10 ways to lower stress

PHOTO: 10 ways to lower stress

If you have been fretting about how to cope with stress and pulling your hair out in the process, WebMD offers some tips to help calm you.

1: Kick the salt habit

Too much salt can leave you bloated, cause water retention and result in high blood pressure. Lower your salt intake by consuming fresh rather than canned or processed food.

Better yet, engage your culinary skills and use other seasonings such as curry powder, garlic, cumin and rosemary for an exotic twist to your meal. They impart flavour and you will feel good knowing you are eating healthy.

2: Take the stairs

The next time you feel the urge to binge on chocolate or smoke a cigarette to fight off the stress hormones, try exercising instead.

If you are in the office, head outdoors or to the nearest flight of stairs and take a 10 minute walk. Studies have shown that even 10 minutes of physical activity can provide a mental boost and leave you feeling more energised.

3: Fight the sugar temptation

The hard truth is that doughnuts, chocolates and other comfort food provide you with only a temporary energy boost. Unfortunately, the extra weight you could put on is not as temporary.

If munching on something helps you cope with stress, try something healthier like an apple.

4: Get a good night's sleep

Experts recommend that you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night to help lower stress. If you are having trouble getting that, do not drink caffeinated drinks past noon and avoid exercising two hours before bedtime.

It also helps if you keep all distractions like your mobile phone or computer away from your bedroom. If the problem persists, you should see a doctor.

5: Time for a change

Break out of your routine. Sometimes, trying a new route to work or having something different for breakfast can help improve your outlook and mood.

For added success, focus on things that you can easily accomplish.

6: Get in touch with your body

You do not have to spend hours sweating it out in the gym to get in touch with your body.

Taking a walk around your neighbourhood or doing exercises that involve meditation can help revitalise your body and mind.

7: Get enough fibre

If you are stressed out over trying to lose weight, getting enough fibre can help you feel fuller faster so that you will eat less.

Fibre comes in many forms and is present in apples, citrus fruit, strawberries and almost any vegetables.

8: Live for the present

The past is over and the future has yet to unfold. So why worry about either?

Focus on the present. How does the sand feel against your feet? If you find your mind wandering, bring it back to the present.

9: Call the doctor

Having an ongoing ailment can sap your energy. Have you been suffering from constant headaches, muscle aches or a cough that just will not go away?

It is time to stop brushing these symptoms aside and find out what is wrong by seeing a doctor.

10: Engage your brain

If you have a lot on your mind, you can still relax without having to stop all brain activity. For example, you can listen to a lecture on your MP3 player (inset) instead of reading your notes or do a crossword puzzle.

Better yet, take up a new hobby that engages you mentally and physically, like gardening or hiking.

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