Stress can take its toll on anyone, especially if you're not taking the time to exercise, eat healthy foods, or take time away from the internet and social media. Perhaps you're overworked and overwhelmed, which leads to a lack of productivity and not feeling like your best self.
Luckily there are ways to combat stress, including getting on the right diet and taking care of your body and mind both physically and mentally. The keto diet may help relieve some stress, lose weight, and feel better overall. By switching your body over to burning fat as opposed to carbohydrates, you'll undoubtedly reap the benefits. If you'd like to learn more about the keto diet and how it may curb stress the Body Reboot book is an excellent place to start. Now let's discuss ways to combat stress, including going on a low carb diet like the ketogenic diet.
To overcome stress, one of the first things you should do is find out what is causing you anxiety. Psychology today recommends making a list and thinking of ways to ease your mind. It's important to find a solution to help you through it.
For each situation on your list, come up with one or more strategies for preventing, avoiding, or diffusing it. Here's an example:
Source: Neel Burton
You can also use some more general strategies for reducing stress.
Deep breathing involves regulating your breathing:
Breathe in through your nose and hold the air in for several seconds.
Purse your lips and gradually let the air out. Let out as much air as you can.
Carry on until you feel more relaxed.
Sometimes you may feel stress from a past life event that crops up in your current life. Even though events that take place earlier in life can have a profound effect on your psyche now doesn't mean there aren't ways to counteract the stress. Forbes mentions a few ways to cope with stress, such as getting outside, being active and eating the right foods. The keto diet is an excellent way to manage stress because it provides the body with the nutrients it craves and needs.
But the participants also engaged in a number of behaviors throughout life that seemed to help counter the effects of stress and support longevity. A central habit was that people made and maintained strong social connections, which previous research has also shown to be one of the central predictors (if not the central predictor) of well-being and longevity. Other behaviors linked to lifespan were living a “kinetic life,” meaning that an individual was outdoors and active, often from morning till evening; charitable acts and altruism; spiritual practices, like prayer; a day of rest or “resetting” that often included social connection and/or family excursions; significant engagement with nature; eating simple “real” foods; and having intrinsic drive and a hopeful outlook.
Exercise can also have a positive effect on a mind and reduce stress, according to Stress.org. With various ways to implement different activities today, it shouldn't be hard to find a type of exercise that works best for you. For example, on the keto diet dieters have found that HIIT, high-intensity workouts work well.
Possible explanations are that vigorous exercise can increase levels of endorphins, which are known to provide a sense of well-being and increased resistance to pain. Elite marathoners may experience a feeling of euphoria referred to as the “runner’s high” and are often so insensitive to pain that they continue to run on broken bones that would normally bring them to an immediate halt. However, the old adage “no pain, no gain” no longer seems to be valid since many stress reduction rewards can be achieved by walking for 20-30 minutes several times a week or other much milder physical activities that promote a sense of well being. The support provided by others in group exercise activities as well as an improved sense of self–esteem associated with physical activity can also have powerful stress reduction effects.
Some people who are depressed or anxious may not have any desire to exercise but should be encouraged to do as much as they can, even if it’s just a few minutes at a time. The reason is that this often leads them to increase their activities bit by bit as they experience more benefits. According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, “You don’t have to have a program that includes 45 minutes of sweating and grunting and moaning . . . . A 10-minute walk is as good a place to start as anything else.”
The Greatist also has some excellent tips on how to reduce stress. These simple tips may be the ticket to feeling better and forgetting about your troubles:
1. Try progressive relaxation. All the way from fingers to toes—tense and then release each muscle group in the body (lower arm, upper arm, chest, back and abdominals, etc.). Once the body is relaxed, the mind will be soon to follow ! 2. Try some light yoga. The combination of deep breathing techniques and poses makes this activity work to reduce stress, too . 3. Meditate. The “mental silence” that goes along with meditation may have positive effects on stress (especially work-related stress) . 4. Breathe deep. Taking a deep breath has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety . Studies suggest deep breathing can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure 5. Spark some scents.
It's easy to forget about sleep, but getting enough rest is essential to staying healthy and being productive every day. Harvard Health seems to agree that sleep is one of the many ways to kick stress to the curb.
Get enough sleep. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep can negatively affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health.
Mayo Clinic says managing stress is all about SMART goals, which is a “smart” way to relieve tension:
Set SMART goals. Write down SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals.
If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or, if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.
It makes sense that writing down SMART goals can help make goals more attainable. Plus, it should help you stay focused and less stressed out knowing there's a plan in place.
So how does the keto diet play into all this? Well, journalist Matt Nicholls thinks a keto diet has everything to do with relieving stress, and his argument as to why this is makes sense. He shares his thoughts on The Mission Daily how this diet has changed his mental clarity and helped him conquer some of his anxiety. Based on his experience the keto diet may be the way to go, primarily if you deal with stress and anxiety (like most of us do) on a regular basis.
I decided to look into the ketogenic diet more to find out exactly what the science was behind me regaining some of my mental stability.
A 2008 study in the journal Epilepsia showed that a ketogenic diet can reduce inflammation in the brain due to both carb restriction and an increase in ketones.
Glutamate, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain, and GABA, one that reduces brain stimulation, must be balanced in order for the brain to function properly.
When you have too much glutamate in your brain and not enough GABA it can injure susceptible neurons and cause brain fog.
In a high carb diet astrocytes cannot convert glutamate into GABA because the body uses glutamate as an energy source along with other types of glucose.
However, in a low carb keto diet astrocyte metabolism is more active resulting in enhanced conversion of glutamate to GABA.
This slight change in brain chemistry helps focus the brain by reducing the excess firing of neurons and, not only does it reduce epileptic seizures, it reduces stress and anxiety.
The Cut agrees with this sentiment, and author Susie Neilson discusses her thoughts on how keeping a body in ketosis may help with anxiety and depression. She backs it up by mentioning a study that showed promising results.
Also early last year, researchers at the University of Tasmania compiled a review on the same subject, titled “The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry.” Most of the review was comprised of case studies — but what case studies they were. In one, a 70-year-old woman with schizophrenia saw her hallucinations — which she’d had since age 7 — disappear. Two other studies followed women with bipolar II as they followed a ketogenic diet for two and three years, respectively. Ketosis stabilized the women’s moods, they both reported, more effectively than their meds did. Autistic patients have reported improved social relations, and one autistic child placed on keto saw his IQ increase by 70 points after several years. Of course, these reports are anecdotal, and Ede stresses that a lot more research is needed before ketogenic diets are prescribed the way traditional meds are. But the research seemed promising enough to me.
She also mentions a researcher from Harvard who discovered much the same thing: that the keto diet may have profound effects on a person who has a mental disorder or experiences stress and anxiety on a regular basis.
At the beginning of last year, Dr. Chris Palmer, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, published a paper on the topic using two of his schizoaffective patients as case studies. These patients, he wrote, initially went “keto” for weight loss. But both noticed dramatic improvements in their psychological symptoms as well; their symptoms measurably diminished as their respective qualities of life went up (and they lost weight while they were at it).
For those looking for a quick fix to easing stress, it's hard to get rid of it altogether. However, there are ways to ease stress either through relaxation techniques, exercise, and the like, and also incorporating a healthy diet. The keto diet shows promising findings that may help with stress, anxiety, and mental health overall. As time goes on it may become a preventative measure to stop anxiety before it begins.
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