Advertising
Advertising

Instant De-stress Tips: 7 Foods You Should be Eating Right Now

Instant De-stress Tips: 7 Foods You Should be Eating Right Now

    “You are what you eat.” We’ve all heard it a thousand times before. So when my mom showed up at my house over the weekend with a bunch of bananas, I should have known there was a good reason.

    “Hey, Mom. What’s with the bananas?”

    “Well, kiddo, you told me you had a rough week, and I read somewhere that bananas were good for reducing your stress levels.”

    Advertising

    So I ate a couple bananas, and I started to feel better. And that got me wondering…what other foods are good for lowering your stress levels?

    If you’ve stressed out, it can really affect your productivity. In order to stay at your peak, try snacking on some of the following foods.

    1. Bananas

    So obviously I had to start with the food that inspired me to write this. Bananas are high in potassium, which aids in the regulation of blood pressure. Lots of other fruits and vegetables contain potassium, but it’s especially high in bananas.

    In addition to stress benefits, bananas can also relieve heartburn and keep your blood sugar levels up.

    Advertising

    2. Salmon

    Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which elevates your mood, thereby helping you to better cope with the aftereffects of a really tough day at the office. These fatty acids aid with brain function, meaning that you’ll have the mental acuity to keep your head when everything is going crazy around you.

    Flax seeds are also high in omega-3s.

    3. Broccoli

    Broccoli contains folic acid. In addition to being essential for pregnant women, folic acid is also very helpful for lowering stress levels and preventing irritability. Other foods rich in folic acid include asparagus and orange juice.

    4. Sugar

    And you thought this article was gonna be all about healthy foods.

    Advertising

    Foods that are high in sugar cause your body to produce fewer hormones linked to anxiety. When you ingest sugar, your body creates a hormone that counters stress reactions, called glucocorticoid.

    So, while you should make sure to only eat sugar in moderation, a small taste of ice cream, cookies, or chocolate can help you to lower your stress levels almost instantly. Just be careful not to overindulge, or else you might just end up in a sugar coma.

    5. Black Tea

    One study conducted in England revealed that people who drank 4 cups of black tea per day for at least 6 weeks saw a marked decrease in the amount of cortisol their bodies were producing. Cortisol is a hormone linked to high stress levels, so anything you can do to limit cortisol production will help you to deal with the stumbling blocks that life puts in your way.

    6. Whole Grains

    A diet rich in complex carbs and whole grains encourages your body to produce increased levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone that improves your mood and produces a sensation of relaxation.

    Advertising

    7. Chicken Breast
    Everyone knows tryptophan as a buzzword you hear a lot around Thanksgiving. But believe it or not, chicken breast actually contains a higher level of tryptophan than turkey. That means eating some chicken after a particularly stressful day can help you to get more restful sleep, a very useful benefit if you often find yourself tossing and turning when you have a lot on your mind.

    Conclusion

    According to nurse Elaine Magee, the way we eat can absolutely affect your mood and our ability to cope with stress. By eating the right combination of foods, we can trick our bodies and brains so that they can battle stress more effectively.

    “Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so you might think that foods high in protein would increase levels of tryptophan, but the opposite is true. Tryptophan has to fight with other amino acids to cross the blood-brain barrier and get into the brain. Since tryptophan is the weaker of the amino acids, generally only a small amount makes it into the brain when other amino acids are present.

    But, when you eat a meal that’s almost all carbs, this triggers insulin to clear the other amino acids from your bloodstream. That leaves tryptophan with a smooth passage into the brain. This, in turn, boosts the serotonin level in the brain. High serotonin levels help boost your mood and help you feel calm.”

    As a bonus, when your stress levels are lower thanks to a better diet, you won’t be a victim of “stress eating”. In addition, lower stress means lower levels of cortisol in your body; lower levels of cortisol will make it easier for you to lose weight, particularly around your gut. Those two factors combined mean that you’re more likely to lose weight by following these eating tips. Who knew eating sensibly could make you feel so good?

    More by this author

    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

    Does the Pomodoro Technique Work for Your Productivity? The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

    Trending in Lifestyle

    1 10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult 2 10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation 3 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 4 8 Best Multivitamins For Men, Women And Kids 5 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on November 9, 2020

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

    Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

    Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

    If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

    Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

    1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

    Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

    Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

    Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

    2. No Motivation

    Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

    Advertising

    This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

    If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

    3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

    Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

    A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

    A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

    The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

    4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

    One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

    We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

    Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

    Advertising

    You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

    5. Upward Comparisons

    Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

    The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

    These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

    Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

    6. No Alternative

    This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

    Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

    Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

    Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

    Advertising

    7. Stress

    As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

    When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

    We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

    If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

    8. Sense of Failure

    People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

    Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

    Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

    If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

    9. The Need to Be All-New

    People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

    Advertising

    These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

    10. Force of Habit

    Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

    Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

    These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

    Final Thoughts

    These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

    There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

    More on Breaking Bad Habits

    Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
    [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
    [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

    Read Next