1. Watch the caffeine

is a stimulant, which prompts your body to release the stress hormones
making you feel more stressed and jittery than you should be.' Says  Dr. Marilyn Glenville, nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar

is also addictive. You'll enjoy the buzz, but once the caffeine hit
wears off, you'll be left feeling low and more stressed than you were
before. It can also trigger anxiety and panic attacks. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

For people
who are prone to stress or anxiety, it's best to cut out caffeine
altogether, says nutritionist Cassandra Barns. But if you can't cope
without your caffeine fix limit yourself to one cup a day, or switch to
tea as this has less caffeine than coffee, she adds.

Try substituting tea of coffee for healthy, herbal alternatives, or opt for decaffeinated options instead. 

Chocolate also contains a stimulating chemical called theobromine, which is very much like caffeine, so put that Dairy Milk
away! And don't forget that energy and fizzy drinks contain heaps of
caffeine, which can have a similar – or worse – effect than drinking tea
of coffee, adds Cassandra.

More From Cosmopolitan

2. Remember to breathe 

When panic
starts to take over, it can be difficult to see a way out. But to stop
your heart beating at 100 miles per hour, just take a moment to breathe
and relax. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to really work on
your breathing technique, and the blind panic will start to gradually
calm. This quick video will help you master the technique.

trick is to take yourself away from the stressful situation. Take 15
minutes out to make yourself a snack or herbal tea. Then sit, relax and
wait to calm down. Or, if you're at home, run a bath or lie on the sofa
and practice a few breathing or meditation techniques.

3. Work out what's important  

you start to feel yourself freaking out, it can be difficult to work
out what's important and what's not. You catastrophise every situation
in your head and predict the worst possible outcome.  

probably got a list of a million things floating around in your head,
but try to weed out the negatives and start to focus on the positives
instead. That way you have something to look forward to.

If you have an overwhelming to-do list, focus on one small thing at a
time, then work up gradually to the bigger things to make your list
more manageable, advises The Mental Health Foundation.

4. Increase your 'feel good' hormone

Up your serotonin levels, it's a 'feel good' hormone, and a lack of it is associated with depression and anxiety. 

body makes serotonin from tryptophan, which occurs naturally in foods
such as dairy products, fish, bananas, dried dates, soya, almonds and
peanuts,' says Dr Glenville.

'Combining these foods with unrefined
carbohydrates, such as brown rice, wholemeal bread or oats, helps the
body to release insulin to help tryptophan uptake to the brain. A good
example would be to kick start your day with eggs and wholemeal toast
for breakfast.'

5. Steady your sugar levels

your blood sugar can work wonders on lowering your stress levels. If
your body is not topped up with the right nutrients, your stress
hormones will start to kick in, stimulating 'adrenaline and cortisol'.
'This is why you can feel more jittery, irritable etc when blood sugar
plummets!' Dr Glenville explains. 

To counter those jitters
'ensure you have a small meal every 2-3 hours that contains protein (eat
breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack mid morning and one mid
afternoon). For example, a hard-boiled egg, 10-12 almonds, or a small
can of tuna and brown rice. This will stop those roller-coaster highs
and cravings for sweet foods.' she recommends. You'll feel instantly
calmer and happier.

6. Up your fish intake

Cassandra Barns explains that 'Almost 60% of our brains are made up of
fat. About half of that fat is DHA Omega-3 fatty acids, which really can
only be found in fish. This is why fish is often known as a great
source of "brain food".'

She recommends to stock up on these
'essential fats' by eating oily fish or taking Omega-3 supplements. To
boost brain power, concentration and lift your mood. 

6. Exercise

your endorphins flowing with short bursts of daily exercise. Even small
spurts of jogging or walking can trigger the brain chemicals into
boosting your mood. Thirty minutes of exercise per day will relieve
stress and tension, boost energy levels and will help you sleep better

Try something mindful like yoga to boost your endorphins –
the feel-good hormone – as well as reducing cortisol, the hormone that
causes stress. 

8. Talk it through

If you have
anxiety you may not want to open up about it, but talking to someone
really can make the world of difference. If you feel uncomfortable
talking to close friends or family, there are support networks you can
turn to who will help you through those testing times. 

Your GP will always be on hand to talk through these symptoms or refer you for further help. 

9. Get a good nights' sleep

not rocket science to recognise that if you're not getting enough sleep
your body and mind will become increasingly stressed. To stop stress
and anxiety spiralling out of control, get a good night's rest. Nature's
Plus nutritionist Martina Della Vedova explains: 'Stress, sleep and
anxiety are all related. If we don't get enough sleep we can find it
harder to adapt to challenging situations, and when we can't cope as
efficiently with stress it can be harder to have a good nights rest.' 

you're finding it difficult to drift off naturally, simple relaxation
or breathing techniques could calm your mind. Try to incorporate
magnesium-rich foods into your diet like 'pumpkin and sunflower seeds,
fish and leafy green vegetables.' says Martina. Alternatively try
drinking a calming herbal tea like chamomile. 


What do you think?