How often do you find yourself wishing that everyday life wasn’t quite so stressful? If it’s more often than not, you’re not alone.
In today’s environment, stress is a typical daily emotion experienced by the majority of the population. In fact, according to Gallup’s 2019 Global Emotional Report, Americans are among the most stressed-out people in the world, with the 30-49 year age group feeling the most pressure.
Stressors can come from any direction, and often seem to arrive at the most inconvenient times. How many times have you been running right on time only to find that you’ve misplaced your car keys? Have you ever headed to an important meeting and spilled food or your drink in the most obvious place on your outfit? How about getting a phone call saying your kid forgot their lunch or finding out that a significant household appliance broke down?
The list of major and minor stressful pressures that creep into the average day goes on and on. Even small stressors like disciplining your kids or managing your finances can make it difficult to stay calm and focus on the tasks you need to be getting done.
Effects of Daily Stress
Not only can stress impact focus at the moment, but it can also have long-term effects on both your emotional and physical health.
Emotionally, you might find that stress causes you to lose sleep, become agitated, and feel overwhelmed. You may even have a tough time quieting your mind. Fatigue often sets in during times of high stress as well, and ailments such as headaches, insomnia, or an upset stomach become more prominent.
Stress can also lower your lymphocyte level – the white blood cells that help fight off infection – and leave you more at risk for viruses like the common cold.
Have you found yourself nodding as you read? Does any of this sound like it was pulled straight from your day-to-day life? Chances are the answer is yes. If so, there’s bad news and good news.
The bad news is that you’ll never be able to eliminate stressful situations entirely. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to manage stress so that it doesn’t control your productivity, emotions, health, and general way of life.
Keep Calm and De-Stress
Stress-management techniques such as meditation, practicing yoga, and regular exercise has been promoted as tried-and-true ways to fight stress positively and help relax you during high-stress situations.
Indeed, these strategies are beneficial to have in your bag of stress-fighting tricks. But there are other, lesser-known stress-management tools available to you. Add the following to your list of ways to de-stress and channel a calm demeanor in any situation.
7 Unexpected Ways to Keep Your Stress in Check:
1. Take Adaptogens
First things first – adaptogens are plants that are “known for their ability to help your body better handle physical and emotional stress,” according to Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN.
Although they see a recent resurgence in popularity, adaptogens have been around for hundreds of years, with roots in Eastern medicine. They help calm areas of the body, such as the hypothalamus, your pituitary gland, and your adrenal gland.
One of the easiest ways to take advantage of all the benefits adaptogens offer is by incorporating the de-stress drink, Tranquini®, into your daily routine.
These drinks contain natural ingredients and a unique blend of adaptogens to help reduce stress and anxiety without causing drowsiness. The adaptogens included in Tranquini® come from green tea, chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm.
Green tea contains natural theanine, an amino acid that promotes a sense of calm and helps you to regain mental clarity and focus.
Chamomile is a natural relaxant that soothes nerves.
Lavender is a multi-purpose plant that’s well known for being used as a calming agent and helping to reduce anxiety and relieve tension.
Lemon balm has commonly been used to improve moods and cognitive functions. It also reduces anxiety.
With so many benefits infused into this beverage, adding Tranquini® into your on-going stress-management strategy is a quick, easy way to start on the path to more calm and focus in your life.
2. Find a Furry Friend to Pet
Most animal lovers will tell you that owning a fur baby will change your life for the better. But you don’t have to own a pet to reap the benefits that come from cuddling one. Scientists at Washington University recently found that when students had just 10 minutes of interaction with cats and dogs, there was a significant reduction in their stress hormone, cortisol.
Even if your lifestyle isn’t compatible with owning a pet, seeking ways to interact with them should be on your list of stress-management to-dos. Volunteering with a local shelter, offering to pet sit for friends, or stopping to pet a fellow walker’s canine companion while you’re out and about are all ways to incorporate this calming activity into your weekly routines.
