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How To Reduce Stress Without Medication

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Most of us experience anxiety during new or stressful situations. This may include public speaking engagements, during job interviews or when you’re on a first date. This is situational anxiety that fades as soon as you’re out of the situation. If you experience feelings of worry, dread or fear that never leaves you, then you’re likely one of the country’s 40 million adults who have an anxiety disorder. 

The great news is that you don’t have to continue experiencing the feelings of anxiety. The less great news is that your doctor may want to treat your anxiety with medication. If you don’t want to take medication for your anxiety, try one or more of these three ways to reduce stress without medication. 

1. Begin a Regular Exercise Routine 

When you exercise regularly, it can manage anxiety symptoms. In fact, for some people, it could take the place of other types of treatment. Exercise releases endorphins. It also improves your confidence and helps you feel more comfortable in social situations. 

You don’t have to workout every day to experience the anxiety reducing benefits of exercise. However, if you decide to try exercise to treat your anxiety, be sure to workout at least five times a week. 

2. Change Your Diet 

Diet changes may decrease your anxiety. Consider decreasing your intake of caffeine. Avoid ingesting caffeine later in the day or right before going to bed. Caffeine is a stimulator, which means that it speeds up the activity that’s happening in the brain and in the body, causing anxiety. 

Drink less alcohol. People sometimes self-medicate their anxiety by drinking alcohol. Some drinkers confirm that they experience fewer anxiety symptoms by reducing their intake of alcohol. 

Track your diet to determine if your anxiety is higher after you eat particular foods. According to a study performed in 2019, participants who had more sugar and saturated fat in their diet experienced more anxiety.

While money doesn’t buy happiness, studies show that happiness attracts money!

3. Practice Deep Breathing 

Breathing exercises are often helpful for anxiety sufferers. They can be especially beneficial if you hyperventilate when you feel anxious. Try exercises like: 

• Square breathing 
• Lengthened breathing 
• One nostril breathing 

For square breathing, exhale. Then, inhale for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four and pause for a count of four. Repeat these steps five times. 

Lengthened breathing involves counting your regular breath to see how long it is, and then, lengthening it by breathing in for additional counts. Try lengthened breathing for about 10 minutes. 

With nostril breathing, plug one side of your nose while inhaling, and then, plug that side and exhale out of the other nostril. Continue by breathing in through the nostril that you just exhaled through and exhaling out of the one you plugged first. Repeat these steps five or 10 times. 

Anxiety has a useful purpose for humans, which is to protect us from harm. Since humans are no longer animal prey, we experience anxiety from things like being left out of a friend gathering or failing at a work task. 

Reduce Stress Without Medication 

You may have to experiment with a few different techniques to reduce stress without medication. Exercise, diet changes and focused breathing are a few ways to eliminate stress naturally. 

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Reduce Stress

How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety like a Navy Seal

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Stress won’t only ruin your productivity, but it can also negatively affect your health and long-term mental wellbeing. As an entrepreneur, you likely face a variety of challenging situations every day, and you might be afraid that your business will fall apart at any moment. While a little stress can push you towards your goals, you can’t let it rule your life. However, you might not know how to reduce stress effectively. You deserve to be happy and healthy, and you don’t want to feel anxious all the time, so keep reading to uncover the secret technique that Navy Seals use to reduce stress and anxiety in all kinds of situations.

How Navy Seals Tackle Stress

Navy Seals can’t afford to break down in combat, so they need to know how to reduce stress quickly and effectively. When Navy Seals find themselves in difficult situations, they practice box breathing to calm down so that they can handle the hectic world around them. Box breathing is super easy yet very effective; the entire process only involves a few steps. First, lightly breathe through your nose for four seconds while mentally focusing on the gradual expansion of your lungs. Then, take a deep breath.

Hold your breath for four seconds. Slowly exhale through your mouth over a four-second window. Concentrate on the air leaving your lungs and passing through your mouth at this stage. Take another deep breath, hold it, count to four, and slowly exhale. Keep repeating the process until you feel better. Eventually, you will calm down and be able to think more clearly. Even if you have to repeat all of the steps several times, the entire process shouldn’t take more than five minutes, so it’s a super convenient method to reduce stress and anxiety for busy entrepreneurs.

