When the world stops, and your health, finances, and relationships are suddenly at risk, the stress can feel like it’s too much to handle. What can you do to keep negativity, sadness, anxiousness, and stress under control? Here are 6 strategies on how to be less stressed and feel happier.
How to Be Less Stressed & Feel Happier Each Day
1. Plan for things to go wrong.
If you’re the kind of person who expects everything to go perfectly all the time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and aggravation. When you train yourself to expect a few snafus, you’ll find that you won’t get as upset. Especially in situations where things are out of your control—like when the grocery store is out of toilet paper again!—planning for a few every day “fails” can keep you from falling into a funk.
2. Repeat positive mantras.
Letting negative thoughts run wild in your head can create a tornado of stress, worry, and sadness. Directing your thinking to reaffirming mantras can help change your mental state. Repeat some soothing mantras that promote positive feelings, such as:
I know we’ll get through this.
I am confident that better days are coming,
I am staying focused on what I can control.
I think having more family time is a blessing.
I know the pandemic can’t kill kindness.
3. Live in the present and plan for a better future.
People who dwell in the past with regret tend to experience sadness and negativity. Those who anticipate the future with fear are wracked with worries. Practicing mental discipline to stay in the present can help keep your mind from spinning out of control. In a pandemic, think about the things you can do to protect your health—washing your hands, wearing a mask outside, wearing gloves at the grocery store—and feel good about your efforts.
In addition, think of ways your life is going to change for the better from this experience and write it down. Seek out strategies to help prepare for post-pandemic growth. For inspiration, check out these episodes of the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, hosted by Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen:
- How to Discover Your Purpose and How to Use Your Unique Value to Bring Money & Success with guest Lisa Sasevich, a business and sales expert.
- How to Create Energy to Help Transform Your Life with Julianne Hough from Dancing With the Stars
- How You Can Use Your Pain to Your Advantage with Dr. Derwin Gray, a former NFL player turned pastor and author.
4. Get moving.
Decades of research point to the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. A 2019 cross-sectional study in Mental Health and Physical Activity found that getting some physical activity reduces the odds of experiencing depression in adolescence and anxiety in childhood and adolescence. And a prospective cohort study in a 2020 issue of The Lancet Psychiatry suggests that replacing sedentary behavior with light activity during adolescence could reduce the risk of depression. If you can’t get outside due to the pandemic, try dancing to your favorite tunes, do some jumping jacks, or walk laps inside your home. Any movement counts.
5. Eat right to think right.
If you’re stuffing yourself with quarantine comfort foods like cookies, ice cream, and pizza, and taking part in Zoom happy hours, you’re increasing the likelihood of experiencing anxiousness, negativity, and worry. To help your brain handle the stress that’s surrounding us, you need to fuel it with great nutrition. Here are 3 of the most important eating strategies to help reduce stress, worry, and bad moods.
- Eat small amounts of high-quality protein at every meal to help balance blood sugar as research in Case Reports in Psychiatry shows that blood sugar highs and lows are linked to anxiety and depression as well as to irritability and anger.
- Include foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids—such as salmon, avocado, and walnuts—which a 2018 review in Frontiers in Physiology suggested may help reduce anxiousness and negative mood. [I’m adjusting these disease comments since BrainMD sells omega-3s]
- Stay hydrated with 8-10 glasses of total fluids per day since research in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills shows that being even mildly dehydrated can make you feel more tense, depressed, confused, fatigued, or angry.
6. Supplement your diet with a dose of happiness.
Among the most well-studied nutraceutical ingredients for mood, anxiety, and stress are:
- Saffron: A 2018 review or 7 studies in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that saffron was more effective than a placebo for mood problems. [Not allowed to compare efficacies of supplements against drugs] In randomized parallel trials, 30 mg per day of standardized saffron extracts were consistently helpful for mood problems. Other studies suggest standardized saffron extracts can improve anxiousness.
- Curcumin: Studies have found that curcumin—not as turmeric root but as Longvida, a highly concentrated curcumin extract from turmeric, proven to be more efficiently absorbed—helps with mood challenges.
- Zinc: A review of existing studies suggests potential benefits of zinc supplementation—either when used by itself or when added into a personalized program for mood improvement.
BrainMD’s Happy Saffron Plus combines all 3 of these potent nutraceutical ingredients to improve mood and help cope with anxious and stressful feelings. When you’re flooded with stress, it’s one of the tools you should have in your stress-relief kit.
The following content was originally presented during a special Facebook Live event by Dr. Daniel Amen. Click here to view the full video.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
- How to Be Less Stressed & Feel Happier Each Day - May 22, 2020
- 7 Ways to Help Your Kids Thrive While Staying at Home - April 17, 2020
- How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System During a Pandemic - April 17, 2020