Here we are on the fourth week of our Stress Less Challenge. How many of you are feeling less stressed since you started this challenge? I have to admit, I was skeptical at first that something as simple as participating in this challenge would help to reduce my level of stress. Well, 21 days down and I can honestly say I have found myself less stressed. I have learned to turn my commute into a less stressful event. I have also learned not to “sweat the small things.” I find I have wholly embraced the challenge to my advantage. I trust most of you have found alternative ways to reduce stress other than the techniques listed in our handouts.
I have done some research this week and have come up with a few additional ideas I happen to agree with to help us all reduce stress. First is Reflection. Reflect on what is important to you. This helps you to re-center yourself, which makes the stressful situation less of a stressor. Many of us, myself included, tend to focus on the negative and not on what can be a positive. If you look for the positive, you will find you are less stressed.
One of my personal favorite discoveries for stress reduction is chocolate! A piece of dark chocolate can brighten your outlook and reduce stress. A daily dose of dark chocolate (70 percent cacao or higher) is a proven antidote to stress. It has also been said that it can lower your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease – three less things about which to stress. Cacao beans are rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant. They help to counteract the anxiety-producing hormone cortisol. I know you are smiling just thinking about having chocolate! Just make sure you are having dark chocolate, as milk chocolate has not been shown to be a proven stress-reducer.
Here are a few other foods that have been shown to reduce stress: Cantaloupe is loaded with Vitamin C, which is crucial for fighting stress. Blueberries are loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants, which lower stress. Broccoli is filled with B vitamins known to relieve stress. Broccoli also contains folic acid, which has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, panic, and depression. The vitamins in almonds are great stress relievers: Vitamins B2 and E, magnesium, and zinc. Isn’t it nice to know that you can eat, in moderation, to reduce stress!
You won’t hear from me for the next few weeks. I will be finishing up my Stress Less Challenge! I wish you well over the next few weeks of the challenge. I will blog once more when I complete the challenge to give you my thoughts on how I did. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Don’t let the holiday stress you…use your challenge tips to make the day enjoyable!