What are the 5 Gentle Practices To Reduce Stress?
Obi Obadike: CIO of Bloomble, Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
What are the 5 gentle practices to reduce stress? One of the best ways to reduce stress is exercising and moving.
Moving your body improves your mood and reduces stress significantly. There was a 6-week study of about 185 university students that found that when they did aerobic exercise 2 days a week they significantly reduced their overall stress.
Regular exercise has been shown in studies to reduce mental health and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Follow A Healthy Diet
Following a balanced healthy diet consisting of whole foods has been shown to reduce stress. Especially if you are avoiding ultra processed foods with added sugars. Some of those whole food options are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, turkey, beans etc.
A 2022 review research study showed that people who followed a diet high in ultra processed foods and added sugar experience high stress levels.
Journaling and writing down your thoughts and how you feel is a good outlet and a good way to reduce stress and anxiety. There was a 2018 study that expressive writing can help reduce depression and anxiety.
Minimizing Your Caffeine Intake
Consuming too much caffeine can potentially increase your anxiety and this based off a 2022 research review study. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc. and it is known to stimulate your central nervous system. If you consume too much caffeine it will give you jitters and shakes at times. Drinking coffee in moderation has health benefits and a good consumption intake is under 400 mg daily which equals 4 to 5 cups of coffee.
Human Touch And Love And Affection
Being around people who care about you whether it be your mother, brother, wife, girlfriend, significant other. Being around loved ones that are affection and hug, and kiss can make the things that are stressful seem meaningless. Research studies have shown that physical contact can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.
The Bottom Line is there are a lot of things that can help reduce stress like exercise, following a healthy diet, minimizing caffeine, journaling, etc.
- Heatley Tejada A, Dunbar RIM, Montero M. Physical Contact and Loneliness: Being Touched Reduces Perceptions of Loneliness. Adapt Human Behav Physiol. 2020;6(3):292-306. doi: 10.1007/s40750-020-00138-0. Epub 2020 May 26. PMID: 32837856; PMCID: PMC7250541.
- Rodak K, Kokot I, Kratz EM. Caffeine as a Factor Influencing the Functioning of the Human Body-Friend or Foe? Nutrients. 2021 Sep 2;13(9):3088. doi: 10.3390/nu13093088. PMID: 34578966; PMCID: PMC8467199.
- Smyth JM, Johnson JA, Auer BJ, Lehman E, Talamo G, Sciamanna CN. Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Ment Health. 2018 Dec 10;5(4):e11290. doi: 10.2196/11290. PMID: 30530460; PMCID: PMC6305886.
- Sohal M, Singh P, Dhillon BS, Gill HS. Efficacy of journaling in the management of mental illness: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fam Med Community Health. 2022 Mar;10(1):e001154. doi: 10.1136/fmch-2021-001154. PMID: 35304431; PMCID: PMC8935176.
- Lane MM, Gamage E, Travica N, Dissanayaka T, Ashtree DN, Gauci S, Lotfaliany M, O’Neil A, Jacka FN, Marx W. Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Nutrients. 2022 Jun 21;14(13):2568. doi: 10.3390/nu14132568. PMID: 35807749; PMCID: PMC9268228.
- Ellingson LD, Meyer JD, Shook RP, Dixon PM, Hand GA, Wirth MD, Paluch AE, Burgess S, Hebert JR, Blair SN. Changes in sedentary time are associated with changes in mental wellbeing over 1 year in young adults. Prev Med Rep. 2018 Jul 30;11:274-281. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.07.013. PMID: 30116698; PMCID: PMC6082791.
- Herbert C, Meixner F, Wiebking C, Gilg V. Regular Physical Activity, Short-Term Exercise, Mental Health, and Well-Being Among University Students: The Results of an Online and a Laboratory Study. Front Psychol. 2020 May 26;11:509. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00509. PMID: 32528333; PMCID: PMC7264390.
- Hu S, Tucker L, Wu C, Yang L. Beneficial Effects of Exercise on Depression and Anxiety During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Narrative Review. Front Psychiatry. 2020 Nov 4;11:587557. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.587557. PMID: 33329133; PMCID: PMC7671962.
- Aylett E, Small N, Bower P. Exercise in the treatment of clinical anxiety in general practice – a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018 Jul 16;18(1):559. doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-3313-5. PMID: 30012142; PMCID: PMC6048763.