How to reduce stress (and feel healthier)

How to reduce stress (and feel healthier)

8 min read


28 Feb 2023

Things you’ll learn in this blog

  1. What is stress?
  2. Can stress affect your weight?
  3. 5 ways to reduce stress?

Learning effective ways to stop yourself from feeling stressed can help you thrive and get you feeling like yourself again. We've got you covered if you want stress management and stress relief techniques.

Stress can directly impact your physical and mental health, ultimately leading to changes in your physique. Being stressed can throw you off your overall health ideal and delay your achieving your fitness goals.

Maybe you’ve noticed that you’re struggling to lose or gain weight, you’re finding it hard to concentrate and stay focused, or you just feel overwhelmed - this can indicate that you are stressed. 

But what actually is stress?

What is stress?

The first thing to note is that stress is a perfectly natural human response. 

Stress can be any change that causes physical, emotional or psychological tension and overwhelm. 

External events can trigger stress, from small daily tasks to drastic changes like losing a loved one or getting fired. Essentially, any change that requires attention or action, which can be challenging or demanding, can cause stress.

While everyone experiences stress to some capacity, how your mind and body respond to stress can vary and have different levels of severity.

An acute level of stress can be beneficial, enabling people to protect themselves from danger, but too much stress can overwhelm your mind and body, causing you to go into a fight, flight or freeze response.

People often put stress in the same category as mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, it’s important to understand the differences between each diagnosis, as some require treatment from medical professionals, and others don’t. 

That is not to undermine stress's impact on a person; it should be taken just as seriously. Stress can directly impact your mind, body and overall well-being.

It’s important to note that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, and a coping mechanism that works for one person may not work for another. 

Discovering what works to relieve your stress can sometimes be a daunting challenge, but staying open to trying different things may bring about different outcomes.

Engaging in self-care activities, practising mindfulness and eating healthily are among the popular ways you can help relieve and alleviate your stress. It’s important to explore and see what works for you on this journey.

If you’ve felt stressed and you are looking for healthy ways to relieve stress, we have a list of techniques below that can assist you.

Can Stress Affect your Weight?

Stress can lead to the release of hormones that can cause your weight to fluctuate. When you’re stressed, it’s also easier to fall into behaviors and habits that cause you to lose weight or gain weight.

An essential hormone that plays a massive role in this is Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone”. The cortisol hormone affects nearly every organ and tissue in your body. 

Cortisol regulates your body’s stress response and in turn, can affect how your organ system operates.

Your body continuously monitors your cortisol levels, aiming to maintain and regulate steady levels (homeostasis).

Cortisol is responsible for:

  • Regulating your body’s stress response
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Helping manage your body’s use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
  • Minimising inflammation
  • Helping to manage your sleep-wake cycle

Higher-than-normal or lower-than-normal cortisol levels can harm your health and directly impact your physique.

Symptoms of lower-than-normal cortisol levels include:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Strained appetite

Symptoms of higher-than-normal cortisol levels include: 

  • Weight gain and rounding of the face
  • Easy bruising
  • Flushed face
  • Acne
  • Skin thinning
  • Healing process slows down
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • High blood pressure

If your body produces too much cortisol regularly, it’s usually a sign of an underlying health issue.

If you’ve gained unwanted weight due to being stressed, PhenQ’s weight loss aid offers a unique formula that targets key areas to help you feel less hungry, suppressing your appetite.

In addition, it also helps to improve your mood and energy levels to assist you with your weight loss journey.

PhenQ’s weight loss aid is not a quick fix, meaning you must still eat healthily and exercise. However, the product will help burn stored fat and assist you in controlling your appetite.

5 ways to reduce and manage stress…

Having a high-stress baseline can cause many problems, but there are ways to reduce and manage your stress that we can incorporate into daily life. 

1. Consume a healthy diet 

Some people crave unhealthy foods and struggle with food consumption while they’re stressed, either by over-eating, under-eating or having an unbalanced diet. People tend to use fast food, unhealthy snacks, drinking alcohol and smoking as a coping mechanism.  

Consume a healthy diet

While these actions may seem to help at the moment, it may actually end up causing more prolonged stress in the long run. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet has been proven to assist in combating stress.

