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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.”

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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?

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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