I'm a nutritional therapist – here are the 7 ways you can reduce stress in 24 hours | The Sun

WE can all feel stressed from time to time, and that's completely normal.

But if you're feeling more on edge than usual, it might be time to look at the factors in your life that are leaving you to feel out of sorts.

The NHS states that stress can cause many different symptoms, affecting your behavior.

It's not always easy to recognise when stress is the reason you're feeling or acting differently.

You might experience physical and mental symptoms, which can often be hard to manage.

But one expert has said you can beat these feelings in just 24 hours if you take some simple steps.

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1. Eat right

Speaking to Sun Health, nutritional therapist Hannah Braye said skipping meals and craving sugary foods and refined carbs is common when we are stressed.

Hannah, who is the in-house expert at Bio-Kult, said this can send our blood glucose on a crazy rollercoaster of peaks and troughs, which in turn, makes us more stressed.

"Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks and eating regular meals, containing complex carbohydrates and good quality protein each time you eat, is therefore one of the best things you can do to see yourself through a stressful period," she said.

2. Exercise

Despite feeling tired, many highly stressed people tend to exercise intensively as a form of stress relief, Hannah said.

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However, over-exercising in times of high stress can do more harm than good, she warned.

"Physical exercise is yet another stress on the body and activates exactly the same physiological responses as psychological stress.

"Gentle exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, and yoga is much more beneficial during stressful periods," the expert said.

3. Look after your gut

Stress, along with late nights, drinking alcohol and eating high sugar foods have all been shown to have a detrimental effect on the gut flora, Hannah explained.

Therefore supplementing your diet with live bacteria can help to restore the balance of the gut flora and improve immune function, she added.

4. Switch off

When stressed and worried it can be difficult to switch off these thoughts.

Whilst life can be busy, it’s important to set aside 10 minutes each day to breathe deeply and focus on quietening the mind, Hannah advised.

"Try going for a walk around the park on your lunch break, downloading an app which offers short guided mindfulness meditations, going to a yoga class or simply doing some sun salutations when you wake up in the morning," she said.

5. Increase fruit and veg

Hannah said that when our bodies are stressed, they have an increased requirement for certain nutrients.

"These include the B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Therefore, it’s important that we get more of these through our diet.

"Eating a rainbow of brightly colour fruit and vegetables is the best way to do this. Especially important are leafy green vegetables, so make sure you include at least 1-2 portions every day," she said.

6. Unwind naturally

In our quest to unwind, stress can leave us feeling exhausted, Hannah said.

However, reaching for stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol is a bad idea, the expert said.

"Caffeine can amplify cortisol production, even hours after drinking it and alcohol and other drugs can affect our mood by interfering with our neurotransmitters and reducing absorption of important nutrients (which we need more of in times of stress)," Hannah added.

7. Sleep well

When we are tired, our coping mechanisms are reduced, making already stressful situations 10 times worse, Hannah said.

"However, when we have had a good night’s sleep, we have improved memory and concentration, we are better able to make decisions and less likely to lose our temper.

"Ideally phone, computer and TV screens should be avoided for at least an hour before bed, and apps which filter blue light can be used to reduce exposure at other times of day.

"Don’t eat too late and get into a routine which includes a regular bedtime and some time to relax, such as reading a book or taking an Epsom salt bath," Hannah added.

If you feel like your stress is out of control, then it's important to seek medical advice.

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The NHS advises that you try talking to your friends and family about how you're feeling.

You could also contact Samaritans, call: 116 123 or email: [email protected] if you need someone to talk to.

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