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FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
THE spartan shops
FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
I don’t know about you, but I don’t handle stress well. I get overwhelmed quickly, develop anxiety because I can’t finish everything on my to-do list, and get irritated and cranky when someone tells me to relax. (True story, someone told me to relax and I got more upset). I toss and turn in bed thinking about the cause of my stress and lose my appetite, while simultaneously developing a penchant for eating unhealthy food.
Whether this describes you to a T or you have experienced one or two of the above, you have undoubtedly been under a good deal of stress.
Stress has multiple negative implications on your body, as seen in this helpful infographic:
What you might be surprised to learn is that not all stress is bad. A little bit of stress is actually good. Keeps you on your toes and alert to your surroundings. Too much stress, however, and you will be overwhelmed and exhausted. Too little stress leads to low productivity and boredom.
The American Heart Association has listed out 4 ways to effectively handle stress that I thought I would share here on the blog:
1. Talk to yourself in a positive way
Have you ever caught yourself saying “I can’t do this” or “Everything is going wrong” ? Did you know that every time you say those types of phrases, you get more stressed? It doesn’t help that you’re talking yourself down when you’re stressed- you have to be able to take a step back and reassess your situation. Ask yourself for whatever it is that you’re stressing about, “Is it really THAT impossible? Is it worth me stressing over it to this degree?”
Instead of trying to do everything at once, take the situation apart. If it’s an exam, create a study schedule and make sure you schedule in study breaks. If it’s stress from a relationship with friends or family, see if you can talk to a trusted individual in your life, perhaps another friend or family member not involved with your situation. If necessary, you may want to seek a professional counselor- remember, it is not shameful to admit you need help.
2. Emergency Stress Stoppers (AKA stop stress in its tracks)
Imagine you have 15 minutes before you have to get to your exam. You haven’t had lunch yet and want to pop in to Union Square to grab something quick to eat. All the lines are long, but you choose the shortest one. After waiting 5 minutes, a group of friends cut in front of you to join their friend in line. You become exasperated and frustrated because you only have 10 minutes left and you’re tired and starving. After grabbing your meal, you have 5 minutes to run across campus to get to your exam.
If you need to stop stress in its tracks, follow some of these quick tips:
-Take 3-5 deep breaths
-Remove yourself from a stressful situation and return when you are ready
-Prepare ahead of time to reduce stress in stressful situations
-Consider meditation or prayer if you are a chronic stressor
-Break down bigger problems into smaller ones
3. Do something that makes you happy
It’s important when you’re stressed to make sure you are taking a step back every now and then to enjoy life and do something that makes you happy.
For me, I enjoy writing and yoga. Doing these two things make me calm and have a peace of mind. You might find other things enjoyable such as working out, hanging out with friends, or going for a drive. Whatever it is, make sure you’re doing it and not thinking about how stressed you are!
4. Practice daily relaxation
In today’s fast paced world, it’s hard to relax. We are constantly stimulated by everything in our environment and even watching TV, which is relaxing to most people, is still a form of stimulation.
True relaxation of the body requires concentration and the release of bodily tension. Some ways you can do this are through meditations, breathing exercises, or meditative exercises such as tai chi or yoga. For me, sometimes sitting in silence and just letting stressful thoughts pass in and out of my brain is helpful so I don’t attach myself and my happiness to the source of my stress.
Whatever it is that helps you relax when you’re stressed, feel free to take some time for yourself and listen to your body.
Stress less, my friends and know that all stressful situations don't last forever!
American Heart Association article: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/FourWaystoDealWithStress/Four-Ways-to-Deal-with-Stress_UCM_307996_Article.jsp