5 Ways to Lower Stress Levels

Did you know that depression, anxiety, mood disorders, as a group are ranked number one among the top five national health conditions that contribute to poor health in nearly every state in the US? Stress can make these chronic conditions worse, but you can manage everyday stress by setting realistic and manageable goals in honor of April, National Stress Month.

  1. A Healthy Diet: Some foods have been shown to lower stress by decreasing blood pressure and boosting mood. Examples include:  blueberries, crisp vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, etc.), salmon and sweet potatoes.
  2. Good Sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans today get 40 percent less sleep than the body needs to function at its best. Adequate rest allows the body and mind to recharge, which both help in the fight against stress. The benefits of adequate rest include: muscle repair, improved memory and heightened focus.
  3. Regular, Moderate Exercise: Physical activity is beneficial in managing stress so it may come as no surprise that the body and mind work together. Releasing endorphins works to boost energy, endorse positive thinking and improve overall cognitive function.
  4. Positive Psychology: Work on spreading positivity in your own life to combat everyday stressors by considering the following writing exercises: Gratitude Journal: Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. • Experience Journal: Spend five minutes journaling about a meaningful experience from the past 24 hours. • Thank You Notes: Dedicate two minutes to write an e-mail or thank a person in your social support network.
  5. Cognitive Restructuring: Train the brain to practice positive by actively replacing stressful thoughts with more positive, “glass half full” thoughts.

Read more tips on reducing stress in the original article: