No BS, let’s get down to it!
Yeah, yeah, we have all heard it before. Eat better! Well, there is a reason. Junk food = junk brain, you really are what you eat! There are many happy foods you can eat that will improve your mood and eliminate stress. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts, and eggs. Omega-3 is a fatty acid that helps boost brain health and chases away depression and anxiety. B-complex vitamin foods such as lean meats, legumes, sunflower seeds, spinach are packing some serious brain-boosting properties. B vitamins are responsible for helping to turn your food into energy. Oh and drink lots of water, many of our mental health issues stem from being dehydrated. Coffee doesn’t count!
Don’t bend to negativity!
Sometimes we all get sucked into a gossip vortex of negative conversation, and just about everytime you walk away feeling just a little bit less happy. There is no end to negativity, playing the victim or placing blame will always leave you without control over your situation. When a conversation begins to get negative, get out of it. Find ways to bring it back to positive with affirmative comments and if there is criticism, always accentuate any positives. There really are positives in every situation.
Go for a jog, join a gym, go for a long walk, just move! Every time you get your heart rate up increases your dopamine production in your brain, this is the hormone responsible for happiness and joy. While you are moving, you are also giving your stress hormone called cortisol a job. A build-up of cortisol (aka the stress hormone) can cause all kinds of mental and physical ailments, your body is always in “fight or flight” mode. Get your blood moving, your mental health will thank you. With regular exercise, you can also reverse brain aging and memory retention… how much stress comes with forgetting important events?
Read and write!
An excellent book can take your brain on an adventure, and adventure far from the worries of real life. When you are stressed, you are most likely hyper-focused on the problems at hand. Stress can be caused by something that happened in the past or fixating on the worries in the future. While reading, your brain has no choice but to come alive assembling the words it is processing, it has no other job aside from keeping you in the present.
By writing, you are creating. Writing stimulates your expressions and allows you a physical way to process your thoughts. Instead of keeping all of your stressful thoughts swirling inside your head, getting them out will enable you to get them out. Don’t force it though, sometimes trying to find the words to how you feel can bring on additional stress. Just write it out and wing it and like everything else, the more you do it, the better it will get.
Give without expectation!
When you give with expectation, you are giving more than just your time, energy or wealth. You are giving up control. By expecting something in return for your kindness or generosity, you are placing your happiness in the transaction which may never be reciprocated. Thus, you are giving away your happy instead of merely creating it.
Spend quality time with family!
Nothing quite gets you back into the moment than a good ol’ fashioned tickle fight with your child or significant other. You have no barriers keeping you away from being in the present. Stress is often the result of worry of the future or regret of the past when you are in the moment, none of that other stuff matters. Your best friends and family always bring you back to center, it is why you love them so much! Oh, and for Pete’s sake… turn your damn phone off!!
Be a friend!
Friends are not perfect, and neither are you. That doesn’t mean you can try and build an ideal friendship. When you have the least amount of time to spend with a friend is when you should make time for them, if even a few moments. Sometimes a conversation with a good friend can bring you back to the present and help you take your mind away from your worries. On top of it all, they will appreciate it! Offer to help them move, clean up their house, babysit their kids, wash their car or paint a room in their home. Invite them to a movie, a concert or to a great dinner, on you! You can’t help but release stress when you are in the company of a great friend, it is why you picked them, and they picked you!
These are obviously all common sense things that are just here to give you a little reminder. If you are stressed out, I hope reading this helped you forget about things for a little bit. Just remember, like all the other trials you have been through in life, this too shall pass.