Feeling tense? It could be your internet connection. New research suggests that a delay of as little as two seconds when downloading material to your smartphone, or uploading a selfie, can cause users’ stress levels and heart rate to jump. We have liaised with experts for the following nerve-soothing lifestyle tips to help you unwind and feel less tense…
1. Embrace the outdoors
To enter a more ‘zen’ mindset go for a walk in a green space, which helps to boost those endorphins, according to research. This is also a great way to up your number of daily steps. Dave Wain, Carnation Footcare Podiatrist (www.carnationfootcare.co.uk) suggests, “Discover your local area. Visiting somewhere for the first time or perhaps changing your route to work can be a great way to explore, whilst also getting you walking more.”
2. Help float away your worries with fish
“Try to eat oily fish twice a week or snack on chia seeds, as fatty acids are great ‘brain’ food and can help to fight mood swings. Astonishingly 18% of our brain is made up of Omega-3s, however, we don’t produce this fatty acid in the body, so we have to find sources from the food we eat. To help make sure you’re getting your daily dose try Quest Vitamins Super Omega 3-6-9 (from £10.39, qnutrapharma.com),” suggests Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
3. Go green
Green tea is an excellent healthy mood booster. “It contains some caffeine, which gives you a bit of a lift, but also contains the amino acid theanine. Theanine can have a relaxing effect and may help to relieve anxiety and mental stress, potentially by increasing your levels of serotonin, dopamine (responsible for reward and pleasure), and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, which has a relaxant effect),” explains Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com the online shopping destination for health & wellbeing.
4. Purchase a houseplant
Not only do houseplants help make your place feel more homely, but they can actually help you de-stress according to research. So, for a functional decoration look no further than the houseplant!
5. Sleep your way to feeling less stressed
A good night’s sleep is crucial in feeling less stressed and feeling ready to tackle your daily tasks. “Stress, sleep and anxiety are all related. If we don’t get enough sleep we can find it harder to adapt to challenging situations, and when we can’t cope as efficiently with stress it can be harder to have a good nights rest.
“Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, which helps us to fall into a peaceful sleep. To ensure you’re getting enough magnesium try and include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet such as, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables.
“I’d also recommend taking the KalmAssure Magnesium Powder, by Natures Plus (£24.50, available from www.naturesplus.co.uk). This is a naturally chelated magnesium which is very easy to absorb and easily delivered to the tissues,” says Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
6. Still stressing? Write a to do list
“If you feel the symptoms of stress coming on, learn to get your priorities right. There is nothing in your life right now more important than your health. Learn to say no if you feel that you have taken on too much. Being assertive is invigorating and empowering. It also helps to make lists of what is, or is not a priority, and to tackle the priority tasks first. This will help give you a sense of control over your life,” says Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar, www.marilynglenville.com
7. Runners High
After putting yourself through your paces and working up a sweat do you get a sense of euphoria? This is down to your endorphins. “A workout places stress on your body, which activates your sympathetic nervous system by increasing levels of certain hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. These hormones increase heart rate and blood pressure, stimulate energy breakdown and inhibit immune function. To protect our body, our brain releases endorphins to fight that stress, giving us that good feeling,” explains Cassandra.
8. Have more sex
Did you know that having sex can have huge health benefits? “Having more sex can make you happier and more confident – those who have regular sex as well as plenty of hugs and intimacy, tend to be much happier than those who don’t. It seems that those who have greater emotional support have greater sense of well-being. Oxytocin is the love hormone that is released with sexual activity and orgasm, so it’s no wonder those having regular sex can feel happier!” says Shona.
9. Skip the naughty snacks
“One of the key things to realise is that eating the wrong types of food can fuel stress and anxiety. When the body is stressed it can crave sweet foods such as chocolate, caffeine and crisps. However, although these foods may give you a temporary lift by raising your blood sugar, in the longer term they will act against you, by putting more strain on the adrenal glands, as they try to keep your blood sugar balanced. Stick to snacks that don’t raise your blood sugar too quickly such as nuts including almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts, as these contain some protein and good fats that will reduce your cravings,” explains Cassandra.
Still struggling to resist the sweet stuff? “Temptation will always present itself. You have to be prepared, and be aware, ahead of time, that when you go somewhere, visit someone, go out for a meal, that temptation will be right there, in front of you. You have to plan a course of action to curb your vulnerability to being seduced by something you know will trigger your need to snack. This may take effort and time, as we often hang on to what is familiar, but if you stick to it, you will soon be reaping the rewards for a little thoughtful decision-making, retraining and application of willpower – with a little help from your Slissie friend,” explains Psychologist, Corinne Sweet.
Slissie (from £39.99, www.slissie.co.uk), is the first of its kind as it delivers appetite-suppressing flavourings that instantly help you resist snack temptation. Slissie releases tasty, appetite-suppressing flavours, from vanilla to chocolate, which can help you resist eating things you know you really shouldn’t.
10. Clear your diary for some ‘you time’
With deadlines looming and with what feels like an end-less to do list, you may forget to make some time to relax and have some ‘you’ time. “Set aside regular time to do something that you love and that makes you feel good: reading a good book, watching your favourite television programme, going for a massage, going out for a meal with a friend, or having a long bath. Doing things we love naturally lowers our stress hormones and helps us to cope with the more stressful parts of the day,” says Shona.