More research continues to pour in confirming the negative effects too much stress can have on our health. The type of stress, we have learned, that is the most deleterious for our health is the constant low-level stress many of us are subjected to on a daily basis. Our body’s stress mechanisms are designed to react to stressful situations, giving us the burst of adrenaline needed to outrun a predator on the open plains, turn to fight a would be assailant or any otherwise acutely stressful situation. The chronic low level stressors we subject ourselves to––think: sitting in traffic, being on a deadline, etc.––is the kind our body’s stress mechanisms are less than properly equipped to handle; this has been shown to manifest itself in our health.
Knowing that there is a connection between stress and disease is something we should keep in mind, even if you have or are trying to transition to the Phase One Diet. While the Phase One Diet is a nutritive way to give your body what it needs to fight off both acute and chronic disease, eliminating or mitigating many of the stressors we have in our lives is one more way we can put ourselves in the best position to enjoy maximum health.
Below are some easy ways to help mitigate the stress in your life.
Like most things pertaining to health, diet is a great place to start when trying to get a handle on stress. Foods such as sugar––which is eliminated on the Phase One Diet––can actually play a roll in putting stress on the body. Caffeinated foods and other stimulants can also intensify stressful feelings and may be beneficial to eliminate if you find yourself under constant stress. Furthermore, foods high in anti-oxidants may help repair oxidative damage caused by stress.
Exercise is known to help aid in relaxation and mitigation of stress. And while any exercise is good, finding an activity you actually enjoy engaging in, be it a sport, aerobics, hiking or anything that gets you regularly moving has the added benefit of actually being fun, in addition to being stress-relieving.
While diet and exercise are most critical to controlling any health concern, including stress, once those are in place, try supplementing with key supplements. Supplements such as fish oil are known to help with mood and heart health. Other supplements, such as magnolia bark, phosphatidyl serine, L-theanine, rhodiola rosea and beta sitosterol are also thought to aid in relaxation, mood boosting and stress relief.
Daily Quiet Time
This is an important and often overlooked component of a healthy lifestyle, but taking time daily to pray, meditate or simply be quiet can work towards relieving stress.
Rest and Relaxation
Also commonly overlooked, is the idea of vacation time––time really spent away from normal life––as healthy. Escaping for a time from the normal daily cycles is and important part of mental and physical rejuvenation.