How Box Breathing Works

Oxygen is an integral part of human life, and the amount of oxygen in your blood affects the production of stress-related hormones in your brain. Box breathing resets the biological processes in your heart, brain, and lungs by regulating the flow of oxygen through your body. In turn, your brain will decrease its production of stress-inducing hormones, and you can resume your day with a reinvigorated spirit.

What To Do if Your Stress Doesn’t Go Away

Although box breathing is an extremely effective technique, it might not work for everyone. If you’re not seeing results after trying these breathing exercises, then you need to seriously investigate the causes of your stress and anxiety. Have you undergone any major life changes recently? Have you failed to address a major source of friction in your life? Can you make any healthy lifestyle changes to mitigate your anxiety?

If you have no answers to these questions, then your negative feelings may be a symptom of a serious medical problem. Many people struggle with stress as a result of a cardiovascular issue or mental disorder, so it’s a good idea to see a doctor as quickly as possible if your stress won’t subside. Otherwise, your stress won’t go away, and your health may spiral out of control.

Deal With Your Stress Before It’s Too Late

Chronic stress can severely impact your health. Under certain circumstances, it may even lead to a heart attack. You only get one life, and you shouldn’t have to succumb to anxiety whenever it strikes. Thankfully, box breathing can reset your mind to help you enjoy a more productive day without stress and anxiety.

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How to Reduce Stress at Work

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Five Strategies to Identify and Reduce Stress at Work

The stress response is a natural part of being human. Our brains are wired to prepare our bodies to deal with a threat. When the body senses danger, adrenaline and cortisol course through the bloodstream to release stored energy, increase the heart rate, and prepare muscles to fight or flee. This fast response is helpful in the face of physical danger, but it can be destructive when triggered over a modern threat like a looming deadline or performance review. By addressing the sources of workplace stress and anxiety, you can create an atmosphere that is calm, creative, and productive.

1. Countering a Lack of Control

Feeling out of control increases stress levels. Employees who feel a lack of agency often exhibit frustration and apathy. You will see a drop in productivity and frequent personnel changes. 

Finding ways to offer control can eliminate stress from this source. Allowing employees to arrange their work areas and computer desktops to suit their personal taste is a place to start. Having a flexible work schedule is another way to give your staff a sense of agency.

2. Taking a Communal Approach

There are several personality types. You may know some highly introverted people who are happy to work alone all day. However, most people find a lack of interaction to be a stressor. Isolation can breed anxiety. Simple conversation allows employees to debrief and destress. Building some informal group time into the day will provide community. You may even find that these group gatherings turn into impromptu brainstorming and problem-solving sessions.

3. Encouraging Focused Attention

The modern workplace can be chaotic. Emails, texts, and notifications arrive in quick succession, each one demanding attention. Employees may find constant interruptions thwart their efforts to handle their primary tasks. 

As an entrepreneurial leader, you can model working with focused attention. You might suggest periods of the day where employees silence their phones and stow them in a desk drawer. Checking emails at the beginning and end of the day but not in-between is another more focused approach.

4. Establishing Meaningful Breaks

It is a misconception that a productive day involves hours of sitting at a desk. Human beings can only concentrate for so long before mental fatigue sets in. 

Allowing meaningful breaks is a powerful strategy to reduce stress at work. Rather than a fast, 15-minute coffee break, offer enough time for your employee to take a walk around the block. You might also set aside a room in your office as a quiet, meditative space for employees to mentally regroup.

5. Recognize the Importance of Good Stress

The goal of workplace stress management should not be to eliminate stress but to reduce unproductive and harmful stressors. Positive stress and challenges are what help people grow and expand their abilities. Giving employees projects that stretch their skills may cause some frustration, but it will also lead to engagement and increased self-esteem. Problem-solving can be stressful, but it is ultimately rewarding.

Developing a Growth Mindset to Reduce Stress at Work

At the Productivity Intelligence Institute, I enjoy helping my entrepreneurial clients create teams that thrive. If you want to learn about positive stress, negative stress, and strategies for resilience, contact me for a consultation. I would be pleased to assist you on your journey toward growth.

