Stress-Busters

1) Exercise: Endorphins, baby!  Get your blood pumping and your body will take care of you by releasing some feel-good hormones.  Work out any way you like.  Go for a run if it suits you, or discover the natural stress-busting benefits of yoga.  I find that if I start my day with a workout, I’m more tolerant and calm, not to mention focused, during my early-morning meetings.  If I end it with a workout, I’m less consumed by the stress of getting a healthy dinner on the table in a timely fashion.  Either way, it’s a win, so throw your tennis shoes on and take care of it.

2) Massage: Include some aromatherapy for a double-dose of natural stress-busting (vanilla, lavender, and sandalwood are great choices).  For me, massage doubles as rest- and meditation-time.  It’s all about me, and concentrating on ourselves is one of the greatest natural stress-busters.

3) Eat: Keep your folic acid and complex carbohydrates up and your caffeine and alcohol-consumption down.  Folic acid supports serotonin production and complex carbs produce serotonin.  Serotonin is a chemical created by our bodies which acts as a mood-balancing neurotransmitter.  You gotta have it.  Eat lots of asparagus, citrus, avocados, and lentils for your folic acid and plenty of whole grains and starchy vegetables like winter squash and sweet potatoes for your complex carbs.  It also helps to get plenty of vitamin C (eat those berries!) and zinc (cashews, my friend).

Try this cashew lentil dal for a combination of natural stress-busters.

Caffeine and alcohol are, like most things, fine in moderation, but, in excess, both can affect mood and quality sleep negatively.

Read on for examples of more food-based natural stress-busters.

4) Drink: Get that chamomile tea!  It’s soothing, delicious, and, most importantly, calming.  Warm up with a cup and a good book at the end of a long day.

5) Be Merry: Laugh!  Nothing helps you de-stress like a good belly-laugh.  Turn on your favorite sitcom, watch a stand-up routine, or get out a favorite comedy movie to help you wind down after a rough day.  Laughter truly is the best medicine.