One of our biggest health and wellness obstacles is stress. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety now and then. It's a natural response to stressful situations, like trying to meet a tight deadline at work, taking on too many activities, trying to manage a work and life balance, or getting prepared for a big event or occasion. We're bombarded with tons of decisions and situations each day that pile onto one another until it can all seem like too much to handle. Although stress is an important emotion that can help us deal with these challenging situations, it can also cause a multitude of negative effects if not managed properly or let go unchecked.

Stress and anxiety are caused by an upswing in the level of stress hormones present in the body. Stress hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol can have detrimental effects on our bodies if they become too high over a long period of time. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. It has major functions in your body, including immune response, blood sugar levels, and energy (via the central nervous system). Too much cortisol can have negative effects on your body, and even leave you feeling burned out. Serious health issues can arise that impact your physical and mental well-being like migraines, gut issues, diabetes, and depression. Because of this, it is important to find ways to better manage your emotional health.

If you've been feeling overwhelmed by stress lately, fortunately, there are things you can do to manage your stress and anxiety in a healthy way that will decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety, boost your mood, and improve your overall well-being. These simple and practical stress management techniques are easy to incorporate into any lifestyle or demanding schedule.

Tip #1: Discover the cause of your stress and anxiety

Stress can be caused by more than just overwhelm. Stress can come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. It can be mental, physical, or emotional, and can be caused by a number of different sources. Family, work, money, responsibilities, etc., can all be triggers for stress and anxiety. The key to discovering the source of your stress is to listen to your body’s signals. Once you're able to notice the signs of stress as they occur in your body, you will become more empowered to do something about them or eliminate them completely.

Tip #2: Move your body

Regular exercise can also help prevent your body from being overloaded by stress. You don't have to live in the gym to stay active. Try going for a walk around the neighborhood for a few minutes each day. Exercise not only helps distract you from your worries, but when you are moving your body produces endorphins that help elevate your mood, improve your blood flow, and, improve your body’s ability to consume oxygen. Exercising not only gives you more energy but also provides focus, calmness, and clarity that reduces stress and anxiety.

Tip #3: Get more sleep

Lack of sleep can drain your energy, make you feel irritable, and create brain fog. When you are tired it's hard to focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand. You can find yourself falling behind, losing momentum, or completely forgetting important things. Feeling like you are not in control of your situation can seriously put you in a sour mood. Adequate sleep regulates your mood, restores the body to peak condition, and improves your mental function. Poor sleeping habits also prohibit the release of the melatonin hormone and cause cortisol levels to rise. Create a calming sleep routine to help reduce feelings of stress. A soothing bath or shower before bed, essential oils like lavender or camomile, and a bottle of purple tea can all help you get to sleep, and stay asleep, for a good night’s rest.

Tip #4: Practice deep breathing

Deep breaths are a common and effective stress management technique. It can also be done any time and anywhere. One technique is belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. First, you inhale through the nose while expanding the belly; then exhale while contracting the belly button towards the spine. You can also try pursing the lips while exhaling or putting a hand on your belly to make sure it expands as you inhale.

Tip #5: Change your diet

You are what you eat and your diet has a big impact on how you feel. Incorporating healthy foods and beverages into your meals help reduce feelings of overwhelm. A balanced diet provides the vitamins and minerals necessary to nourish your brain cells so that they can perform at their best. When you're stressed out you might be tempted to reach for your favorite "comfort" foods filled with sugars, processed oils, high carbs, and empty calories, but once the junk food is gone, you'll notice no improvement in your mood and stress levels. That's because these foods don't provide the nutrients your body and mind need. Foods rich in whole grains, proteins, fruits, low-dairy foods, and vegetables help positively support your physical and mental well-being and keep stress under control.

Tip #6: Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine acts as a stimulant to your central nervous system, and it can cause anxiety, nervousness, shaking, and even insomnia. You don't have to give up caffeine completely, just reduce your daily intake. Caffeine becomes an issue when you ingest too much. It can cause your body to produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, making people with anxiety feel jittery and more on edge. Instead of your typical high-caffeinated drinks, try a reduced caffeine alternative like purple tea. Purpose Purple Tea contains only 11 - 8.8mg of organic, naturally sourced caffeine. However, regular coffee, colas, and energy drinks can have 38mg or more of synthetically produced caffeine. Reducing your daily caffeine consumption can decrease your overall feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve your focus and concentration.

Tip #7: Take breaks

Taking breaks from your work or overwhelming tasks can greatly help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. If you're starting to feel like you've mentally hit a wall, or physically feel weighed down, it's time to take a step back from your task and maybe even your environment. Taking one or two 15-minute breaks a day can help you feel less anxious about the tasks or jobs in front of you. Taking breaks from work can be as simple as going for a walk or sitting down outside for some fresh air and a refreshing bottle of Purpose Tea. It can also mean it's time for more active options like taking some time off to change your surroundings and clear your mind.

It's important to take care of yourself, especially when you are going through a hard time. Stress and anxiety can have a major impact on your mood, your energy, and your health. By incorporating these healthy stress management tips into your day, you can take control of your mental and emotional health and prevent stress from negatively impacting your lifestyle. Reaching for a bottle of Purpose Tea each day is a great way to replenish your energy, refocus and relax.