Now, more than ever, people are busy! They are busy with lives going one hundred miles an hour in five different directions. This eventually takes its toll both mentally and physically. A recent study found that as many as 77% of those surveyed admit they regularly experience physical symptoms of stress while 73% experience psychological symptoms. Money and jobs are the leading cause of stress accounting for 76%. With that being said, solutions to mange stress and anxiety could be just what you need.
Stress and exhaustion are as dangerous to your health as obesity and diabetes. Extreme cases of fatigue can even lead to heart attack and in some cases death. Dutch researchers even found that people with high levels of exhaustion triple their likelihood of heart attack.
THE REAL DEAL
Unlike obesity which can be caused by poor lifestyle choices, stress and fatigue can happen to anyone. We all face the stress of life in one way or another be it financial, career, or family. Let’s look at some ways to not only manage but combat stress, fatigue, and exhaustion.
THE FIT FIX
One way to not let stress, fatigue, and exhaustion get the best of you is exercise. A study done by the American Psychological Association found that physical activity is a productive way to manage stress. Notice the keyword is manage as we can’t eliminate stress in our lives.
Physical activity has long been proven to maintain mental fitness as well as physical. The same effect that exercise has on the body also influences to the brain. Exercise produces endorphins which act as natural painkillers and improves sleep which in turn helps combat fatigue. They also make you happy! Another way to lift your mood and help to combat stress and anxiety.
DIET DEFEATS STRESS
Eating a poor diet has a direct connection to stress and fatigue. Alcohol, processed fats, and refined sugars can all increase your inability to manage stress. Foods high in refined sugars can cause insulin imbalances that lead to irritability and poor cognitive function. Processed fats and high sodium foods can increase blood pressure and cause fluid retention that causes your heart to work harder.
What should you eat to fight stress?
- High fiber foods– Eating fiber rich foods like vegetables, fruits, and complex carbs will reduce cravings for processed sugars as well as prevent overeating. Fiber also helps with digestion which insures nutrients get used by the body.
- Antioxidant rich foods– Fresh fruits and vegetables provide the necessary antioxidants to fight oxidation of the cells which can be further aggravated by high levels of stress. These foods also provide important nutrients. Magnesium and B Vitamins are just some of the nutrients the body uses to manages stress and regulate mood.
- Fat– Low levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids have been found to have a direct relation to chronic fatigue and depression. You should look for foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like fish, or take a fish oil supplement (1000 mg). Omega 3 Fatty Acids also help with cardiac function which can lower blood pressure.
STRESS STOPPING SUPPLEMENTS
Finally, you can round out your stress reducing and fatigue fighting with supplements. This is important as it is best to avoid antidepressant medications and other pharmaceutical treatments as they could mask the problem and come with a host of other side effects.
Magnesium– This mineral has long been used as an aide for overworked muscles. As far back at the 60s scientists studied the effect of magnesium on headache, behavioral issues, muscle tension, fat retention, cortisol levels, and depression.
Magnesium has also been shown to regulate stress response as related to the cortisol production and prevent to the release of stress hormones to the brain.
Valerian– This plant based herb reduces the amount of time it takes to enter restful sleep stages and helps the body more adequately rest and relax.
L Theanine– This amino acid has been used for stress relief and anxiety. It has been shown to fight anxiety by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. It is also useful for those who have trouble sleeping due to mental over stimulus around bed time or high intake of caffeine.
Take 200 mg twice daily. Take one dosage thirty minutes before bed.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)- This amino acid has been studied for its ability to reduce anxiety. GABA works by inhibiting the number of neurons firing in the brain and limiting over stimulated nerve cells. GABA is considered beneficial to help with those who experience anxiety, stress, and high levels of tension.
Low levels of GABA have been shown to feel on edge and tense which can lead to stress and anxiety.
Take 500 mg two to three times a day, take the last dosage thirty minutes before bed. Also consider taking one of the doses before known stressful situations. This could also make you tired so be sure to test your reaction on a day off.
*Authors note: I personally have used L-Theanine and GABA to fight stress and anxiety and have had beneficial results.
Let it Go and Get Zen….
Exercise, nutrition, and supplements are a key component to manage stress and anxiety, but nothing is more powerful then your ability to let go. This mean it’s OK to get mad, frustrated, and even angry but don’t allow those instances to replay in your head for hours, days, and weeks. Accept what has happened and allow it to move out of your thought pattern. If you are having troubling getting your zen back, try finding a guided meditation online or through an app. Take 5 – 15 minutes to unplug and let your mind unwind.
Be smart about your stress levels, anxiety and fatigue. Using this fitness tips to manage stress could save your life, your relationships and help you enjoy life at a whole new level.