Stress can become a serious problem. This article will give you an insight into what stress actually is as well as useful advice to help you keep it at bay.
So, what is stress?
Specialists distinguish between two different types of stress: positive and negative. Positive stress is healthy because it allows us to quickly adapt to a situation by enhancing our concentration. But negative stress can lead to unhappiness, immune deficiency and even physical illness in some cases. Negative stress represents an alarm going off in your body. If it becomes chronic, this completely natural reaction is damaging to your well-being. This is why regularly monitoring your blood pressure is so important for preventing the issues that result from high blood pressure and why Withings launched its Blood Pressure Monitor (BPM). Thanks to the automatic saving and graphical representation of all your measurements, you can effortlessly monitor the changes in your blood pressure and find out how daily activities affect it.
In addition to this monitoring system, there are lots of useful tips to discover which will help you to lower your stress levels and therefore reduce the risk of exhaustion and illness. So here goes.
Sleep is crucial for good health and well-being. Insufficient or restless sleep brings on exhaustion and sometimes even high blood pressure because your body isn’t well rested. A vicious circle is created of stress – unease – insomnia. Managing stress allows you to break the cycle helping you to sleep better and giving you the energy to combat stress.
Here are some golden rules to keep in mind for a better night’s sleep:
- Try to keep a regular sleeping pattern. Go to sleep and get out of bed at the same time each day even if you’re not tired.
- Keep the temperature of your bedroom around 16° and block out any distractions, such as light or sound.
- Sleep in comfortable clothes – or even sleep naked to avoid any issues
- Have a light dinner and avoid energizing foods such as coffee or alcohol – a heavy stomach prevents sleep
- Choose a nice giving mattress (not too hard and not too soft)
Another tip for yoga-fans is to adopt the aptly named Nighttime Goddess Stretch pose to tackle insomnia. Yoga triggers the relaxation response in the body. Why not have a go: lay back with your knees bent and your arms out; then place the soles of your feet together; let your knees fall open which should form a diamond with your legs. It’s really relaxing.
Physical activity helps you to unwind and find a sense of balance
Regular sport is a great way to get over stress, which explains the famous phrase: “Healthy body, healthy mind”. But you should obviously choose an activity which suits you.
Like I mentioned early, stress is just a reaction made by your body in response to a situation. Sport forces the hormones released during this reaction out of the body. In a way, sport feeds off stress. Sport also triggers the production of endorphins which create a feeling of happiness and calm and can even increase your self-confidence. What’s more, regular sport calms your nervous system, enhances your immune system and, therefore, limits stress. The most important thing to remember is that you mustn’t force yourself when you’re feeling run down: stress takes up lots of energy so there’s no point in using up the little energy you have left with sport…
Feel free to mix up the activities as well. Variety is the spice of life but a variety of activities also exercises a larger range of muscles. Take me for instance, on top of jogging by the Seine to wind down, I also try yoga. Without really believing it would help at the start, it definitely relaxed me and once I had been doing it for a while I felt much healthier. I really recommend you give it a go.
A balanced diet
A healthy diet is vital if you want to manage stress. As well as the famous “5 fruit and veg a day” did you know that there are specific foods which are calming. Here are my tips:
- Black chocolate (70% cocoa) is the best cure for stress; but unfortunately it should be eaten in moderation!
- Nuts are also great because they’re high in magnesium, but again watch how many you eat because they’re very fatty
- Salmon, sardines and tuna fish which are rich in omega-3 are really good for the brain
- Whole grains boost your mood
- Tea also relaxes the brain
Finally, what can really help is to keep an eye on your blood pressure with our BPM and to find the right balance of activities and foods. Unfortunately, in the end it’s up to you to find out what makes you feel on top. Do you have any advice to share with the other readers? Any miraculous recipes to fight stress? Feel free to share all your ideas