Part 1 of this series brought you the following prescription for stress reduction and increasing happiness: gratefulness, smiling, laughing, singing, and playfulness. Here are some additional ways you can reduce stress and feel great!
Experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily. So, if you weigh 160 pounds you should drink 80 ounces of water daily. When your body isn’t getting cleansed with adequate water daily, hormonal imbalances can result that affect your brain function and in turn your mood. If you aren’t well hydrated your body’s ability to deal with stress is impaired.
“I start every morning with a glass of cool water with freshly squeezed lemon. It hydrates, gives me a dose of vitamin C, boosts the immune system, and has fat-burning benefits. And when skin is hydrated, fine lines and wrinkles are less obvious. You look better; you feel better.” –Andrew P. Ordon, MD
Read more on how drinking water affects your body’s ability to cope with stress here.
Sleep is just about as crucial to good health as water! Nothing contributes to anxiety & depression like sleep deprivation. Research shows that seven to eight hours a night of sleep is recommended. When you don’t sleep long enough or well enough your body cannot get the full benefits of the detoxification process that should take place nightly.
Choosing an earlier bedtime, limiting screen time in the hour prior to going to sleep, and going to bed and waking up at the same times daily are all ways that you can ensure deep restorative sleep. For an interesting read on the affects sleep on health and wellness click here.
As they say, “garbage in, garbage out!” If you eat unhealthy foods, your body will not function optimally. The build up of toxins from an unhealthy diet can cause you to feel sluggish, anxious, and can even lead to more serious health issues and diseases.
Doing a total overhaul on your diet can be daunting, so start by choosing just one bad habit to replace. You may want to cut out bad fats and replace with good fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, grass fed butter, olive oil). Another big one you can start with is to cut out white sugar and use whole food sweeteners like raw honey, real maple syrup, or stevia. Maybe you drink a lot of soda in which case you could begin by replacing your soda pop habit with a healthier beverage like green tea or kombucha. Perhaps you never eat green veggies? You can incorporate a yummy fruit smoothie with kale added into your diet daily.
Got a sweet tooth? Here’s a sweet tip from a medical doctor:
“I have a sweet tooth, so I created a healthy daily dessert: Take a slice of toasted whole grain bread, slather it with 1 Tbsp of almond butter, and top with sliced banana, blackberries, a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and ground flaxseed. It satisfies cravings while providing protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and tons of antioxidants.” –Rachael Ross, MD
If you already eat fairly well, maybe you are ready to step it up and do something more drastic. Find out about a 30-day program to get healthy called Whole30 here.
Any single step you take toward a healthier diet will increase your body’s ability to deal with stress and help to boost your mood!