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Stress Recovery Strategies - Nourishing the Mind and Body

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  1. Food and Mood: Choose foods that modulate the stress response, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Research shows that a plant-based diet is the foundation for optimal health.

  1. Caffeine: Cut back or eliminate caffeine, whether in coffee, sodas, or over-the-counter medications to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.

  1. Carbs: Stress can trigger a drop in serotonin, resulting in increased irritability, aggression, insomnia and depression, as well as creating a craving for carbohydrates. In times of high stress, consume healthy carbs to help restore serotonin to normal levels and reduce the entire stress response.

  1. Plan Ahead: One of the most effective ways to break the stress-eating response is to simply be aware of what you do automatically as a habit then plan ahead. Perhaps there are certain times of the day when you reach for a snack. Plan ahead and make sure you have a piece of fruit handy or a small amount of nuts instead of candy from the vending machine.

  1. Exercise: A little bit of exercise can take the edge off your appetite, so the next time to experience the urge to chow down, try walking up some stairs, or walking briskly for five minutes.

  1. Biofeedback: Just the simple act of making yourself aware of the ways stress affects your body can reduce its impact upon your health. If you have a heart-rate monitor, check it three times a day and when elevated, take three deep breaths and watch it come down.

  1. Friends: People are best, but studies have shown that having a pet, even a toy animal, can reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

  1. Step Outside: Stepping out of a stressful situation or environment and stepping out into nature is a great way to reduce stress. If possible, go to a nearby park, field, riverbank, or garden.

  1. Hydrotherapy: Consider taking a hot shower or warm bath. Soothing water can bring relaxation to the body, mind, and spirit. Perfect for the end of rough day or before bedtime.

  1. Unplug: Listening to, reading, or watching the news when it’s filled with negativity can cause you additional stress, muscle tension and worry. Avoid it whenever you can, but especially when you are already feeling stressed.

  1. Soothing Sounds: Create a playlist of music that soothes you and use it in times of stress. Instrumental music often works best, but pick songs that will calm your nerves, help you unwind, and bring peace. Use this music at home, at work, or on stressful commutes.

For more information about staying healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the Member Experience Center at Call855-747-7476.

Attribution: Excerpted with permission from The Stress Recovery Effect by Nick Hall, PhD and Dick Tibbits, DMin, AdventHealth Press, 2015.

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