Having a more peaceful life means you are able to handle the stressors we dealt with every day. It’s a lot easier said than done, though. Being able to stay calm and make healthier choices are super important but can be very challenging in stressful times. By practicing healthier choices today, you will be ready for anything that may come tomorrow, or in the future.
One healthy choice to consider is the food you eat. Do you ever think about the fact that, if you ate differently, you might be better able to handle the stress in your life? Handling your stress better will natuarally lead to a more peaceful life. Numerous articles are telling us now that how we deal with stress and the food we eat are intertwined. Try doing a web search for stress and eating. The search I did showed 791,000,000 results! That has to mean something.
A common reaction
Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t eat a thing, I’m so stressed right now?” Or how about, “I’m so stressed out, I can’t stop eating. Pass me the chocolate?” These are both common responses when people don’t know how to handle stress in a healthy way and try to use food to control it.
When you’re stressed out you’re more likely to either over-eat or under eat. Most people don’t understand that when you do either of these things you are negatively impacting your blood glucose levels and your moods may swing violently, which will only create conflict and intensify your stress. Unfortunately, most of us don’t even realize we are actually sabotaging ourselves with food. This behavior is taking us farther and farther away for the peaceful life we desire.
Food can help your stress level
Using food in an unhealthy way is not the solution to overcoming your stress, but if you develop healthy food habits, it actually can help. When you eat nutritious foods you are giving your body what it needs to deal with your daily demands. In other words, when you eat the proper foods you are giving your body the fuel it needs to make it through common stressful situations.
The reverse of this is also true. When you predominantly eat sugars and fats in your diet, your body doesn’t have all of the nutrients and energy supplies needed to deal with stress, so instead, you’re more likely to feel grouchy, tired, or anxious.
Aim for healthy eating eighty to ninety percent of the time (it’s okay to do the occasional birthday party or pizza night). Eat healthy whole foods, use organic if possible. Healthy foods can be delicious. Find yourself a great cookbook, get cookware you like, and be creative. Be sure to avoid sugars, refined flours, and processed foods. Read the labels on the packages and if you don’t recognize the ingredients or can’t pronounce them, put the package back on the shelf. Don’t even bring it into your house. It is extra work at first, but so worth it. You will feel better and have the fuel you need.
Your immune system
Our immune system is one of the most important things we have. Not being able to safely handle stress can negatively affect your immune system. According to an article in Simply Psychology titled “Stress, Illness and the Immune System” by Saul McLeod, “When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system (e.g. lowers the number of lymphocytes).”
Sugars and processed foods have a distinctly negative effect, while the right foods can help support your immune system. Time and time again, studies have proven that stress makes our immune system weaker, leaving us exposed to dangerous viruses, bacteria, and illnesses. Many articles have been written and many studies show that when you eat the right foods you’re helping your body build and maintain a healthy immune system. The key here is simple: Eat right, stay healthy, feel great, have more peace!
Take care of you brain
When you look at all of the ways that stress and diet are interwoven, it’s hard to deny the fact that the foods you eat affect how you think, feel, and react. After all, an unhealthy diet not only stresses your body, but your mind as well.
Your brain is affected by everything we put in and on our body. If you want a healthier brain, feed it cleaner foods. Avoid added chemicals in your food, as well as those in your health and beauty products. A good starting point is to evaluate your daily diet and the products you are using. Make one change at a time to create that peaceful lifestyle you deserve.
Remember these other important tools
A healthy and balanced diet can help you manage stress much more effectively, but simply eating right is not enough to help you find that more peaceful life. There are many different things you can do such as:
Getting enough (7-8) hours of restful sleep at night
Making time in your schedule for self care
Having a healthy support system
Knowing your limits, setting boundaries as needed
Proactively planning and organizing your schedule to allow for emergencies
These are just a few solutions that, in addition to healthy eating, will help you limit and control the way you handle stress in your life. We’ll talk about each of these more at another time – stay tuned.
When you incorporate even just a few of these healthy eating and life strategies into your life, you’ll find that overwhelming stress goes down to a manageable level. The more you do, the better you will feel until one day you realize being over the top stressed is a thing of the past for you. You find you are better prepared to handle whatever comes along by continuing to make healthier choices.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.