in emergency situations and help you meet challenges. However, when stress goes beyond the comfort zone, stress reduces its positive influence and in turn starts causing major damage to your body and mind.

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Types of Stress

1. Short Term Stress or Acute Stress

Short term stress also called as acute stress is the most common form of stress than affects an individual in daily life. It usually comes due to the sudden shocks of the past or the persistent worries of the future. Acute stress in the comfort zone can be thrilling and challenging, however overdoses of it can be exhausting. Because it is short term, acute stress doesn’t do extensive damage as the long term stress.

2. Long Term Stress or Chronic Stress

Chronic Stress is a long term stress that comes when an individual is not able to cope up to a miserable situation. He or she gives up in traumatic situations feeling helpless and lost. Chronic stress becomes internalized and remains forever inside. Chronic stress destroys the body, mental stability and lives of people. Chronic stress usually occurs due to the death of a family member, poverty, unhappy marriage, painful childhood, dysfunctional families or despised career.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Short term and long term stress have different signs and symptoms to watch out for. Both these forms of stress impact our lives physically and mentally.

1. Physical and Mental signs of Short Term stress

Short term stress is usually an impulsive reaction or quick outburst to something that happens in your surrounding environment. This kind of stress has a physical impact on your body. Some of these examples are-

  • Sweating profusely
  • Muscles tighten and make you feel tense
  • Mouth becomes dry
  • Headache increases muscle spasms and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increase in heartbeat
  • Cold hands, skin and feet
  • Uneasy sensation in the stomach

Apart from the physical impacts of short term stress, it can also have bad effects on your mental stability and performance. Some of the mental effects include-

  • Impaired judgement
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Feel anxious or frustrated at all times
  • Feel rejected, helpless and lost
  • See normal situations as a threat
  • Reduced enjoyment and peace of mind
  • Unwilling to open up and share problems with family and friends

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2. Physical and Mental Signs of Long Term Stress

Long term stress is a type of stress that occurs over long periods of time and has a bigger and damaging impact on your body and mind. Physical impacts of long term stress include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Constantly feeling tired and worn out
  • Affects sex life and performance
  • Nervous behaviour like nail biting, teeth grinding, fiddling, twitching, talking too much or talking too less.

Long term stress can also have a major impact on your mental health and behaviour. Some of the mental signs of long term stress include

  • Anxious or worried all the time
  • Experiencing mood changes like anger, irritability, helplessness, hyperactive, restless, overreaction, depression, anger and impatience
  • Increased alcohol intake or resorting to smoking and drugs
  • Neglecting the basic needs of life like health, work, relationships and personal appearance
  • Impaired ability to make decisions
  • Feel out of controlled, confused and overwhelmed at every situation

Tips to Tackle Stress and Improve The Ability to Handle Stress

Although most of us give up to stress or are confused on how to tackle stress, we actually have more control over stress than we think. Most of us indirectly handle stress that causes temporary relaxation and do not look into a long term solution. However there are healthier ways and long term solutions to deal with stress in a more effective manner. Some of them are:

1. Begin Exercising

Although it may seem surprising, exercise is one of the most effective ways to beat stress. Exercises that require engaging of both hand and leg muscles are very effective in battling stress. Exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, dancing and walking are the ideal choices. Mindful exercising by concentrating on your physical movements help you release out the stress from within and move on.

2. Connect Freely to Others

We often hesitate to share our problems with others. However, the simple act of talking to a family member or friend and expressing your problems goes a long way in relieving stress. Sometimes even a brief exchange of kind words can help soothe and calm the nervous system. Connecting to others also helps build a good network and improve your social circle.

3. Set Aside Relaxation Time

In our daily hectic lives, it is very easy to succumb to stress. We should set aside some relaxation time and devote to relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing and yoga. These techniques activate the body’s relaxation response to stimuli like stress.

4. Rest and Sleep Well

Inability to sleep and take rest is one of the major signs of stress. Feeling tired all the time can increase stress and make you think irrationally. It is very important to develop a proper sleep routine and pattern to give your mind and body adequate rest as needed. If you are facing difficulty to sleep, there are several techniques available to improve sleep patterns and make you feel more productive and emotionally balanced.

5. Healthy and Balanced Diet

In our busy lives, we often ignore the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet including foods that reduce stress. We take to having easier resorts like junk food and unhealthy drinks. Re-examine your existing diet and resort to a healthy balanced diet which in turn improves mental health and relieves stress. Healthy foods that reduce stress can also improves your mood, boosts energy and improves your outlook towards life.

10 Super Foods That Reduce Stress

1. Dried Fruits and Nuts

Snack on a handful of nuts every day as they are rich in magnesium that reduced the levels of stress hormone cortisol in the blood. This keeps you calm and de-stressed throughout the day.

2. Bananas – Healthy Foods That Reduce Stress

You may be surprised to know this! Yes! Bananas are well known to reduce stress in the body. Bananas are rich in potassium that lowers blood pressure and fills you with happy feelings. You can consume bananas daily as a whole fruit or make a delicious smoothie.

3. Avocado to Reduce Stress

Avocados are rich in 20 health boosting nutrients which include Vitamin B complex, Vitamin E, potassium, protein and folate. Since this protein packed fruit is rich in potassium, it is one of the best choices of food that help you de-stress.

4. Blueberries

This wonder berry is rich in Vitamin C that acts as a warrior against stress. Blueberries are very popularly known to be stress killers. Eat them whole as a fruit or enjoy them in a delicious smoothie.

5. Broccoli- Foods That Reduce Stress

Broccoli is one of the green leafy vegetables that fight stress causing hormones in the body. Broccoli is rich in folic acid that helps reduce stress in the body.

6. Salmon – One of The Foods That Reduce Stress

Ever wondered that fish could be one of the biggest saviours towards stress? Yes, Salmon is the worst enemy to stress. Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that improve the functioning of the brain cells, thereby helping you to deal with stress effectively.

7. Milk

As we all know milk has immense health benefits, but little did we know that milk also plays a role in de-stressing your body. Milk is rich in tryptophan which when metabolized is converted to serotonin that acts as a mind booster. Also the calcium, potassium and magnesium content in milk helps keep the blood pressure under control. Having a glass of milk every day keeps you calm and de-stressed throughout the day.

8. Green Tea – A Healthy Drink to Reduce Stress

Green tea is packed with anti-oxidants and a compound called theanine which increases the brain’s relaxation inducing alpha waves and reduces tension creating beta waves. Drinking green tea every day acts as a major stress reliever and keeps you energized and happy the whole day.

9. Almonds

A healthy immune system plays a major role in keeping you away from stress. Almonds are rich in Vitamin B complex and Vitamin E that boost your immune system when you are stressed out.

10. Dark Chocolate

Many of us crave for dark chocolate for its taste. Did you know that dark chocolate is often called as the “anti-anxiety drug”? Dark chocolate is rich in a chemical called “anandamide”, a neurotransmitter that temporarily block out the feelings of anxiety, depression and pain. It also contains other compounds that prolong the impact of “anandamide” and keep you feeling good and happy.

Life is filled with stress. Sometimes it is big and sometimes it is small. Each person reacts differently to stress and each time the intensity of stress varies. Understanding stress, the symptoms, and the ways to help tackle stress is the key aspect to stress management. A healthy balanced lifestyle, food, exercise and a good mental state of mind helps beat stress in an effective manner. Managing and beating stress with the foods that reduce stress help you greatly improve your physical and mental well-being.