When we’re going through a difficult time, or stressing about something in our life, we tend to throw our “healthy habits” out the window and jump on the survival mode train. When I talk about making healthy decisions that support mental wellness with people who are struggling, there is an initial resistance. That is partly due to the way that I approach the subject, because I am known to be overenthusiastic and a fixer, a doozy of a combo. People also think that I’m trying to erase or diminish their difficulties. I want to make it clear that this is not at all what I am attempting to do. I fully believe there is a spiritual component to life struggles, and to health issues as well. But we are also in human bodies that have brain chemistry, and there are ways to maximize healthy body chemistry and ease the literal pain and suffering a person is going through. And, more importantly, reduce lasting damage to a person’s health from stress and mental anguish. You will come out the other side of whatever you are dealing with eventually, and your body will thank you then for taking a little better care of it.
Three Ways to Take Care of Your Body in Times of Stress:
Exercise – Move every day, especially outside if you can. The endorphins and sunlight will reduce cortisol (your stress hormone) and help to keep your sleep cycles regular.
Add foods high in magnesium and vitamin B6 to your diet – Magnesium helps relax muscles and is found in avocados, spinach and dark chocolate. B6 assists in the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps the body deal with stress and anxiety. Bananas and salmon are great sources of B6.
Consult your toolbox – Pick a stress relief technique that works for you and use it often. Yoga, meditation, tapping (EFT), journaling, and therapy are just a few options. Read a book for fun or get an adult coloring book and color away. You may have to experiment with a few different ones to see what makes an impact on your mood.
Three things seem overwhelming today? Start with one, commit to it, and try more when you’re ready.