Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Stress Checklist
(see doctoroz.com for more great health information)
Avoid Stress Eating
In times of stress, the brain demands more calories. Stress eating has also been tied to excess belly fat, which is caused by increased cortisol production.
Fight stress by avoiding processed foods containing white flour and refined sugars. They spike insulin and stress hormone levels. Reach for these stress-busting foods instead.
Whole grain cereals provide sustained energy release. Eat 1 cup of steel-cut oats per day.
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids prevent stress hormones from surging. Eat fish like salmon twice a week.
- Pistachios contain plant sterols, proven to lower blood pressure, and magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels. Eat 3-ounce handfuls a few times per week.
Practice Mindful Eating
Several times throughout the day, especially before meals, determine whether you’re actually hungry or stressed out:
- Rate your stress level.
- Label what you’re feeling.
- Rate your hunger level.
Ask yourself: Do I need calories now? Or am I feeling sad, lonely, bored or stressed? How can I meet this need? By separating emotions from hunger, you’ll better control your stress level and your appetite.
Vitamins B and C
Research shows that taking 50 mg of vitamin B and 1000 mg of vitamin C in times of stress, or for a couple days thereafter, can help regulate mood.
Exercise: Walking Stairs
Exercise releases serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good hormones that become blocked during stress. Walking stairs is a great workout. One study showed that walking stairs 7 minutes a day reduces the risk of heart disease by two-thirds.
Alternative Treatments: Acupressure and Aromatherapy
These age-old treatments trigger stress-reducing chemicals in the brain.
- Locate the acupressure point on your hand, the thenar branch of the median nerve located between your thumb and index finger. Massage for 5 minutes to lower cortisol levels and release the stress-reducing hormone oxtyocin.
- Practice aromatherapy with lavender oil, proven to reduce anxiety and aid sleep. In a spray bottle, mix 10 drops of lavender oil with 2 cups of water. Spray around the house and on your pillow at night.
Know Your Stress Triggers
Figure out which situations cause your stress. Can you change the situation? If not, focus on controlling your response:
- Avoid rehashing past events or projecting yourself into the future. This “time-travelling” puts the brain in a stressed state.
- Stressful situations can lower self-esteem, perhaps causing you to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Remind yourself that thoughts are just thoughts, not facts.