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7 Foods That Reduce Stress

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Stress is something that affects everyone. Even if you’re typically calm, stress will likely impact you at some point during your life. Along with the mental anguish that comes with stress, it can also cause you to experience physical pain. While it’s common to treat stress with yoga, meditation or bubble baths, there are also foods that reduce stress and anxiety. These seven foods can reduce your stress levels. 

1. Dark Chocolate 

Dark chocolate may be your favorite food option when it comes to battling stress. It is full of flavonoids, which are plant compounds that contain a variety of health benefits like decreasing the body’s cortisol release. To receive the most benefit from dark chocolate, purchase a bar that’s 70% to 80% cacao. A high percentage of cacao provides you with more fiber and essential minerals. 

According to one study, those who ate around 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate each day for a two-week period had fewer stress hormones in their bodies. The great thing about using chocolate for stress management is that it offers you a positive chemical and emotional reaction. Most people enjoy the flavor of chocolate, so eating it is generally enjoyable. Foods for relieving stress are a natural way to handle challenging life moments. 

2. Leafy Greens 

Foods for relieving stress include leafy greens. If you decide to eat leafy greens to reduce stress, be sure to buy swiss chard, spinach or fresh kale. These leafy greens contain folate, which is a vitamin that helps your body generate dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin are feel-good chemicals. 

When you’re experiencing a high amount of stress continually, your brain will start to generate more stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. The brain will also produce less neurotransmitters that help with relaxation and create happy emotions. The good news is that eating more leafy greens can help your body reestablish its hormone levels. If you eat a salad with three cups of spinach, you’ll be ingesting almost half of the daily amount of folate that nutritionists recommend.  

3. Seeds 

Foods that reduce stress include seeds. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a nutrient that helps support your body’s cells. Omega-3 fatty acids also provide the support that your body needs to produce the type of hormones that manage inflammation. 

There is a connection between your gut and your brain. When your brain is busy planning the agenda for your next meeting, your gut’s brain, which is referred to as the enteric nervous system, or ENS, is managing and monitoring your digestion. To break down food, the ENS releases enzymes that control the blood flow that your body needs to absorb and eliminate nutrients. 

The ENS doesn’t think thoughts like your brain does, but it communicates with your brain. For instance, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or other kinds of bowel problems may experience intense emotional shifts that the ENS triggers. In the past, medical professionals thought that depression and anxiety caused gut problems, but it may be gut problems that are causing depression and anxiety. 

4. Black Tea

Drinking a mug of black tea can help people recover from stressful situations faster. One study comparing people who drank tea to those who didn’t found that the tea drinkers were calmer and had lower cortisol levels than those who didn’t. Holding a warm cup of tea can make you feel calm and relaxed. 

For even more stress relief, drink lavender or chamomile herbal tea. These herbs feature relaxing properties. If you need caffeine to remain focused, try drinking green tea. This type of tea supports brain health because it’s filled with flavonoids just like chocolate. 

5. Avocados 

Knowing which foods reduce stress will help you treat high tension situations naturally. Avocados are a great way to get the important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy. This includes vitamins like C, B6, E and K. Avocados also contain riboflavin, folate, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid and potassium. 

Avocados have been connected to an improvement in diet quality as well as a better intake of nutrients. They can even decrease your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a set of conditions like obesity and high blood pressure. 

6. Almonds 

Almonds are jam-packed with useful vitamins. For instance, they contain vitamin E, a nutrient that supports your immune system. Almonds also feature B vitamins, which work to make the human body hardier when it’s dealing with moments of stress or depression. To gain the most benefit from almonds, try to eat a quarter cup of them daily.  

What you choose to eat can make your body feel better or worse. If you develop unhealthy eating habits, then the food that you consume could heighten your stress levels. To keep your stress levels as low as possible, eat foods that reduce stress and anxiety. 

7. Raw Vegetables 

Foods that reduce stress include raw vegetables. Snacking on raw vegetables can decrease your stress in a mechanical way. When you chow down on a celery stick, slice of green pepper or carrot stick, then you can relieve the tension that develops when you clench your jaw. 

After adding raw veggies to your diet, you may be inspired to start exercising. It can be tough to remain active if you work inside an office during the day but prioritize it as much as possible. Even a short walk will decrease stress and improve your physical and emotional health.  

