A box of fried rice
It’s almost unbelievable, but this is a true story taken from Hong’s book, Freedom to Love. A great demonstration of the power of love and how one simple act can have untold repercussions.
Stress isn’t good for anyone, but according to the American Psychological Association, at least 75% of Americans feel stressed out every day. Constant stress affects our daily lives, and can have a negative impact on our health. It can give you headaches, can make your heart beat faster, can lead to high blood pressure, and can make you less resistant to sickness. Extended periods of stress can even lead to heart attack and diabetes over time, and can affect how well you think and feel, too. So before it starts to affect your quality of life, it’s important to take control of it.
How can you take control of your stress?
Luckily, there is a number of ways you can manage your stress. Counselling can help you identify stressors in your life and figure out ways to either avoid them or how to lessen their negative effects. It can also help you learn how to deal with stress in a positive way.
Relaxation through meditation is another way to control it. Relaxation techniques can help you calm down and loosen up any mental or physical tension you might be feeling. You can get similar results through other activities like tai chi or yoga, but amongst the best ways to deal with stress before it gets to you are exercise and a healthy diet.
Why exercise and diet are best for stress
The first reason why exercise and diet are great for stress is because they strengthen the body: the right diet will help you shed weight, while exercise will get your muscles working and your heart pumping. By maintaining a healthy weight and having a physically fit body, you’re able to handle the physical effects of stress better. You’ll feel less tired, you’ll be in a better mood and you’ll be less likely to get sick.
Another reason is that exercise makes your body produce endorphins, a bodily chemical that acts as a natural painkiller and mood booster. Exercise helps your body learn how to reach a biochemical balance, making your brain more ready and able to deal with stressful situations. Finally, exercise is a tiring and tension-releasing activity. Because stress can build up in your body and affect you physically, being active can help you release it in a productive way. Not only will you be able to release this tension, but also the physical feeling of being tired can help you attain a deeper and more restful sleep, allowing your body to rejuvenate and be at its best the next day.
So if you’re feeling stressed out, try going out for a run or try hitting the gym. Don’t let your stress control you, when you can control it through exercise.
Sheila Frye is a teacher based in Brisbane.
Because stress can build up in your body and affect you physically, being active can help you release it in a productive way.