5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress: CBD Can Help

This article first appeared on MadebyHemp.

cbd oil stress


In our modern, fast-paced world, stress is becoming a very common component in our everyday lives. It has become so common, in fact, that we no longer seem to notice stress until it has compounded into something bigger and has started affecting our health. Stress, or rather, stress hormones (a primary stress hormone like cortisol), are released into the body to trigger our “fight or flight” response. In dire situations, these hormones help elevate our energy supplies, increase the concentration of glucose in our blood, and even help our brain use glucose optimally for quicker decision making. However, long-term activation of the body’s stress system could cause a host of health problems — anxiety, depression, heart disease – to name a few.

Therefore, it is important we learn of ways to relieve ourselves of stress. Below are five simple ways to relieve stress:


1. CBD Oil

You’ve probably heard of CBD quite often this whole year. There is good reason for that. Aside from its uses in alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy, it is also being used as a natural means of reducing anxiety and stress. This is because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system. This is a network of CBD receptors along our central nervous system. These receptors react to CBD by fixing imbalances, strengthening our immune system, and relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. So a couple of drops of CBD oil every day might just be the trick to help alleviate our everyday stress.


2. Meditation

If you are looking for a very cheap way of reducing stress without taking anything, meditation is the way to go. Meditation has been known to help ease stress and anxiety by focusing our attention to emptying our mind and breathing deeply. Not only will this help you relax, it could also re-energize you to help you face the rest of your day with a bit more calm. If you find yourself stressed by too many meetings or an impending deadline, take a few minutes to center yourself, empty your mind of any thoughts, and breathe.


3. Exercise

Physical activity causes our body to release happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. To people who have experienced what is called the “runner’s high”, this is actually the rush of endorphins released by your body as a response to running. Endorphins help our body reduce stress by helping our body overcome pain, and regulate our sleep. The stress hormone cortisol actually reduces the production of happy hormones in our body which will lead to more stress for us. Exercising would help build these hormones back up in our system.


4. Reduce caffeine

We all have a caffeine threshold. Caffeine is known to help keep us awake and give us that boost of much-needed energy, especially in the mornings when all we want is to go back to sleep. However, too much caffeine can contribute to anxiety which in turn causes stress. It could also cause heart palpitations, cold sweat, and some digestive upset when you take too much caffeine. So if you find yourself getting anxious after your second or third cup of coffee, it might be a good idea to skip that cup of joe and maybe have something with lower caffeine levels. Perhaps a nice low caffeine tea, or, dare we say, some decaf coffee?


5. Socialize

Spending time with friends and family is a great stress reliever. No matter how introverted and socially averse you are, there is always someone you prefer spending your time with. And for those of us who are extroverted, being with people is an energizing experience. Laughing and having an enjoyable time with the people you love will help you relax more, and forget about your woes. In women, spending time with family and children helps in releasing oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.

No matter your station in life, stress is unavoidable. Keeping these five tips in mind will help you in managing or maybe even relieving stress. And in turn will help you enjoy life more, avoid health issues, and even develop a healthier relationship with yourself and with your social circle.

Why Stress Causes Sugar Cravings—and How to Fight It

This article first appeared on Sweetdefeat.

stress causes sugar cravings

Understanding the connection can help you change your eating habits.

You get into a fight with your friend and suddenly you simply need a sweet treat. You get an urgent work email and immediately head towards the office candy bowl. Or you’re feeling sad, so you sit down in front of a favorite movie with a pint of ice cream.

We’ve all been there: craving sugar for psychological reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. It’s called “stress eating” for a reason. When you experience persistent stress, your adrenal glands release cortisol, which increases both appetite and motivation. Together, that makes you more likely to eat even when you don’t need it. Understanding how stress affects sugar cravings helps you recognize the signs, so you can can say “no” the next time a craving strikes.

Sugar and Stress Eating

For our ancestors, stress made them eat more, and that was a good thing. When humans were just trying to survive, eating sweets in the form of fruit meant better nutrition. Today, our stress responses are triggered almost constantly, by work, family commitments, or even the ever-present noise of city living. And the extra food is no longer a good thing: Research shows that chronic stress is linked to craving sweet and fatty foods, which contributes to the development of obesity and the host of ill health effects that accompany excess weight.

When you eat sugar, your brain releases feel-good chemicals and its reward system is activated, just as it is by drug use. In fact, sugar addiction can be just as powerful as cocaine addiction. Research suggests that “the brain reward circuitry may be a key player in stress-induced food intake,” says a 2007 study published in Physiology & Behavior.

The bad news is that your body is programmed to want sugar when you’re feeling stressed. The good news it that by recognizing the reason for your craving, you can make better choices.

Reframe Your Cravings

It’s hard to make cravings go away completely, though if you cut back on your sugar intake, they will diminish as your body becomes accustomed to your new low-sugar lifestyle. Here are five tips to help you kick cravings:

●      Acknowledge the craving. Recognize that your body is craving sugar, but doesn’t really need it. Once you learn to distinguish between true hunger and cravings, you can take the proper steps to fight the cravings.

●      Feed hunger with healthy options. If you’re truly hungry, have a balanced meal or snack with veggies, good fats, and protein, which has been shown to help stabilize blood-sugar levels.

●      Fight cravings with a lozenge. Sweet Defeat lozenges contain extracts from the plant Gymnema sylvestre and have been shown to reduce sugar cravings. The lozenge also temporarily blocks the ability to taste sweetness, so treats aren’t satisfying: the sugar doesn’t activate the brain’s reward cycle.

●      Take a walk. Remember how sugar releases those feel-good chemicals in your brain? Well, so does exercise, so that’s a great alternative to indulging in sweets. Research shows that taking a brisk walk can help reduce sugar cravings.

●      Plan for a treat. Cravings cause us to behave impulsively. Rather than eating a sugary treat when a craving hits, make yourself a deal: If you still want it in two hours, or tomorrow, then you can have it. Research shows that this if-then bargaining can help reduce unhealthy food consumption.

Cravings can be hard to resist, but when they hit it’s important to remember that you are ultimately the one in control.