Food Can Help You with Stress 

By knowing which foods reduce stress, you’ll have more ways to manage the condition. If you need support or guidance, contact me today. I can help you deal with the excess stress in your personal life and at your job. 

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12 Ways To Reduce Stress

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12 Science-Backed Ways to Reduce Stress

Chronic stress is a health issue that cannot be ignored. Anxiety and stress raise health costs and lower productivity. At one point, people wore their overwork and late nights at the office as badges of honor. Today, managers are learning that workplaces with stressed-out employees will see more sick days and a decrease in the quality of work. Reducing stress is simply good business.

What is the stress response?

The stress response has kept humanity alive for thousands of years. When early human beings were facing dangerous animals, their bodies developed a response to prepare for action. In the fight or flight scenario, the brain responds at the first sign of a threat. The hypothalamus signals the adrenal glands to release a mix of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol.

As a result, several physiological events happen at once. Both the heart rate and breathing rate increase. Energy stored in fat enters the bloodstream as glucose. The volume of blood flowing to the arms and legs increases, and the flow to the digestive system decreases. The body is ready to take swift action.

This response is well-designed to handle an immediate threat. Once the danger has passed, everything should return to normal. Unfortunately, modern humans trigger the stress response repeatedly throughout the day. They deal with deadlines, unpaid bills and traffic jams as threats to their health and safety. 

Long-term stress is a dangerous health threat. While stress does not kill you, it promotes several conditions that will. Chronic stress has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Physical Activities to Reduce Stress

There is a growing body of knowledge about how to reduce stress in your daily life. Physical activity plays a major role in mitigating the effects of this chronic condition.

1. Active Exercise

In the stress response, the body prepares to take action. In the wake of a stressful event, physical exercise is one of the best remedies. A brisk walk will help you burn through the extra energy released by your body. As you walk, you will notice a transition from a stressed state to a calmer state.

2. Mindful Motion Exercises

Exercises like yoga and tai chi require you to focus on the individual parts of your body. Participating in these practices will help you grow in awareness of the way your body feels. You will begin to notice the signs of stress and learn how to relax the parts of your body carrying tension.

3. Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

If you are already dealing with health issues, stress and worry will make them worse. A healthy lifestyle will help you prepare for inevitable stressful situations. Getting the nutrients and hydration you need along with adequate sleep will energize you to face the days with challenging to-do lists.

Intentional Relaxation Practices

Learning to relax and recover from stress involves an intentional shift in the circuitry of the brain. The goal is to deactivate the stress response and activate the reward and motivational cycles. At a physiological level, this change means the release of dopamine and endorphins, hormones linked to happiness and contentment.

4. Deep Breathing Exercises

When the stress response activates, there is very little that you can control. While you may not be able to slow your heart rate, you can intentionally slow your breathing rate. Taking deep breaths that fill your chest tends to slow everything down. Practicing deep breathing exercises when you are not under stress will train you to respond calmly when things become tense.

5. Meditation and Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices teach you to watch the thoughts in your mind as a third-person observer. A meditation session can help slow racing or repetitive thought patterns to avoid triggering the stress response.

6. Visualization

Anxious feelings and worry can trigger the stress response as if there were a physical threat. Visualizing a calm place can reduce stress by replacing anxious thoughts with pleasant, peaceful memories.

Social Activities to Reduce Stress
People under stress tend to isolate themselves. By trying to handle the issue alone, they miss out on an important resource. Social interaction and support can prevent some of the mental side effects of stress like depression.

7. Talking about Stressors

If something is stressing you out at work, it is probably having a similar effect on others. Talking through the issue makes it seem more manageable. If several people have the same problem, a group conversation is an opportunity to seek a solution.

8. Making Time to Play

As children, playing is how we learn to make sense of the world. Adults still need opportunities to be creative, experimental and silly. Playing is more than blowing off steam. It creates connections and deepens trust.

Developing a Sense of Control at Work

People who are anxious and stressed often feel that their world is out of control. Finding small ways to establish control can go a long way in reducing stress levels.

9. An Organized Workspace

Entrepreneurs have different styles of organization. However you organize your work area, everything you need should be within reach, and unnecessary items should be out of sight. Organizing your workspace for tomorrow’s projects at the end of the day sets you up for a successful morning.

