5 Easy Ways to Have More Energy and Less Stress
You’ve probably heard by now that powerful hormones are released when you’re under stress. I have even heard urban legends of people doing extraordinary feats like the woman who could suddenly lift her car to save her trapped child. Superwoman strength aside, these same hormones that can help save us in an emergency, can also do us great harm.
Studies are showing that today’s culture of fast paced living and demanding jobs puts us increasingly at risk for serious disease from the very hormones that were developed in our evolution to help us. Diseases like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, gut problems, and I’m going add cancer to the list, are all worsened by stress.
When I was recovering from my double cancer diagnoses, the stress of the situation needed to be managed and the fatigue of recovery needed to be overcome. I sometimes can’t believe I made it through that incredibly hard time. I did my best to control the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol that are released when we are under stress, knowing they can be harmful for any length of time (read about the downside of these hormones in my previous blog post).
What is good to know is that many of the antidotes to stress will also give you more energy. The first three on my list below do double duty by reducing stress and boosting energy. The last two have to do with the food you’re eating because, as Hippocrates said, “Food be thy medicine.”
- Breathe. Taking three slow and deep breaths when you are feeling stress, signals to your brain that you are no longer under threat and the hormones can go back to regular levels. The added benefit is the extra oxygen from the deep breathing energizes your system at the same time!
- Move. Exercise has been shown to reduce the stress hormones in your body and release the happy hormones instead, namely serotonin and dopamine. Exercise also boosts your energy and your mood!
- Be still. Meditation has been shown to have a positive effect on the nervous system, in particular in reducing stress. It has also been shown to improve mood and optimism which will motivate you to get out in the world and do stuff you care about!
- Eat Veggies. We all know we should eat more vegetables but how much is enough? I advise people to go for half their plate at every meal, even breakfast!
How do vegetables help reduce stress and increase energy? Vegetables fuel your cells with the nutrients and micronutrients they need to perform all of your various bodily functions. When the cells in your gut, digestive tract, muscles, brain and skin are all happy, you have less stress and more energy as a result.
- Eat more good fats and protein (and conversely, eat less sugar and processed grains). Fats and protein are slow burning, long term energy providers rather than the quick burn and then energy crash of sugars and starches. In case you still believe that fat makes you fat, that myth has been debunked. Sugar is what you need to avoid for weight loss and a multitude of other health reasons.
Try these 5 tips and tell me in the comments below if you are feeling less energy and more stress!