When we enter a Spa, we often feel immediate relaxation. All tension slides away and we begin to notice our breathing again. Time slows down and the process of unwinding starts. Stress happens to everyone. There’s no escaping it. A good amount of stress can even be beneficial. Chronic stress however, can result in inflammation, a compromised immune and digestive system and may even result in insomnia and anxiety.

There are a number of things we can do to combat stress. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best supplements to combat stress, the most effective exercises and breathing techniques to regulate our nervous system and the right foods to include in a mood-friendly diet.

Breathing can increase productivity and focus, has a direct impact on mood and brings you back to the here and now quickly.
We explain the diaphragmatic ‘belly breathing’ technique below.

Movement improves
emotional resilience

Physical activity releases endorphins in the body. These substances improve mood, sleep, digestion and overall self-esteem. Studies show a direct relationship between stress and physical activity.

Weekly 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity or a combination of both is the minimum advised. Even a brisk walk can count.

Studies show that physical inactivity can contribute to an increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancer, cardiovascular problems and poorer body satisfaction and self-esteem. In contrast, even an average amount of daily exercise can help prevent and improve overall physical and mental well-being, including stress levels.

Yoga is also a great way to reduce anxiety and to be grounded and present in the moment. Half an hour on your mat and you’ll feel a million times better. Yoga helps regulate the nervous system, curb cortisol production and balance hormones, making it particularly helpful if you suffer from stress at certain times in your cycle.

Supplements to support your bodily functions

While there is no substitute for a balanced diet, supplements are an excellent way to address deficiencies in your daily diet. During busy periods, it is good to give the body extra support.
The amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the direct precursor to serotonin and melatonin. It provides a more stable mood, helps with anxiety attacks, insomnia and calms the nervous system. Perfect during busy periods or sleep problems.
L-theanine occurs naturally in green tea and stimulates alpha brain waves. When we are stressed, our brain begins to produce beta brainwaves, which signal a threat to our body and activate our adrenal and nervous systems. Alpha brain waves, on the other hand, are associated with a state of relaxation, concentration, increased creativity, enhanced learning and reduced anxiety. L-Theanine is considered a nootropic, which are substances that have a beneficial effect on brain function. It reduces anxiety and tension by stimulating alpha waves.
Increased cortisol can lead to a deficiency in magnesium, an essential mineral for supporting the central nervous system, muscle function and adrenal glands, respectively. Magnesium supports more than 300 processes in the body. It is a very important mineral to support a ‘ busy head

FOODS that help

Organic for health
Obviously, a balanced diet with organic, unprocessed foods is best for everyone’s health. Try to follow an organic, unprocessed anti-inflammatory diet.
Melatonin for sleep
Products naturally high in melatonin are oats, asparagus and pomegranate, can contribute to good sleep.
Magnesium for stress regulation
Almonds and pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, which plays a keyfacter in stress regulation.
Tryptophan for calmness
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that must be taken through diet or supplementation. It is responsible for the production of serotonin and has a calming effect. It is found in products such as prunes, sunflower seeds, bananas, almonds and milk – hence warm milk before sleep.

what to avoid

Processed foods
Homemade is always best. Processed foods, even if organic do not have the same nutritional values as meals you make at home. You may be surprised the less processed foods you eat, the less cravings you end up having.
Caffeïne and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are proven sleep disruptors, if you experience insomnia or anxiety it is better to avoid them. Try to limit caffeine to one cup a day and eliminate an alcoholic intake before sleep.

Long lasting effects
of sauna bathing

Sauna bathing can induce profound physiological effects and benefits. Its short-term effects of increased heart rate, skin blood flow, cardiac output and sweating are immediately noticeable. Regular sauna use improves the ability to adapt to different environmental conditions, increases physical exertion and contributes to emotional well-being. It is beneficial for metabolism, cardiovascular health and studies suggest it has a positive impact on the immune system.

Breathing techniques
regulating the
nervous system

Breathing is a direct way to consciously calm the central nervous system. Breathing can increase productivity and focus, has a direct impact on mood and brings you back to the here and now quickly. There are an awful lot of breathing techniques, choose the one that resonates with you.

We explain the diaphragmatic ‘belly breathing’ technique. This technique is widely used for relieving stress and reducing cortisol levels. Diaphragmatic breathing is a very simple and relatively risk-free way to start if you are new to breathwork.


Sit up straight, or lie down on a flat and comfortable surface (your bed works too, as long as you don’t fall asleep!).


Pull your shoulders up to your ears and then release them. Do this a few times before completely relaxing your shoulders.


Place a hand on your belly.


Breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth, counting to four on each inhale and exhale.


Concentrate on the breath moving past your lungs and into your belly. You should feel your hands rise and fall with your breathing. Your chest should not move much.


Repeat for ten breaths initially and build up as your practice develops.


Notice how you feel afterwards.

Blue zones

Blue zones are regions where residents live to over 90, in relatively good health. A lot of research has been and is being done on the lifestyle maintained there. One of the markers contributing to this is a family and social life. Humans are social animals and any positive interaction contributes to better health. Positivity, doing nothing and investing in social interactions are good for our mental resilience, health and contribute to a happy long life.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Hakuna Matata

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