In our last Post we discussed 3 ways you can manage stress and eliminate sources of anxiety.
- Avoiding Triggers such as social media by disconnecting
- Avoiding triggers by distracting yourself with activities that bring you joy
- Relaxing with a nice cup of tea!
Of course, that is not all you can do, so we’re back with three MORE strategies to help you manage the continued high level of stress in our lives.
#1 Practice Mindfulness
When you practice mindfulness, you are taking the time to calm your mind and live only in the present moment without worrying about what comes next. Mindfulness has proven benefits (1) for reducing stress. Begin slowly, just one minute per day of closing your eyes and focusing on your breath can change how you feel!
Here are a few quick 1 minute mindfulness exercises (2) you can try
- Yawn & Stretch: reach for the sky, fake a yawn if you have to and then a real one will follow
- Hug & Breathe: Give a loved one a hug and take three deep breaths together and really savor it. Let it linger and then swallow.
- Practice mindfulness as a family. Taking one minute to sit in silence holding hands will benefit all of you!
By practicing mindfulness, you can expect improved sleep, less muscle tension and an improved ability to cope with anxiety.
#2 Engage in regular exercise:
In addition to practicing mindfulness, moving your body each day is a great way to manage stress. Even though gyms and exercise classes are closed or cancelled, there are still plenty of ways to fit some movement into your life!
Here are some idea for you:
- Many fitness professionals have turned to YouTube to keep in touch with their clients, and many offer free daily classes.
- Turn on some music & have a dance party. Just one or two songs can lift your mood tremendously – you may not want to stop!
- Get outside! Take a walk, ride your bike, roller blade, skateboard, fly a kite, smack a tennis ball against a wall – think about how you used to entertain yourself outside for hours when you were younger.
- Challenge friends or family to see who can get in the most steps in a day, or do the longest plank, or the most sit ups!
The temptation to self soothe with some TV, browsing social media or reading a book can be strong when you are stressed, but if you take just 5 – 10 minutes to elevate your heart rate before sitting down to watch your favourite show your body and your mood will benefit. As Elle Woods would say:
#3 Add a Supplement like GABA
GA-wha? GABA – Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid in the body that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS). GABA is produced naturally in the body and regulates nerve transmission and prevents nervous activity such as anxiety. When you are experiencing higher than usual levels of stress, your body will produce less of it, so supplemental GABA is used by many as a natural way to reduce anxiety, to feel more calm or to improve sleep.
Sources of GABA
- green, black, or oolong tea
- fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt and tempeh
- whole grains, fava, soy, lentils and other beans
- nuts including walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds
- fish, including shrimp and halibut
- Fruits & vegetables such as citrus, tomatoes, berries, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, and cocoa.
GABA can be taken as a supplement by itself. Always consult a health practitioner before starting any new health supplement to make sure it is right for you.
Now that we’ve shared some great stress-management tips with you, we hope you’ll put away your device to go move your body and be mindful!
Written by: Gayamali Karunaratna, Naturopathic Doctor
Date: Jun 11, 2020