10. Single-Minded Focus

Multitasking is a myth. People do not work on several projects at the same time. Instead, they switch their attention between projects and lose focus in the process. Establishing designated times to work on a project with complete focus is a better strategy.

11. Reframe Challenges

People with an entrepreneurial mindset know that failure is part of the learning process. Developing a culture that sees failure as an opportunity will bring a greater sense of well-being to your employees. Stressful situations become challenges to overcome rather than fear.

12. Establish Clear Work and Home Boundaries

Smartphone technology makes it possible to receive work emails any time of the day or night. Cloud-based storage means employees can work on documents from any location. A healthy workplace makes a distinction between work hours and home hours. Many people find that leaving work in the workplace makes them more productive during their official office hours.

A Partner in Leadership

Every business leader needs to look at the atmosphere they are creating in the workplace. At the Productivity Intelligence Institute, my focus is helping entrepreneurs create healthy, productive businesses. If you are looking for creative ways to reduce stress, I would be happy to talk with you. 

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Coping with Stress

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When your job involves managing projects, planning events, and meeting impossible deadlines, you are under some degree of stress every day. Because of your success, others may not be aware of how stress is affecting you. However, stress may be evident in your home life, your job at the office, and your relationships with others. In this article, you will find ten ways to reduce stress tips.

What Is Stress and What Are the Symptoms?

When you’re under a lot of pressure and things become unmanageable, your body releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline to protect you and keep you safe. Stress will manifest as a physical response of fight or flight, rescuing you from a potentially dangerous situation. You might start to shake, sweat, breathe heavily, or have trouble breathing. Other stress symptoms include irritability, lack of concentration, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart problems, and physical and mental fatigue.

Recognizing When Stress Becomes Debilitating

Dealing with individuals with diverse backgrounds, completing complex assignments, and managing social expectations can make the workplace stressful for anyone. When the effects of stress are overwhelming, you can feel as if you can no longer cope or handle life’s pressures. Unaddressed compounded stress can keep you from functioning in your daily life, including the workplace.

Effects of Stress in the Workplace

When you experience anxiety at work, you might go to great lengths to hide your fears from others. It doesn’t matter if you’re in management or have a highly visible job assignment. You may give excuses for not attending office parties when the fact is that you become too anxious when around others socially. Stress can also cause you to refuse to travel for training opportunities, work on group projects, or accept a more responsible position.

Ways to Deal With Debilitating Stress

Experts suggest several ways to reduce stress activities and deal with debilitating stress.

1. Learn About Your Body

Understanding how your body reacts when you’re stressed can help you manage your anxiety. You will be able to recognize when you’re about to have a panic attack and take action to care for yourself.

2. Practice Good Time Management

Set mini-deadlines for yourself to be sure that you can complete the overall project on time.

3. Talk With a Trusted Friend

Knowing that someone cares about you, who won’t judge you but supports you unconditionally, can help reduce your work anxiety.

4. Stay Away From Toxic People

Toxic people can steal your time. Every workplace has its share of toxic employees who make it their duty to gossip and spread negativity in the workplace.

5. Expect the Unexpected

Whether you call it Murphy’s law or bad luck, things will happen that will compete with the time you are scheduled to work on an important project. Because you anticipated the unexpected, these things won’t derail your ability to complete the project.

6. Prioritize Your Assignments

Don’t be afraid to discuss conflicts with your superior: that you have more than one project with a deadline approaching, for example. Find out which one has the most priority, so you can put your efforts into completing that one first.

7. Learn to Set Boundaries

If all you do is focus on work and never recharge, you will quickly burn out. During your off time, don’t answer work emails or spend time working at home when you can be enjoying time with your family.

8. Take Care of Yourself

Maintaining good eating habits, exercising, and getting enough sleep are things you can do to stay in good health. When your body is healthy, it has a positive effect on your mind.

9. Seek Professional Help

Your health care professional can prescribe medication to help with anxiety, recommend therapy, or a combination of both. The American Disability Act protects employees who have a physical or mental disability from discrimination in the workplace.

