Between homework, extracurriculars, family, relationships, and a social life, stress has become the norm for most college (and, even, soon-to-be college) students. It’s almost something we take pride in—bragging to one another about how little sleep we’ve gotten or how long it’s been since we’ve eaten a full meal. The problem is, by living our lives like this, we’re actually aggravating the problem. Almost every disease we know of is made worse by unmanaged stress. It decreases memory, immunity, sleep, and weight loss, while increasing anxiety and depression. Symptoms of unmanaged stress can include headaches, stomachaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of focus and attention, and a hundred other nasty things. Basically, it’s destroying us from the inside out.Stress may be a part of our everyday lives, but that doesn’t mean it’s unmanageable. There are some easy things you can do today to stop stress from eating you alive.There are good carbs, though, that will still increase serotonin without the negative side effects. These include things like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and almond butter. While you’re avoiding sugar, it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine as well. I know a lot of students tend to live on it, but it only increases your difficulty sleeping while dehydrating you at the same time. No matter what anyone says, twelve cups of coffee will never—EVER—act the same as a full night’s rest. Besides that, coffee stains your teeth, and who wants an extra trip to the dentist?Drinking something warm, however, has been shown to increase happiness-producing hormones in your brain. Tea is a wonderful substitute in these instances. Green tea, in particular, still contains caffeine, but is also full of healthy antioxidants. All kinds of herbal tea are free of caffeine, and lavender and peppermint in particular have been shown to decrease stress and stomach aches while increasing sleep.
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