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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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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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