10. Develop a Stress-Enhancing Mindset

According to a study conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University, some people see stress as an enhancement. They believe it facilitates their ability to learn and grow, perform better, and be more productive. Therefore, stress has a positive rather than negative effect on their health and vitality, and they thrive on it.

The impact of stress in your life depends upon your perception. The choice is up to you. You can see stress as debilitating or use it as a motivator to work at a high-performance level. Changing your mindset and practicing other stress-reducing activities will help keep the effects of stress from becoming debilitating.

Contact me today for more information on how to cope with debilitating stress.

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Common Causes of Stress

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Most people experience some form of stress every day. Although some stress is good, you must be mindful of the causes of stress and the negative effect stress can have on your life. Since it’s impossible to live an entirely stress-free life, the best thing you can do is learn how to recognize and manage the effects of stress.

This article discusses what stress is, what might cause it, and how it affects you. It also includes information about ways you can get help dealing with stress.

What Are the Causes of Stress?

Several things that occur in your life can create feelings of stress. When you’re always under pressure and constantly worrying about something, it produces anxiety. Sometimes, experiencing significant life changes can create a sense of helplessness. These feelings will especially exist if you feel stress about things that you have no control over.

New responsibilities such as a job promotion, a new home, or the birth of a child can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Most people welcome these events because they create happiness. However, even festive life events can bring significant lifestyle changes or cause unusual demands, creating an incredible amount of stress.

What causes stress for one person may not have any effect on the next person. However, there are some general situations that mental health experts agree are stressful for most people. Common examples of stress include problems with work, finances, and relationships with those close to you.

Relationships

When you have strained relationships with those close to you, it causes stress. Being around those people may produce feelings of discomfort and anxiety. When the person you’re not getting along with is a spouse, the pressure is more intense because of the relationship’s closeness.

Finances

Money is a primary stressor in a person’s life. Not having enough money to pay for life’s necessities can affect your sense of security and self-worth. The amount of money you earn also affects your ability to take care of your family. Facing the challenges of providing for yourself and your family when you don’t make enough money is exceptionally stressful.

Work

Working at a demanding job where there are not enough hours to get your work done is stressful. Having a supervisor who shows no empathy and has unrealistic expectations only adds to that stress. The work environment can become hostile and lead to chronic stress.

What Does Stress Cause?

Neuroscientists who study the nervous system and the brain now understand how chronic stress has a significant impact on a person’s health.

Stress triggers a fight-or-flight response, which gives you the ability to respond to danger quickly. This quick response is possible because under pressure, your body’s glucose levels, heart rate, and the amount of blood that flows to the muscles in your arms and legs increases. When the stressful event passes, your body returns to its normal state.

In addition to physical reactions, stress causes emotional and psychological effects. After a while, the number of stressful incidents and the length of time you remain under pressure can compound the impact. When you experience chronic stress, your body stays heightened continuously. Constant vigilance can lead to anxiety, depression, and many other health conditions.

When parents are stressed, it has an impact on the physical and mental health of their children. Symptoms of stress in young children can manifest as headaches, stomach aches, irritability, and being withdrawn. Because a child’s brain is still developing through adolescence and up until early adulthood, childhood trauma can be damaging. However, the child can recover from the trauma’s effects through the right treatment type because the damage is reversible.

How to Relieve Stress

There are many ways to reduce stress. You can learn to relax, take short breaks throughout the day, prioritize tasks, and manage your time better. To release tension at work and home, you can learn to communicate more effectively with co-workers and family.

Lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise and making healthy food choices, are other ways to decrease stress levels. You can also seek counseling from a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. These professionals will help you work through identifying and managing the stress in your life.

When chronic stress leads to anxiety or depression, you may need a medical doctor or psychiatrist to prescribe medication to relieve stress. Whatever the course of treatment, you should not be embarrassed about asking for help with managing stress. Regardless of how healthy you are, stress can impact your life.

For more information about how to deal with stress and remain productive, check out some other articles from the Leonard Productivity Institute.

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Stress Symptoms You Don’t Want to Ignore

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And What To Do About Them

How to Deal With the Physical Signs of Stress

Stress is part of everyone’s life. Every person has moments when they’re running late, missing a deadline, or staring at a stack of unpaid bills. Even sitting in a traffic jam can evoke your body’s stress response.

