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Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Stress Relief

Feeling Stressed? Add these Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Stress Relief!

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Updated May 14, 2011

We all experience stress. And, just as stress comes from many areas of life, effective stress management comes from combating stress on many different fronts.

Part of a comprehensive stress relief plan involves finding ways to calm down quickly so you can more effectively manage stress as it comes, while avoiding the negative effects of chronic stress. Another important way to relieve stress is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle is important for several reasons:

  1. Healthy lifestyle habits can also help you reverse your stress response, enabling you to avoid or even reverse the negative effects of chronic stress.

  2. Healthy lifestyle habits often bring additional benefits, such as an endorphin rush, a release of frustration, or added longevity.

  3. Many of the healthy lifestyle habits discussed here can also help you to become less reactive to stress in the long run, providing protection against stress you haven't even experienced yet!

While maintaining healthy habits is a bit more challenging than trying a stress relief method only once, the benefits you receive from maintaining a healthy lifestyle are more than worth the effort it takes to maintain it. The increases in health and wellness that you experience, and the reduction in stress, will make you wish you'd made these changes sooner, and can be wonderful sources of continued motivation.

Many people feel intimidated by making healthy lifestyle changes for a few reasons:

  1. There are so many changes that can benefit health and wellness that it's difficult to know where to start.
  2. People often try to make too many changes at once, then find it too difficult (or let perfectionism sabotage their efforts), and give up the effort.

  3. Let's face it: change is difficult, especially when you're stressed. Sometimes lifestyle stress takes over and diminishes momentum.

Given that living a healthy lifestyle can help with stress relief, and that making healthy lifestyle changes can be challenging, the following resources can help you with both choosing new goals for healthy living, and making these new goals a reality, and adopting new healthy habits into your lifestyle.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

The following are some changes you can make to lead a healthier, less stressed lifestyle.
  • Healthy Eating
    One of the most popular changes people like to make to live a healthy lifestyle is to eat differently. Because of the negative health consequences of obesity, the influence fitness has on our self-esteem, and the effects of nutrition on our stress levels and longevity, switching to a healthier diet brings some of the greatest benefits for wellness. Read about stress and weight gain, the interaction between stress and nutrition or the role of stress in emotional eating.

  • Regular Exercise
    Getting regular exercise is another wonderful way to keep your weight in check, manage overall stress levels, and stay connected with others. Exercise can also help keep many health conditions at bay, and is well worth the effort. (The trick is to start gradually and work your way up.) Learn more about exercise for stress relief, and find exercise tips for busy people.

  • Quality Sleep
    People often underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep, and getting the right type. However, lack of adequate sleep has many negative consequences--they're subtle, but significant. Getting enough sleep isn't one of the most popular changes that people resolve to make, but it should be. Because stress can rob you of sleep, and because many of the techniques that promote sleep can also reduce stress (and vice versa), it's a very good idea to learn more about how stress affects sleep and how to get quality sleep when stressed.

These are the most popular changes to make, and the ones that, in my opinion, bring the best results. However, there are other changes you can make to reduce lifestyle stress as well, which also bring additional benefits. Read this for more ideas on building a low-stress lifestyle.

If you want more support on making healthy lifestyle changes, see this article on maintaining healthy changes, or take this free, 5-day e-course on making lasting changes.

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