Lower Stress: 7 Natural Ways
Gal, are you stressed-out? I’ll bet 11/10 that you probably are. Maybe it’s your uni workload, or your group assignment (that one person who isn’t doing their share) or your work hours, or your relationships, or your bills or your car or maybe this sentence because it’s way too long. Maybe you feel lonely and that makes you feel stressed! (Haven’t we all been there?) Regardless of the reason why you’re stressed, there is one thing we all have in common, which is – we want to reduce it. If you’re a happy gum-nut then you can stop reading here, but if not, here are some unconventional ways, and their reasons, on how to get to the nitty gritty of stress and fix it from the root of the cause.
Tackling your stress levels is a tri-factor of nutrition, environment, and habits. We’re going to start with nutrition because I find this the most interesting!
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B1 supports your nervous system, which regulates your stress levels. In particular, it supports your adrenals and recovery. It also contributes towards keeping a healthy mental attitude, which is so integral to lowering stress.
- HOW? Get vit B1 in its natural form in nutritional yeast, available in most health food stores.
- How much? A teaspoon/tablesoon a day. Beware, you probably will pee fluro yellow! That's normal.
- Potassium supports the “rest and digest” part of your nervous system. That’s the part that calms you down.
- HOW? Normally we need 4700mg a day – and I know that means nothing to you – so how do you get it? SALAD! Leafy greens are a great way to get your potassium in.
- How much? More than you think, 7-10 cups a day is the apparent goal.
- Vitamin D
- According to some studies, vitamin D has the ability to block the production of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- HOW? Soak up that sun!
- How much? 15-20 minutes
There are many more things you can do nutrition wise for stress (more info on this in the little announcement at the bottom of this post!) But for now let’s not overwhelm ourselves and move onto…
Your environment is THE first thing you should try to change. Why? Because even if you’re eating well, and nurturing your mind, if you keep putting yourself in a situation with people who put you down, and you work a job you don’t enjoy, you are going to feel drained, and that resentment and those feelings of crapness take up your mind’s back burner energy. It’s going to stress you out, still!
- Choose your peeps wisely - eliminate stressful people from your life
- I personally felt a whole shift when I began to notice which people were contributing to my life, and which were making me feel negative and muting my vibes. You’ll ask yourself why you didn’t do this earlier!
- Job – don’t do a job that you don’t enjoy! It’s not worth the stress.
- I recently made a whole shift to my jobs and shuffled things around so that I tutor less and work my Osteopathy admin job more. Doing that felt freeing and has lowered my anxiety and worry levels because I'm doing more of what I love.
These are probably the most challenging to change, as we all are built into our habits.
- It sounds logical to sleep more to decrease your stress, but why? Get your nerd glasses on because we’re going to get a little smarter right now. By sleeping more, we increase growth hormone (GH). GH opposes cortisol, the stress hormone, therefore increasing it will lower cortisol, which lowers the icky, pressing feeling we know as stress.
- HOW? GET MORE SLEEP, or improve your sleep. Doing yoga (read my post here on the benefits of yoga) can help calm you down to prepare your body for sleep.
- EATING HOURS
- The reason for changing this habit all stems from another hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF). IGF levels move up and down with GH levels. So it’s safe to say that we can indirectly influence IGF by targeting GH. Every time you eat, you block GH being released in your body, and thus also block IGF. So how do we increase it?
- HOW? We want to have periods when we are not grazing on food. Deciding to have 2-3 meals a day, and avoid snacking in between, since every time we eat, we block IGF which is the good guy! I know this hits hard for some of us coz sometimes snacks are life (haha), and if you’re not ready for this that’s totally okay!
Take these tips with a grain of salt. Go with your gut. If you can feel there are a few of these changes calling out to you, try changing them this week and see how you feel! I will be creating a workbook around this in the near future, so to make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to the bo-chic club here.
A few of these tips come from a very insightful video from Dr. Eric Berg. His videos are great resources for health, nutrition and stress. They have literally blown my mind when it comes to knowing the myths and truths about nutrition.
So, just a little exciting announcement!
The reason why I’m so excited right now is that I’ve received a scholarship opportunity to study Dr. Eric Berg’s Health Coach course in nutrition and wellness! I will be doing this in order to learn the most I can to give you gals the real info in nutrition and health and wellness! His course is based in America, and I chose this one because contrary to most Australian courses, it goes into depth on natural nutrition, addressing the common health misconceptions. It teaches how to create wellness, rather than treat symptoms, and is backed up by scientific and endocrine research!
So I'll be keeping you updated on how things move! If you loved this post, feel free to share it with a friend who you know needs to to add a little chill to their life!
Rosen, B. (2017). The Three Minerals You Need to Balance Your Nervous System – The Importance of Phosphorus, Potassium, and Calcium. [online] BR Wellness. Available at: http://brwellness.com/nutrition-news/?p=33 [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].
Society for Endocrinology. (2015, November 1). Vitamin D pill a day may improve exercise performance and lower risk of heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151101150629.htm
Stough, C., Simpson, T., Lomas, J., McPhee, G., Billings, C., Myers, S., ... & Downey, L. A. (2014). Reducing occupational stress with a B-vitamin focussed intervention: a randomized clinical trial: study protocol. Nutrition journal, 13(1), 122.