Menu Close

Ease Your Stress by Eating Differently

man prepares foods

No one is free from stress, there is no way to rid yourself of it entirely. Some know how to deal with it better than others but the best thing we can do is work to manage in a way that works for us. Eliminating stress where you can is helpful for anyone and essential for those in recovery. There are many different things you can try. Nutritionist Christine Bailey for Wellness Journal magazine explains that “your diet can stop stress from taking over.”

Distress vs. Eustress

Not all stress is negative, or at least not all reactions we have to it are. This is a statement that many people may be surprised by. Most of us are aware of negative stress, or distress. Distress can weigh us down and even cause us to go into “fight or flight” mode. We might struggle to complete our tasks when we are dealing with distress. Bad stress can even take a toll on our physical health if we are dealing with it on a daily basis. On the other hand, eustress is a positive reaction to certain stressors. It’s what keeps us motivated and moving forward throughout the day. Eustress can give us the drive we need to keep pushing when we are getting tired and feel like we want to quit. Eustress is motivation. 

Cut out the Cravings

Often when we deal with distress, many of us reach for our favorite snack food to squelch the cravings we feel when we are stressed out. That candy bar or bag of chips may satisfy us in the moment, but it doesn’t help our long-term success. Reaching for unhealthy foods as a short-term fix can lead to unwanted weight gain, irritability, fatigue, and can lead to other health conditions. When we are stressed over long periods of time, our bodies take the toll. Our immune system becomes weakened and we are susceptible to getting sick. Our mental health is also impacted by stress, explains Bailey. “Cortisol disrupts neurotransmitters (chemicals that affect how we think and feel), including serotonin and GABA (which helps keep us calm), making us more prone to low mood and depression.”

Eat Healthy, Eat Happy

“So, we’re feeling it: we’ve got tummy troubles, we’re craving chocolate, sex couldn’t be farther from our thoughts and we have a constant stream of anxious thoughts running through our brain,” says Bailey. “What can we do about stress and its adverse effects?”

  1. Identify. Avoiding all stress isn’t possible. We don’t really want to avoid all stress anyways — remember eustress? We can, however, make little changes that help us to feel less distress. Once you’ve identified what is causing you distress, you can make time for yourself that will give you time to breathe and the option to take action to avoid it.
  2. Take a break. This can be time to relax, exercise, or communicate with friends. You must actively look for time in your schedule to give you pockets of time to do things for yourself. This is necessary.
  3. Sleep. A regular and reasonable amount of sleep is often overlooked when we are dealing with large amounts of stress. Sleep can help revive us. Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Turn off the electronics before bed and allow yourself time to drift off to sleep. 

Ease Your Stress

Here are a few foods Bailey says that can help ease your stress when you eat them:

  • B vitamins
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Minerals like magnesium
  • Green tea
  • Oily fish
  • Probiotics
  • Herbs

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you ease the distress you’re feeling. Call our trained staff today to learn more about the programs we offer. You can reach us at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to hear from you!