The art of stressing less

September 02, 2017

The art of stressing less

by Nina Kingsford-Smith

Stress is something we all experience and seems to be increasingly common in modern life. Stress isn’t entirely bad though, as small amounts of it is healthy in helping us achieve our goals. Large amounts or prolonged stress, however, aren’t so good for us and can impact our physical, mental and emotional health. With all that being said, it’s great to have a few handy ways to manage stress.

Here are some of my favourite ways to keep stress at bay – give them a go and see which ones work best for you!


Eat nourishingly

You really are what you eat – nutrients found in foods are key to fuelling the cells that make up our body. We can’t function properly without healthy cells, and cells can’t be healthy without receiving the right fuel. Eat foods that place stress on the body and you’re likely to feel more stressed. Eat wholesome nourishing foods, however, and both your body and mind will thank you for it. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Eat food as close to its natural state as possible – the less processed the better!
  • Aim for one or two serves of fruit and at least five serves of veggies each day. Also eat a wide variety of colours to ensure you’re consuming a wide variety of nutrients.
  • Aim for a balanced plate by including good quality protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats with each meal.
  • Stay hydrated – depending on your size and activity level, aim to drink 2 to 3 litres of filtered water per day.
  • Be mindful of limiting the following as they all overload your body and create unnecessary stressors:
    • Processed foods
    • Refined carbohydrates – this includes added sugars and many things that are ‘white’
    • Unhealthy fats – ie trans fats, fried foods, etc
    • Salty foods
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol

Live actively

Exercise is a fantastic way to manage and prevent stress. It releases ‘happy’ hormones like endorphins, and reduces ‘stress’ hormones such as cortisol. Not to mention that doing something physical like going for a run or even dancing around at home is a great way to release pent up tension. If cardio isn’t your thing, try yoga or a walk, as they’re a great way to relax and unwind.

Have a cuppa

Take time out to sit down and have a delicious cup of tea. Slowing down and sipping on a warming comforting drink is so nourishing. This is time when you can focus solely on yourself and nothing or no one else. Depending on what type of tea you drink, they’ll have added benefits of nutrients within them. Herbal teas are a great option, like cacao tea (did you know that cacao has various stress-relieving properties thanks to the likes of magnesium, anadamide, and more?). Be it five minutes or an hour, at home or at work…whatever suits you best, and remember that you need to take time to care for yourself because you’re amazing!


You breathe all the time, but how often to you actually take notice of it? Take five or ten minutes to sit still and notice your breathing – take deep breaths, slow your breathing rate, and notice the natural rhythm of your ribcage as you inhale and exhale. Slow breathing actually helps your body think you’re relaxed. What’s great is that this can be done anywhere – in bed, on the train, at your desk, when you’re waiting in line, and plenty of other places.

Say ‘no’

We all succumb to overcommitting from time to time and many of us feel guilty when we say no to things, but it’s important not to overcommit. Next time someone asks you to do something and you simply don’t feel like you can or want to, don’t feel bad about being honest and declining.

Laugh and smile

Our bodies are very intelligent, however there are a few things we can do to trick them. Smiling or laughing tricks the brain into thinking you’re happy, even when you might not be. It might sound silly, but next time you’re feeling under pressure, try to laugh or crack a smile and see if it improves your mood. You know what they say, laughter really is the best medicine!

Be thankful

Be it big or small, there are so many things to be grateful for. Each night before going to bed, I think of five things from that day that I’m grateful for. Give it a go – when you wake up in the morning or at night before bed, list five things you’re grateful for. You could quietly think them to your self, write them down, or even say them out loud.

Catch your zzz’s

Both quantity and quality of sleep are very important to health. Sleep plays a significant role in how you think, feel, react, recover, and more. Try following a good sleep routine by doing things like getting up and going to bed at the same time each day; making your bedroom peaceful, dark and quiet; and turning off electronic devices an hour or two before bed.

What are your favourite ways to combat stress?



Author Profile

Nina Kingford-Smith

Nina is a nutrition student who’s passionate about food and and has experienced the powerful role that it plays in health – from changing her eating habits to dealing with her own health issues. These experiences have made her extremely passionate about the importance of nourishing our bodies, minds and lives with wholesome food, and she loves to share that passion with like-minded people.

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