Stress & Your Daily Magic Pill
For high-producing executives, stress can be a double-edged sword. We use it to push us, motivate us, and allow us to excel, performing optimally both professionally and personally. Stress can be fuel, and so long as it’s managed effectively, that’s fine.
As anyone who has ever become over-stressed knows, however, stress can also be the thing that inhibits productivity, and keeps us from performing at that optimal level. In fact, when our bodies are flooded with stress, the consequences can be dire. According to Peter Schnall’s Unhealthy Work, stress has exploded to an invisible, $1 trillion health epidemic. That’s more expensive than the cost of cancer, smoking, diabetes, and heart disease combined.
How to Combat Stress
So what can you do for relief? There are holistic ways to deal with stress, including meditation, mindfulness exercises, and even something as simple as a daily workout. These methods work well for some, but not for all; in some cases, stress requires a visit to the doctor and a prescription for some kind of stress-mitigating pill.
Now we have crossed into uncomfortable territory, as mental healthcare remains a bit of a stigmatized issue in our culture. To be perfectly plain about it, then: For many of us, anxiety is not just a “normal” feeling but a true mental health disorder, as real as cancer, diabetes, or any physical malady you care to name. As such, seeking medical care to keep the symptoms in check is not a sign of weakness; it’s a way to be proactive about your health and to keep your body, your mind, and your career from the damages of unregulated stress.
What’s Your Daily Magic Pill?
Not everyone needs medication to mitigate stress, but for those who do, it can be life-saving—literally. A “magic daily pill” can preserve your mental health and allow you to continue meeting all your personal and professional obligations.
Even those of us who don’t need prescription drugs can still benefit from fueling our bodies with the right vitamins and nutrients; indeed, simply eating right, and perhaps taking some natural supplements, can go a long way toward helping body and mind break down stress.
Your own daily magic pill may not be a prescription medication at all, then, but rather some combination of the following:
Mood stabilizers. You can think of these as comfort foods—things you can eat that help you to feel better, but also have a positive impact on your health. Complex carbs, such as warm oatmeal, can be great for increasing your body’s serotonin production, and that in turn helps keep your mood elevated.
Vitamin C. Of course there are any number of reasons to get plenty of Vitamin C, and one of the top ones is that it regulates cortisol, the stress hormone. Bell peppers, citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, berries—all of these are rich in Vitamin C.
Magnesium. When you lack this mineral, the effects can include headaches and fatigue; keep your heart rhythms steady and your whole body in good working order by ensuring you get plenty of magnesium, as found in beans, peas, soy, and spinach.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Known for their power in fighting depression, omega-3s are mostly found in fish, but also in flaxseed, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
The bottom line: You can give yourself a mood boost, and you can fight the effects of stress, simply by eating better. Make some improvements to the way you give yourself fuel. If you need to, see a doctor about prescription meds. And don’t hesitate to contact our coaches to help you develop other methods of coping with stress while remaining productive at the office. BLT Strategies delivers when personal catastrophe and business demands COLLIDE.