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12th June 2018

Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done about stress in your life, however finding ways to cope with stress better can be key to feeling healthier and happier. 

Behaviours such as overindulging on food and alcohol to relieve stress may work short-term, but long-term these behaviours can be self-destructive and cause more stress.

Your food will have a major impact on the way you feel. Skip simple sugars and starches- the spike in blood sugar and insulin they cause can lead to you eating more, as well as putting you at risk of insulin insensitivity and diabetes.

Instead choose complex carbohydrates, their steady release of sugar not only keeps your blood sugar levels steady, but also induces the brain to release more of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin.

If you’re going to grab comfort food, try and go for the healthier options.

Avoid coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks. Not only will they increase levels of certain stress hormones, but they also mimic their effects on the body e.g. increasing heart rate.

Exericse can also have a huge impact on how your body deals with stress.

Simple moving such as walking, running, biking, swimming, etc. changes the balance of stress hormones in the brain.

Such physical activity also produces endorphins- chemicals in your brain that act as a natural painkiller and also improves the ability to sleep- which in return reduces stress.

Regular exercise helps to flush out the byproducts of the body’s stress response- those hundreds of chemicals released in response to stressful situations- enabling you to return to a normal state quicker.

Exercise is also very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy.

The most important factor to consider when exercising is finding something that you enjoy doing, not something you feel that you simply have to do. That way you'll look forward to it and feel better when you do it!