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4 Simple Steps to Lift Your Dark Cloud of Stress

4 Simple Steps to Lift Your Dark Cloud of Stress


    Is there a dark cloud over your head?  Do you find it hard to get out from under the feeling of “always being behind the eight-ball?”  Do you want to see the sun again?  Do you want to feel contentment and happiness in your life?

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    The hustle and bustle of everyday life can really create a dark cloud over  (and even around) you. This dark cloud weights you down, it leaves you feeling “crazed” and always behind. This dark cloud can start impacting your health, happiness and relationships.

    While I don’t believe that you can eliminate stress from your life completely, I do believe there is a lot more we can do to reduce it.  There is not a “one size fits all” solution either — you need to find the strategy that works best for you.  Maybe even combine one or more strategies together and make a game of it.

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    Here are some strategies that I use to help banish my daily stress. Give them a try…I believe you will find them to be very helpful:

    1. Support Systems. If you’re constantly running on empty, your mind, body, and soul will suffer the repercussions of your tenacity. There’s no shame in asking for a helping hand. Sometimes, you’ll be able lean on a spouse, coworker, or friend, but other times you may have to hire help.  Start with having a discussion with your partner or family and see if you can brainstorm a way to share the chores around the house. Even just taking turns cooking dinner is helpful.
    1. Self Care. What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, relaxing in a bubble bath, drawing, lounging in bed watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy? Indulge yourself in your favorite restful activity a few times each week. Carving out a few hours each weekend to indulge in your favorite lazy activity. Choose at least one weeknight to relax after work. Start with a walk outside. I know you might need your sunglasses because you have been under that dark cloud for so long. But trust me — there is sunshine, fresh air, beautiful things to look at out there!
    1. Simplify life. Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, and have less stress as a result.  Identify those things that are most important in your life…and then get rid of the rest.  It may not be quite that easy, but you can certainly start somewhere with this idea.  Think of just one thing that has been bothering you that you can remove and do it.  Once you start with one, you will see a ray of sunlight.
    1. Meditation. With meditation we can learn to transform our minds from chaos to calm. And it is really not as hard as you might think. My favourite meditation is a “Breathing Meditation”. It is simple and you can do it anywhere. Sit in any comfortable position, with your eyes partially closed. Now breathe. Just breathe normally through your nose. Notice how your body moves and what the air feels like. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. Even just practicing this for two minutes a day will add another ray of sunlight. (If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at meditation, check out Lifehack’s Mindfulness Meditation Mini Guide.)

    Sometime stress seems like it is a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to put your sanity and happiness first. Most of the time there’s a simple fix to the challenges that are causing you stress. Simply adjust the way you perceive the issues and how you address them.

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    Small simple steps on a daily basis will create a huge momentum in your life and you will feel the dark clouds life away and the warm breath of the sunshine on your skin.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Dark Portrait via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 28, 2020

    14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

    14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

    Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

    What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

    The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

    Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

    It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

    Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

    In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

    Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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    Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

    1. Quinoa

    GI: 53

    Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

    2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

    GI: 50

    Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

    3. Corn on the Cob

    GI: 48

    Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

    4. Bananas

    GI: 47

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    Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

    They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

    5. Bran Cereal

    GI: 43

    Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

    6. Natural Muesli

    GI: 40

    Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

    7. Apples

    GI: 40

    Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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    8. Apricots

    GI: 30

    Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

    Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

    9. Kidney Beans

    GI: 29

    Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

    10. Barley

    GI: 22

    Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

    Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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    11. Raw Nuts

    GI: 20

    Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

    12. Carrots

    GI: 16

    Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

    13. Greek Yogurt

    GI: 12

    Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

    14. Hummus

    GI: 6

    When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

    More Tips on Eating Healthy

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

    Reference

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