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Avoid these stress-inducing habits today!

Lifestyle & Fitness • 08 May 2017

Stress is the body’s natural reaction for coping with tense situations. But extremely high levels of stress can impact your body negatively, leading to anxiety, and can even shorten your lifespan.

Stressing is not necessarily a negative thing. If we didn’t have stress humankind wouldn't have survived. It activates our fight-or-flight response when we’re in possible danger. However, today’s fast-paced lifestyle can be very emotionally and physically taxing on a person.

Stressful situations can negatively affect a person’s health and can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, depression and heart disease.

Watch out for these stress-inducing habits:

Unhealthy diet

Most people tend to overindulge with fatty and sugary foods when they feel stressed or anxious. An unhealthy diet can compromise your health and cause excessive weight gain, both of which will only add to your stress levels.

Furthermore, a poor diet causes blood sugar imbalances that can make stressful situations feel even more overwhelming.

Put down the doughnuts and fast food and replace them with more nutritious meals including fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables. A healthy diet will keep you in good shape to cope with whatever comes your way.

Drinking too much caffeine

A large number of people simply cannot start their day without a cup of coffee. This delicious substance helps kick-start your metabolism and prepares you for the day ahead. However, it’s still a drug and can be addictive.

Drinking too much caffeinated drinks, which also includes sodas and teas, can disturb your sleeping patterns, making you crave more caffeine to stay awake during the day. This is a very unhealthy cycle.

Caffeine itself is a big source of stress, so drinking too much isn’t a good idea. Rather opt for caffeine-free drinks like juice and water.

Not planning ahead

Planning is key! This is essential to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Whether it’s your professional or personal life, planning can only help you cope better. Keep a diary, draw up timetables and keep a to-do list on your fridge so you’re always updated and prepared.

Knowing what you’re up against can save you from feeling overwhelmed, stressed, panicked, worried and anxious.

Procrastinating

Procrastination is one of the biggest evils of the twentieth century and can easily lead to chronic stress. With the internet freely available and almost everyone owning a smartphone, it’s easy to get distracted which can affect productivity.

Teach yourself self-control and know when to eliminate distractions so that you can focus on your tasks.

Not exercising

After a good workout, your body releases stress-fighting hormones called endorphins.

These magical hormones are a natural stress reliever.

Exercising will not only help keep your stress levels down, but will also improve your health so that you won’t easily succumb to nasty diseases.

Regular exercise can be as simple as a 30-minute daily walk or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Not getting enough sleep

Sleep deprivation is a major stress inhibitor. Not getting enough sleep can make you feel tired throughout the day which will negatively affect the way you cope with stress.

Therefore it’s important to try and get at least eight hours of shut-eye every night to feel fresh in the morning and ready for whatever comes your way.

To help you sleep better, set up a sleep schedule to ensure that you go to bed early enough every night. Also, avoid watching too much television or using your phone before bedtime as this can make it harder to fall asleep.

Stress symptoms to look out for:

Ways of dealing with stress:

Meditation:

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily life. Studies have shown that simply meditating for 30 minutes a day can drastically reduce chronic stress. 

Meditating is easy: Sit up straight, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and ignore all distractions and let your stresses ease away.

Deep and controlled breathing: 

An effective stress reliever is inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. 

This can help you deal with stress and even counteract the effects that stress has on your body, as well as lowering your heartbeat and blood pressure. This simple relaxation technique can be done anywhere, anytime.

Listen to your favourite tunes:

You may not think it, but this is also an effective way of dealing with stress. So crank up your favourite music. Studies have shown that listening to calm and relaxing music can lower blood pressure, reduce your heart rate and lessen anxiety.

Be grateful: 

People who regularly focus on things they’re grateful for can drastically lower their chances of becoming overstressed. By keeping and regularly updating a journal of things you’re grateful for, you become less affected by negative thoughts and worries.

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