When you're juggling the multiple responsibilities of work and home, being frazzled can start to feel normal. Many people have never learned healthy ways of dealing with stress, instead turning to alcohol or nicotine. And although stress starts in the mind -- you might be worried about a parent's health or dealing with a demanding boss -- its results can be decidedly physical. The result: Your adrenal glands keep releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which impair mitochondrial function. So you eat more, sleep less, and burn less fat, setting yourself up for low energy.
It's nearly impossible to eliminate stress, so your goal should be to manage it. Yet for most of us, following the recommendation to "stress less" isn't as simple as it sounds. There's no shortage of relaxation techniques to choose from: Stress-soothing options include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, qigong or other physical activities, guided imagery or visualization, creative approaches like drawing or journaling, frequent saunas or massages, and even sex. The key is discovering what works for you and doing it regularly. Diet can also have surprisingly powerful effects on your stress levels. Fluctuations in blood-sugar levels caused by refined sugars and carbohydrates can actually create stress in your body, while the nutrients in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts help reduce it.
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