How Can You Curb Your Stress?

We all have stressors in our everyday lives – but what do the people who deal with the biggest, baddest stressors around do to deal with their anxiety? These are two of the best techniques to put you back in control of your emotions and not live under the weight of out-of-control stress.

1. Find an Outlet for Your Frustrations

It’s commonly known that a good workout at the gym helps to blow off steam. Studies show that exercise calms you down and dissipates stress. A recent New York Times article, “How Exercise Can Calm Anxiety,” reports that rats placed on a running regimen produced a large number of new neurons specifically designed to release the neurotransmitter GABA that inhibits brain activity, keeping other neurons from firing easily. These new neurons, which have a calming effect, have been dubbed “nanny” neurons, because they’re designed to shush and quiet activity in the brain. According to researchers, it’s not a huge stretch to suggest that similar remodeling takes place in the brains of people who work out.
Find an exercise outlet that works for you—whether it’s running, walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, gardening or even shadow boxing—and do it for the long term.

2. Raise Your Emotional Self-Awareness

Research involving more than a million people reveals that 90 percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress to remain calm and in control. As Travis Bradberry, president of emotional intelligence provider TalentSmart, reveals, the ability to prevent emotions from boiling over and remain cool under fire has a direct link to performance.

To manage your emotions, you need to know your hot buttons—those situations and people that are likely to make you lose your patience and composure. Chances are, most of the things that irk you are of a recurring nature—they’re a catalyst or a trigger that gets your adrenaline going. So start by raising your self-awareness in this crucial area, because self-awareness precedes self-management.

If you plan ahead, you can train your brain to tame your reaction to these events. For example, tell yourself that when you’re dealing with a certain person or issue, you’ll deal with whatever happens with equanimity.

To do this, there’s a repertoire of behaviors you can choose from. These include listening, being patient, not interrupting, breathing deeply, taking notes, not making a decision in the moment, and even changing your position: If you’re standing, sit down; if you’re sitting down, stand up, move around the room and grab a coffee or a glass of water. Do anything to buy time before you respond so you avoid knee-jerk reactions.

The more you do this, the more you’ll find yourself in the driver’s seat rather than letting others pull your emotional strings. As Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl once said: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.” Give yourself that space.
– via OPEN Forum

Food and Drink To Calm Down

So let’s say you only have a few minutes – you need to head into a meeting or run out the door – but you’re feeling stressed to the max. What now? There are a few easy things you can grab to eat or drink that will help you find center again and regain control of your body and mind.

tea-small

1. Sip Green Tea

Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger . Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip.

2. Nosh on Chocolate

Just a square (about 1.4 ounces) of the sweet stuff can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism.

3. Slurp Some Honey

Replace stress with sweetness and try a spoonful of honey. Besides being a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.

4. Bite Into a Mango

Take a tropical vacation without leaving the desk chair. Use a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango, which packs a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels . Don’t fret about the juice dripping down your chin—the stress relief is worth the mess.

5. Chew Gum

Minty, fruity, or bubble-gum flavor, a stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. Just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.

6. Munch a Crunchy Snack

Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than munching away on a candy bar when we’re stressed—one study found stressed adults craved crunchy and salty snacks more than usual. But that salty crunch doesn’t have to be so sugary—a handful of trail mix or a bag of celery sticks will work just as well.
– via Greatist

How do you get back control of your emotional calm and curb your stress?