Being Happy in Stressful Times

Jeremy James: DC, CSCS

With everything going on these days, many of us are finding it difficult to deal with stress. I personally have struggled with stress management in the past, especially regarding things I cannot control such as those in the daily news, world events, etc. Here are a few simple tips to find balance in your life and be happier and less stressed:

  • Improved Sleep: Don’t watch or read the news for several hours before bed. This can cause heightened anxiety, leading to more difficulty getting to sleep. This includes Facebook. Put the phones, computers, and tablets away for at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by these display screens is a spectrum of light that keeps the brain awake. Multiple studies show that people that read on devices which emit blue light sleep less well than those that read traditional paper books. If you wake up in the middle of the night and want to read, pick up a paper book or magazine instead of your smartphone or tablet.
  • Exercise: Get regular exercise during the day. Simple. Try to get some exercise most days of the week.
  • Improved Nutrition: As mentioned in my previous blog, nutrition plays a role in the stress response. Try to eat “real” foods. This means foods that don’t come out of a package. Snack on nuts and fruits instead of chips, power bars, and cookies. Eat lots of different colors everyday – reds, oranges, greens, purples, etc. I find that this is the easiest way to make sure you get plenty of nutrients in your diet.
  • Improved Relationships: Studies show that people who interact with those they care about more regularly are happier. Who would have thought? Finding a balance between work and real life is one of the hardest things for Americans to do. It’s so important. Make some extra time for your loved ones every day.
  • Meditate: Meditation is exercise for your brain. Just like exercise, you must do it regularly for it to have the desired benefits. Regular meditation has multiple health benefits.

I don’t claim to be anywhere near perfect in managing my stress, but I try to do each of these things as much as I can. I need the reminders too, and writing this all down helps me as well. Try one this week and another next week. Good luck!