4 tiny tips for dealing with stress from an actual psychiatrist

Dealing with stress can be rough.

Make it easier with help from a pro. We’ve enlisted one of our favourite psychiatrists, Claudia at Foundations, to share a few of her best (easy and evidence-based) tips for handling stress, even in difficult times. Here’s her advice:

1. Mind what you put in your mouth

Too much highly-processed food has been associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression—but a Mediterranean-style diet (which our team is particularly partial to, being headquartered in Barcelona) may protect from mental disorders (Owen, 2017).

Long story short, focus on brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables (if everything’s brown or beige, you may be doing it wrong) and try to incorporate more omega-3-rich fish into your diet. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, avocados are a good substitute.

2. Make time to play

We get it. You’re busy. But making time for leisure and recreation (aka, fun) has been shown to enhance wellbeing, social skills, reinforcement and humor, as well as decrease stress and finally, improve mood.

A study of more than 16,000 adults found that taking part in hobbies or cultural activities enhanced mental health. So dabble in whatever catches your fancy. Because as it turns out all work and no play doesn’t just make us dull, it makes us stressed.

@christinhumephoto via Unsplash

3. Get proactive about stress

Stress at work has been linked with mental health risks, and chronic exposure to stress is thought to be related to emotional exhaustion, depression and anxiety. So what can you do about it?

Manage that mess. Recording repetitive thoughts, deep-breathing and mindfulness meditation are all excellent, evidence-based ways you can use to handle stress—and Foundations can help you learn the ropes.

4. Lend a hand

Helping others can provide a certain sense of purpose and meaning, and that can have positive psychological effects—also known as that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know you’ve done something nice for another human being. Another great side effect?

Beyond a (typically) happy social interaction, we also get the added bonus of noticing the other person’s appreciation and positive feelings towards us (Lahvis, 2017). So give altruism a try—it’s been connected to heightened levels of happiness, love, joy and generosity, and lessened levels of jealousy and egocentricity.

What are some of your favourite tiny tips for dealing with stress? There’s no need to be a psychiatrist to reply—share your best advice with us at foundations@koahealth.com.