3. Eat Pretzels and Fish
Okay, better not together, but incorporating certain foods into your diet can help promote stress relief.
Avocado and banana contain potassium, a vital mineral for keeping blood pressure low. Leafy vegetables like Swiss chard have magnesium that helps balance cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. Omega-3 rich fish like salmon and tuna manage adrenaline levels to keep you calm. And whole-grain snacks like pretzels provide carbs that boost energy and trigger the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin.
It’s not all greens and fish that help you to stay calm and carry on, though. Saving the best for last, eating dark chocolate is linked to stress reduction, in addition to providing heart-healthy benefits when consumed in moderation. This means the next time your stress levels start to rise, permit yourself to indulge in a few squares of dark chocolate to help bring things back into focus.
4. Tend, Befriend, and Offer a Smile
More positive than the familiar fight-or-flight stress response, tend-and-befriend refers to a more recently discovered stress-management tendency that incorporates nurturing and affection.
Although tend-and-befriend behaviors are exhibited more often by women, and fight-or-flight behaviors are displayed more by men, this does not mean that they’re mutually exclusive.
Keeping this in mind, being aware of choosing a tend-and-befriend response as opposed to fight-or-flight is completely workable and beneficial in the long run. Tend-and-befriend behaviors are an effective antidote to stress.
Reaching out to friends to check in, offering help, or even simply going in for a hug has been proven to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve attitudes.
Although current times may not allow for direct contact with those you care about, even connections like fist-bumping or a simple smile can positively impact our ability to deal with stressful situations.
The Grin and Bear It study showed that people who smile while doing something stressful had lower heart rates during stress recovery, especially when they smiled by lifting the corners of their mouth and crinkling their eyes.
Smiling through the stressful times and making it a habit to seek out connections with those you can help and those you care about are good for your health.
5. Take a Whiff of a Loved One
It turns out there’s some truth to the old notion that smelling your loved one’s scent on clothing will calm you down. A recent study found that the smell of your romantic partner can lower psychological and physiological stress levels, even if your partner isn’t present.
Participants in the study who smelled an unworn, clean shirt or a smelly shirt not worn by their significant other did not display decreased stress. Those who sniffed their partner’s smelly, unwashed shirt for one minute were proven to have lower cortisol levels and reduced stress.
Do you have a trip on the horizon? Remember to grab your partner’s shirt from the hamper and pack it to help with any unexpected stressful situations that might pop up.
6. Stop and Smell the Roses
Speaking of scents, it turns out that the cliché “stop and smell the roses” isn’t a cliché at all.
Fragrant scents, like flowers, have been known to affect mood and decrease stress positively. Jasmine and citrus blossoms are particularly fragrant flowers. And, as mentioned before, when referring to the adaptogens in Tranquini®, lavender improves mood, soothes anxiety, and calms nerves. Scents such as peppermint increase memory and alertness, while vanilla elevates feelings of joy and relaxation.
So the next time someone tells you to stop and smell the roses, offer them a smile and then take their stress-reducing advice.
7. Get Extreme
This stress strategy may seem counterintuitive, but keep in mind that managing stress doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for some won’t work for everyone.
Although breathing techniques and medication work for some, if you identify with the part of the population that doesn’t find breathing slowly or slowing down, particularly calming, you may need to seek out alternative ways to reduce stress.
Extreme activities could be the very stress- management solution that will quiet the constant anxiety-inducing thoughts spinning through your mind.
Hobbies like paintball and rock climbing, or workouts that include kickboxing and boot camp type exercises need an intense focus that leaves little room for stressful thoughts to sneak through.
Whether it’s grabbing a calming, adaptogen-infused drink like Tranquini®, stopping to pet a pup, or even throwing yourself into a new and intense challenge, there’s more than one right way to manage stress. Try one or all these outside-of-the-box techniques to find what helps you find your peace of mind. Best of all, know that you’re not alone in your quest to keep calm and carry on.