Minimize stress with mindful eating, exercise, positive vibes

- By Rory Visco Contributo­r

There can be no denying the fact that stress is, and will always be, a part of daily living. Stress, however, also has the potential to be a major cause for concern once it affects our health.

Especially in this extraordin­ary time when we all thought prior to the pandemic that perhaps spending more time at home can be more beneficial when it comes to stress management.

Lo and behold, it did not turn out to be that way. In fact, many are saying that stress, in some ways, even doubled when working profession­als, even learners, started working or studying remotely. It got so bad that sometimes, they really wished that the pandemic would end soon so they can go back to the four corners of their office instead of lingering in the four corners of their homes.

Just like any predicamen­t, though, there are practical ways to handle and manage stress. A good start would be to be mindful of our diet, taking care of our mental health, and blow the stress away.

Healthy eating

Dr. David Heber, the chairman of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute, said that stress can create a very strong urge for people to eat more than they can handle during stressful times.

Just like what most people say, they turn to food that they can prepare and eat quickly. More importantl­y, food can provide that emotional comfort they desire and the calmness when undergoing stress. However, Dr. Heber said this is dangerous because the majority of food stressed people turn to are often packed with undesirabl­e and unhealthy amounts of fat, salt, and sugar.

“Being mindful of what you eat especially during stressful circumstan­ces can help you manage stress levels and change the way you respond to it,” Dr. Heber pointed out.

He also advised against what he called “mindless snacking,” which is probably what most people tend to do when stressed out. “reach for more nutritious, hard and crunchy types of food that can help relieve stress by putting your jaw muscles to work. Opt for snacks like almonds, soy nuts, or baby carrots instead of unhealthy food.”

To counter the amount of food they eat when stressed, people will simply skip meals, which Dr. Heber also strongly warned against because it can adversely affect a person’s mood and energy levels.

“Blood sugar levels can fall, leading to increased stress. If stress is an appetite-killer, try eating smaller amounts of food more often during the day,” Dr. Heber remarked.

If you’re active in eating, Dr. Heber said we must make sure to be active as well, and try to get enough shut-eye. Though it’s not very popular to most, especially those living a sedentary lifestyle, exercise is a great stress reliever. Body movements through exercise induces the release of endorphins to help one naturally feel good. Sleep, on the other hand, allows the body to recharge healthily and go into repair mode.

“Collective­ly, nutrition, exercise, and sleep promote better health, and while they won’t take away the stressful situations, they can help you better manage stress levels and achieve a better overall well-being,” Dr. Heber explained.

Three Cs

WITH regard to mental well-being, Herbalife Nutrition Global Fitness Advisory Board Member Shayamal Vallabhjee, who is also a sports scientist, EQ consultant, motivation­al speaker and performanc­e coach, suggested that people learn to cultivate the “Three Cs”—composure, Competence, Confidence—together with good nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

Composure can be achieved by training the mind to focus on one’s internal perspectiv­e.

“When you look externally, you make yourself a victim of that situation and you render yourself completely powerless. In an internal perspectiv­e, the mind is able to calm itself down. The mind is able to perceive a situation rationally,” he explained.

Competence, meanwhile, means how good a person is at something. “When you have competence, you have a strength that you can execute in a high-pressure situation,” Vallabhjee said.

Finally, confidence, can come in two ways: one can be from motivation, and the other from habit cultivatio­n. “The confidence you need to succeed comes from competence,” he emphasized. “Composure, competence, and confidence, can help you thrive in any environmen­t.”

Both Dr. Heber and Vallabhjee have been speakers in separate Herbalife Nutrition ewellness Tour events presented by Herbalife Nutrition Philippine­s. This monthly forum by Herbalife Philippine­s aims to promote nutrition education by inviting experts from the fields of science, nutrition, health, and fitness to talk about the importance of good nutrition and having a healthy active lifestyle as ways of achieving overall health and well-being.

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