How Can I Change My Routine to Lower My Stress?

What changes can I make to my daily routine to help lower my stress?

Question:
Tanya Edwards, M.D.
ABOUT THE EXPERT

Tanya Edwards, M.D.

A family physician, Dr. Tanya Edwards is passionate about using nutrition for the prevention and treatment of chronic illness.  She... Read more

There are so many things you can do to begin lowering your stress. Here are 10 tips to get you started:

1. Get a good night’s sleep. Going to bed early enough to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep is very important to overall well-being.

2. Exercise daily. Thirty minutes of exercise helps immensely in lowering stress hormones in the body. Exercise at the time of day that is best for you, but be aware that some people have difficulty sleeping if they exercise within a few hours of bedtime.

3. Consider a regular practice of meditation, breath work, affirmations or gratitude.

4. Try turning off the television and listening to soothing music. The constant chatter of the TV can add to our stress levels in very insidious ways.

5. Eat a good diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and plant-based proteins, such as beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Healthy foods help regulate our body physically, which has an enormous impact on our emotional state.

6. Limit caffeine intake. Caffeine decreases your body's ability to get rid of adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones in the body.

7. Practice happiness. See the silver lining around every cloud. Think of the door that is about to open after one seems to have shut in your face. People who are optimistic are healthier in general than people who are not. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t give up! Keep practicing until it becomes a habit.

8. Consider acupuncture to help you de-stress. Acupuncture has been shown to lower the output of adrenaline. I often recommend regular acupuncture for patients who are stressed, depressed and/or anxious. Research supports its use for all these conditions.

9. Explore Reiki, Healing Touch or Therapeutic Touch. These energy-based modalities have been shown to be very relaxing and to promote an overall sense of well-being.

10. Sip a calming tea. Chamomile tea can be very helpful in soothing frayed nerves when stress has gotten the best of you. Drink a cup or two after dinner (instead of alcohol) to help you wind down.

Video: Gail Saltz, MD: When People Worry Too Much

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