The Source of Stress Symptoms

Your body has an efficient way to respond to stressful situations. When your brain perceives a threat, it signals the release of several hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. In turn, these substances prepare your body for a physical response: heart rate and breath rate increase. Blood pressure rises. Less critical systems like your digestive tract slow down.

This type of preparation makes sense when you face a physical attacker, but it’s not always helpful when a work project is due. Triggering this response frequently during the day can cause stress symptoms like a lack of focus, trouble sleeping, and an upset stomach. Stress can also make you nervous. After a stressful event, you may feel tired and depressed. As Dr. Hans Selye, an important figure in stress theory, put it, “It’s not the stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it.”

The Need to Reduce Stress

High levels of stress can cause behaviors that you may not be able to explain. During stressful episodes, some people will start eating junk food that they would never normally consume. Even though they’re tired, they might sit watching television or online videos into the early hours. Allowing stress to control you is not a sustainable way to live. For this reason, I’ve looked for stress reduction techniques that will help maintain better physical and mental health for myself and others.

Stress and Breathing

When the pressure seems too much to bear, a deep breathing technique reduces stress that will slow your body down. Many physical responses to stress like heart rate and blood pressure are out of your direct control. Once the stress response kicks in, they happen automatically. However, if you’re mindful, you can control your breath rate. When I feel anxious, I like to take three deep breaths to slow things down and get my bearings.

A meditation practice when you’re not under pressure can prepare you to deal with high-stress situations. If you have practiced slowing your body and calming your mind, it will be easier to find your rhythm when you’re struggling.

How Does Exercise Reduce Stress?

Exercise is another stress-busting practice. The fight-or-flight response prepares your body for a physical reaction. Your blood sugar rises as your body releases some of the energy stored in fat cells. Going for a brisk walk, jog, or any physical activity will help your body return to balance.

It’s not always practical to leave the office during a stressful time. However, there are plenty of options you can do indoors. If you can find a private space, put in your earbuds and dance for five minutes. Drop to the floor and do 20 pushups. Burning off some of your excess energy can restore you to a calmer place.

Foods That Reduce Stress

When most people think about stress-eating, they imagine unhealthy foods. The stress response converts the simple sugars in your bloodstream into energy for your muscles. For this reason, many people find themselves craving sweet foods after a stressful event. The pattern of experiencing stress followed by consuming unhealthy carbs can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. Keeping some whole-grain carbohydrates like a healthy granola bar or a piece of dark chocolate nearby will give you better options.

Another healthy choice for dealing with stress is drinking a cup of herbal tea. Peppermint and chamomile teas are popular choices for a relaxing brew. It’s not just the flavor and smell that are calming. Preparing and drinking hot tea makes you slow down and enjoy the moment.

Creating a Culture of Calm

High-stress work culture may show some short-term results. However, over time, it leads to burnout, high turnover, and a loss of productivity. You can improve your workplace by modeling positive behaviors. Opening time and space for recovery from high-stress events will also improve your culture.

One way to reduce stress in your workplace is organization. A poorly-designed workflow creates a stressful situation. When people clearly understand their roles and know your expectations, they’ll feel a greater sense of control over their work.

Navigating a Stress-Filled World

Stress is not all bad. Too little stress can be just as detrimental to productivity as too much. You want to find a balance where you’re challenged enough to be engaged but not so much that you’re overwhelmed. My goal as a coach at the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute is to give you the tools you need to navigate a stress-filled world successfully.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Reducing Stress

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A Beginner’s Guide to Reducing Stress

The more responsibilities you have, the more stress builds up. If you want to improve workplace culture and be an effective leader, you’ll need to learn how to manage stress and handle tasks without buckling under the pressure.

By managing stress effectively, you’ll become more productive and meet your goals with less friction along the way. Here are my top seven tips to reduce stress.

1. Uncover the true nature of stress

“Calmness is the cradle of power.” – Josiah Gilbert Holland

As you learn how to reduce stress in life, you’ll get better at clearly identifying your problems. According to the Free Medical Dictionary, pressure is a normal response to anything that disrupts your body’s natural physical, emotional, or mental balance.

Any time you’re placed outside of your comfort zone, stress will naturally occur. As we strive and grow, however, it’s often important to face uncomfortable situations. Learning to manage stress will empower you to go outside of your comfort zone without getting overwhelmed.