2. Increase movement and exercise

Exercise and regular movement has great physical health benefits, but it has also been proven to be a method of stress relief. 

Yoga and Tai Chi have increasingly become popular movement activities, effective forms of exercise that aren’t too vigorous. Aerobic exercise promotes the release of endorphins — neurotransmitters that are released by the brain to alleviate pain and promote pleasure.

Spending time doing things that make you feel good without draining your energy is a sweet spot when managing stress. 

Increase movement and exercise

For some, this may look like reading a book, going for a walk or having a hot bath. For others, this may look like having a small gathering with loved ones, having light-hearted and enjoyable conversations or eating out at a nice restaurant. 

Regularly engaging in stress-reducing activities and self-care is key for you to look after your physical and mental health.

3. Minimise phone use and screen time  

Minimise phone use and screen time

Limiting the amount of time you spend on smartphones, computers, and tablets is essential to reducing stress levels.

While these devices are often used on a daily basis, spending extended amounts of time on them can increase stress levels.

Scientifically, our brains are not designed to process vast amounts of information constantly; our brains need to take some time to process information. Using these devices too often can overstimulate your mind and body, resulting in stress.

Social media specifically can be a slippery slope to mental health issues if you are not mindful of its effects and how harmful it can be. A vast amount of studies show that social media can affect your self-view and interpersonal relationships and on a larger scale, your overall well-being.

Social media can be harmful to your mental health and can cause:

  • Self-image issues
  • Addiction and reliance 
  • Affected social skills
  • Sleep-loss
  • Peer pressure driven decisions
  • Negative views and outlook
  • A distorted sense of reality

4. Practice relaxation techniques

Carving out time every day to prioritize relaxation and rest can help manage stress. There are a variety of techniques, such as; deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and mindfulness meditation. 

While many online and smartphone apps provide guidance with these techniques, if you’re trying to limit your screen time, there are in-person classes and books you could read on these techniques.

The overall benefits of these techniques include;

  • Decreases stress
  • Increases energy
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves gastrointestinal system
  • Improves concentration and mental clarity
  • Improves sleep hygiene
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Better sense of control and well-being

5. Reduce triggers of stress

Reduce triggers of stress

Most people tend to have a huge list of demands with too little time, leaving them feeling under pressure, therefore, onsetting stress. 

Although the demands are ones we’ve inherently received or signed up for, it still isn’t easy to always be on top of them. A good balance of demands to free time is desirable but often can get difficult to manage. Other times, we have out-of-the-ordinary occurrences, which can suddenly bring on situational stress.

What’s essential would be practicing techniques to help you with time management. This may look like asking for help when appropriate, using organizational apps, setting boundaries, setting priorities and pacing yourself. 

During this time, it’s essential to prioritize your health and say “no” to taking on commitments if they overwhelm you. Taking on a bigger load of tasks and trying to tackle every demand put on you will leave you feeling burnt out. 

It’s a good idea to set small tasks you feel are manageable for you and your lifestyle. Being super honest with yourself about what you’re willing and able to do during this time is crucial, as you don’t want to take on anything that will add to the heaviness that you’re feeling. 

If you’re unable to complete everything on your to-do list, it would be good to prioritize and re-adjust your list. Also, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and remember not to be too hard on yourself, as this process isn’t an overnight thing. 

While you don’t have to disclose your feelings to others, it’s good to set and communicate your boundaries in a healthy way.

The first step would be to define your limits by thinking about what benefits your well-being and what detracts from it. Secondly, you would openly communicate your boundaries by having a light conversation with the people around you.

How to manage stress in healthy ways…

By learning what stress is and how it affects your mind, body and overall well-being, you can identify what is causing your stress and how it feels to be stressed better.

From there, you can use the relaxation techniques (above), time-management tools and boundary-setting with yourself and others to help you relieve yourself from your stresses.

If you’ve noticed stress has caused your physique to change, making necessary dietary improvements, taking appropriate supplements and exercising regularly will help in alleviating stress

The stress-relief and stress-management journey can be challenging, but if you implement these changes, you will be able to manage and cope with stress in healthy ways, ultimately making you feel better and healthier.