As hard as we might try, reducing stress in our lives can be very challenging.
Surprisingly, small amounts of stress can actually be good for us. It can give us energy and motivation, and help us adapt to change.
It doesn't take much, however, to tip the stress scale from good stress into bad stress. And too much bad stress can lead to a lot of serious problems.
Some of the physical effects of stress include headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. It's no wonder stress can be so bad for us. It's to see how these issues can lead to even more health problems if left unchecked. Even though it isn't ideal, often stress is unavoidable.
Everyone experiences ups and downs in life. Even positive changes, like getting married or buying a home, can still contribute to stress levels. But it isn't all bad news. Science has recently shown that there's a lot you can do to lower your stress levels naturally.
One of the biggest mood-boosters is also one of the simplest: regular exercise.
Yoga, a slow-moving exercise routine, is a great stress reliever, for example.
If yoga isn't for you, there are many other physical activities that may suit your tastes better. You should aim for at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week. Outdoor exercise is also recommended for stress relief.
Research has shown that meditation can help reduce stress levels. Not only can it help relieve stress, but it can also improve cognitive function.
Doing activities that you find enjoyable and relaxing can go a long way towards lowering your stress. Hobbies, time with family and friends, arts and crafts, time with pets, or any other activity you enjoy works just fine.
Probiotics and Stress
Taking a probiotic, such as BlueBiotics Ultimate Care, may be a natural way to de-stress, boost your mood, and recover more quickly from sadness.
One study involving about 40 young men and women who had no history of mental health disorders found that when they were taking a probiotic they had less overall minutes of depressed feelings and spent less time dwelling on sad thoughts compared to a group who took a placebo.
How do Probiotics Help You De-Stress?
While it's well-known among probiotic enthusiasts that your daily dose of friendly bacteria is great for stress reduction, we wanted to know why these results were showing up, and turned to the experts for their theories.
Research in the field of probiotics and mental health has been expanding rapidly, and although most research is only in the beginning stages, it's clear this is a field worth keeping an eye on.
Lowering the Stress Hormone
Cortisol, A.K.A "the stress hormone" is one of the major contributing factors to the physical symptoms of stress.
In one scientific study, people who took probiotics before bed woke up with less cortisol in their saliva than the study's control group, suggesting that probiotics play a role in lowering the hormone.
Probiotics have become widely studied for reducing inflammation.
Inflammation is another major physical symptom of stress. Many experts believe that managing inflammation is the key to managing chronic stress, and probiotics may play an important role in that. Inflammation is our body's healing response, but if it's too much or lasts too long, it can cause more harm than good.
Connecting the Gut-Brain Axis
Experts are also studying to learn more about the gut-brain axis and how it might contribute to low moods, stress, and anxiety.
Several studies have linked probiotic use to an increase in overall positive mood and energy, as well as showing some probiotics may be useful when battling a mental illness.
While more studies are needed to confirm these connections, it's a very promising field that excites scientists all over the world.
Putting it All Together
If you find yourself feeling more stressed than usual, it's not something you want to ignore. Take a yoga class, participate in activities you find relaxing, and consider doing breathing exercises or meditation.
Of course, if your feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness last for longer than two weeks or cause discomfort, it's very important to schedule a meeting with your doctor.
In the meantime, a little yoga and a probiotic may be just the pick-me-up you need.