2. Use productivity techniques to take care of your responsibilities more efficiently

Reducing stress offers benefits that go far beyond improvements to your state of mind. If you learn how to handle stress properly, you’ll also be able to take care of more responsibilities without becoming overwhelmed. Here are a few simple techniques you can use to reduce stress while improving productivity:

• Work outside by taking your calls during a walk or inviting clients to your favorite golf course.
• Plan out tomorrow’s schedule before you go to bed tonight.
• Make time to hit the gym before or after work.
• Break up the day with hands-on tasks that don’t tax your mind.
• Remove clutter from your workspace.

3. Harness the power of meditation to reduce stress naturally

The latest neuroscience research confirms that meditation can reduce stress and promote mental clarity. This includes traditional meditation practices and informal mindfulness, which involves being more attentive and engaged during activities. According to the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, a 2014 scientific review found that meditation leads to “reduced anxiety, depression, stress, pain and improved quality of life.”

4. Identify the early signs of stress

Stress becomes less manageable; the longer you let it run your life. Notice signs of stress as soon as they appear, it will be easier to take proactive measures that get your mind back on the right track. Common symptoms of stress include:

• Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
• Depression, anxiety, or moodiness
• Aching muscles, gastrointestinal distress, or loss of libido
• Overeating or not eating enough
• Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough

5. Take notes from relevant case studies

It’s good to consider some success stories when developing stress-reducing strategies. Do you know any professionals who always seem levelheaded and in control? If you can, ask them about their methods. Chances are that they, too, must deal with stress regularly. However, successful individuals often develop excellent mental resilience.

For many people, increasing mental resilience often involves facing fears, becoming more open to failure, and not focusing so much on always being right. However, it’s also wise to create consistent routines and stick to them. Try to make more room for gratitude and curiosity in your life while also striving to find the positive side of experiences.

6. Understand that you’re not alone

Statistics show that stress is remarkably prevalent in contemporary workplaces. According to a 2017 Statista survey, 62% of adults under 30 experience stress daily, and 55% of adults between the ages of 30 and 59 also reported that they commonly suffer from stress.

Just because stress is common doesn’t mean you have to stick with the herd. With proper coaching, you can rise above the norm and enjoy reducing stress benefits.

7. Follow a step-by-step process

Overcoming stress involves a systematic series of steps. Start incorporating the following techniques to begin the process of kicking stress out of your life:

• Reduce or eliminate using alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
• Exercise and sleep more.
• Take control of your life by learning to say “no.”

Start busting stress to succeed today

In my work with the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, I’ve worked with many clients who have problems with stress. I know that learning how to relieve stress is only half the battle. You’ll need to put stress-reducing principles into practice to experience the benefits of a more relaxed lifestyle. Reach out to me today to learn more about how my coaching services could help you improve productivity. Every day that your stress keeps you down is another day you haven’t used to its full potential.

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Reduce Stress

Stressed? Here Are Some Ways to Reduce It

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“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” 
– Ovid 

According to Google, stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” The American Institute of Stress had this to say about stress: “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away from the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.” According to this institute, 61% of stress was work-related in 2017. I’m sure that percentage has increased since then. I’ve been doing some research so in this article, we’ll discuss some ways that we can reduce stress whether at work or at home. 

Based on what I’ve seen, there are three main steps to reducing stress. The first step is decreasing food and drink consumption, especially sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. All three of these things add to stress. Having a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help. 

The next step to reducing stress is getting physical activity. Exercising, taking walks, yoga, and aerobics are all great ways to release dopamine into your system. It is said that regular exercise brings about more restful sleep and more restful sleep also helps reduce stress. Try doing some physical activity for at least twenty minutes each day.  

The last step to reducing stress is trying relaxation techniques. I do Brain Gyms – brain exercises that rewire you neurologically – and I find that extremely helpful. Practicing grounding techniques are also a great way to reduce stress. An easy relaxation technique is to sit up straight with your feet planted firmly on the ground and your hands on your legs. Simply sit there and become aware of your breathing and your body. I guarantee you it will help. 

Which step resonated with you? I hope you find peace whatever you do.