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How to Fight Stress with Healthy Habits

August 28, 2018


Stress is unavoidable. You’re going to have to deal with it occasionally. But knowing how to fight stress with healthy habits is a good way to handle it.

It’s important to get your stress under control because it can do a lot of bad things to your body. It can cause symptoms like:

  • Headache
  • Chest pains
  • Upset stomach or digestion issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight gain or loss

One of the most dangerous effects of stress is on your cardiovascular system. Long-term stress can raise your blood pressure or increase your risk of heart disease.

But there are some ways you can decrease the stress in your life without medication. You just have to learn how to fight stress with healthy habits.

Fight Stress With Healthy Habits Like Eating Right

If you want to fight stress with healthy habits, you have to eat right. There are lots of foods you can work into your diet that are healthy and will provide stress-fighting power, too. Some of the calming foods you can try include:

  1. Oranges—Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that is involved in anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue and mood state. Studies show it can help alleviate stress. It can also bring your cortisol and blood pressure levels back to normal.
  2. Dark Green Vegetables—Dark green vegetables like spinach also contain stress-relieving vitamins. You also can get 40% of your daily magnesium by eating just one cup of spinach. Magnesium deficiency can lead to fatigue and migraine headache.
  3. Sweet Potatoes—They’re rich in fiber and complex carbs, which help keep blood sugar levels steady to balance mood.
  4. Avocados—Avocados contain two nutrients that can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, potassium and monounsaturated fats.
  5. Turkey—The amino acid L-tryptophan in turkey is known to have calming qualities. It facilitates the release of a feel-good chemical called serotonin in the brain.

If you’re wondering what foods to avoid, studies show high-glycemic foods like white bread, pasta, cookies and cakes are associated with increased risk of anxiety.

Fight Stress With Healthy Habits Like Deep Breathing

Research suggests breathing deeply for just a few minutes a day is enough to help bring down high blood pressure. Here are some breathing exercises you can try to calm down and relieve stress.

Natural Breath

This breathing exercise will help you become more aware of your natural breathing pattern:

  • Sit or stand straight
  • Breathe through your nose, if possible
  • Inhale, and fill the lower parts of your lungs
  • Pay attention to how your chest and ribs expand
  • Hold your breath for several seconds
  • Breathe out slowly and relax your abdomen
  • You will feel more relaxed after you exhale completely
  • Repeat this exercise at least five times
  • If you raise your shoulders and collarbone while you are inhaling, you will have a better understanding of your breathing process

Purifying Breath

This exercise stimulates and tones your breathing process, and cleans your lungs, making you feel more refreshed:

  • Stand or sit straight
  • Breathe in a full natural breath, as described above
  • Hold your breath for several seconds
  • Make a small opening between your lips and blow a little air out
  • Stop exhaling for a while, and then blow more air out
  • Repeat this until you have blown all the air out
  • Practice for a few minutes

Tap Away Tension

The tap-way tension exercise will improve oxygen supply and reduce tension:

  • Stand or sit straight
  • Sigh deeply and make a sound of deep relief as you feel the air rush out of your lungs
  • Allow air to return slowly and naturally to your lungs
  • Repeat this eight to twelve times

Fight Stress With Healthy Habits From AHA

The American Heart Association recommends some good ways to cope with stress, including:

  • Learning to accept things you can’t change
  • Being positive and proactive, not negative
  • Giving yourself enough time to get things done
  • Learning to say “no”
  • Not promising too much

Taking steps to manage stress will not only help you feel less stressed but will help you feel more in control of your life. You can also get some control back if you know your numbers. Our “Know Your Numbers Guide” will lay out the numbers you need to know to decrease your risk of developing a serious illness.

Know Your Numbers