Now more than ever Western society is plagued with constant stress despite the rise in technological improvements.
We have everything at our fingertips yet we are more stressed than ever before. You have the power to relieve unnecessary stress from your life.
In my journey to promoting better health, here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. Eat a whole foods diet.
Obesity is a major problem in the West. In the United States, obesity affects more than 40% of the adult population.
The primary reason is our food sourcing is deplorable. With constant stress to work and make more money we’re getting fatter each year.
When you switch to a whole foods diet, this helps reduce artificial chemicals and sugar intake that is widespread in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
With this switch, you’ll lose weight and your stress levels will plummet. You’ll start to receive much-needed nutrients.
Focus on eating foods like:
- Grass-fed Beef, Bison, Salmon, Wild Shrimp, Monkfish, Mussels, and Wild Catfish
- Wild Rice, Quinoa, Black Bean Pasta, and Sweet Potato
- Kale, Arugula, Spinach, and Watercress
- Garlic, Mushrooms, and Onion
As your palate becomes accustomed to these foods you’ll stop craving junk foods as much.
This will take some time but it's doable.
Unfortunately, processed food is designed to make you addicted so there will be a detox period.
2. Daily activity is imperative.
A good exercise routine is a great start for stress relief but if you want to take things a step further, incorporate daily activity.
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) helps keep your stress levels low. Living a sedentary life increases symptoms like depression.
The more you move throughout the day the better you’ll feel.
NEAT activities include:
- Standing at your desk and taking frequent walk breaks.
- Doing exaggerated movement while cleaning and cooking. Deep squats keep you limber and the endorphins flowing.
- Walks in the park listening to a podcast or with a friend.
- Pacing around while on the phone.
- Parking far away from the store.
- Using stairs as much as possible.
Any NEAT that you incorporate in the day helps keep your stress levels low. Plus, you’ll have an easier time keeping excess weight off.
3. Meditate, meditate, meditate
Years ago I was super stressed despite having a good diet and exercise routine. My holistic doctor suggested that I start a meditation practice.
Within a week I felt much better.
To this day I meditate for 20–40 minutes almost daily.
Perhaps you’ve tried mediation in the past but it didn’t work for you.
I noticed that when I started I felt as though I should have massive breakthroughs and spiritual awakenings.
The truth was most of the time during my first year of meditation consisted of me trying to focus and calm my mind. My thoughts ran like crazy (and they still do at times).
The daily practice of meditation helps you reduce stress during difficult situations.
When you sit down and mediate it may not feel like you accomplished much. The truth is you did. The positive results will manifest over time.
Start with small sessions like 5 or 10 minutes.
Mediation doesn’t have to be religious based. There are many ways to practice. Try a few and pick what works best for you.
Your practice will evolve over time in ways you can't imagine now.
I’m guilty of not playing enough.
The truth is playing helps reduce stress and anxiety ten-fold.
If you think playing as an adult is silly, read Play It Away by Charlie Hoen. When I first read this book I was blown away by how such a simple concept could be a stress reducer.
As adults, we forget the importance of having playtime. We’re too focused on work and family obligations.
Playing will help you produce better work and become a healthier person overall.
Playing could mean traveling to new places, discovering new treasures you didn't know existed.
Your way of play could be straight up playing with your child or a good friend. When you allow your creativity to flow magic happens.
5. Embrace Self-Love
For years I did not like myself. In fact, I discovered that I hated myself. I was depressed, stressed, and anxious all the time.
I wasn't aware of how deep I was into self-despair until I started to climb out.
When you practice self-love your whole world will change. While I still have my moments, I know that I love myself truly and deeply.
If you desire better relationships in your life romantic or otherwise, self-love is the first step in this manifestation.
If you don’t love yourself how are you going to live a low-stress life?
A great way to elevate your self-love is to start reprograming your subconscious by saying “I love myself” constantly throughout the day.
Look at yourself in the mirror while repeating the love mantra speeds up the reprogramming process.
No matter what trauma you’ve been through, self-love is the first step in developing the life you want to live.
As your heart begins to open your outer world will respond accordingly. People will want to be around you more.
You’ll laugh and smile more. Which of course will relieve your stress.