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Are You Stressed? (Part 2)

Are You Stressed? (Part 2)

This is part 2 of our "Are You Stressed?" blog series for Stress Awareness Month. Today, we'll focus on foods, activities, and smartphone apps to help you reduce stress! 

We experience stress on a daily basis. Most stress is short-term and stems from common situations like sitting in traffic or meeting a project deadline. Other stress, like trauma or a sudden life change, can become long-term. You can read part 1 of our "Are You Stressed?" blog to learn more about the medical definition of stress, less commonly-known symptoms, and the health impacts of long-term stress. 

There are numerous simple, everyday steps we can take to better manage stress.  

(Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))

Yum! Foods that can reduce stress

Grab your fork and dig in to the following stress-busting superfoods, according to!

  • Green leafy vegetables. This helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.
  • Turkey Breast. It’s a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin.
  • Fermented Foods. The secret to improving your mental health is in your gut, as unhealthy gut flora can have a detrimental impact on brain health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha contain beneficial bacteria that have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via your vagus nerve.
  • Wild caught Salmon. Found in salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being.
  • Blueberries. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood.

Your smartphone can help reduce stress

You may not believe this, but your smartphone can actually be a tool to reduce stress! There are several free and low-cost apps available that promote wellness, healthy eating, and coping with stress.

  • Headspace. A collection of guided meditations with focus areas like “weathering the storm”, “reframe stress and relax”, and “focus at work”.
  • Calm. Having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep? Calm combines soothing sounds and stories to help lull your mind toward those much-needed Z’s.
  • Grateful. This app was created to make expressing gratitude in your life both easy and fun, as well as to remind you of the many blessings in your life.
  • Shine. Imagine your very own app that gives you your daily dose of positivity with the help of meaningful thoughts and ideas. Shine is your personal pep talk app.
  • Happify. Work on your self-confidence and internal happiness with the help of a number of small activities and tasks. Battle stress with games and get scored for your performance.
  • Strides Goal & Habit Tracker. You can track anything – good and bad habits – and create goals with reminders to hold you accountable and keep you motivated.
  • Nike+ Training Club. Your personal gym app that shows you the best exercises as advised by some of the world’s leading fitness trainers.
  • Fooducate. Track calories, track your eating habits, and improve your overall health.
  • Aloe Bud. Your all-in-one, self-care pocket companion with helpful reminders from yourself.
  • Shleep. 50+ guided exercises to help you reduce stress and get great sleep.

All of these apps are free to download, but some may require additional purchases later. Take advantage of these resources right at your fingertips for a happier, healthier life!

(Sources: “10 Best Self Care Apps You Must Try in 2021”, Romit Sharma, Apple App Store)


Valley Health offers a wide variety of wellness and fitness services that are essential to healthy living. Classes including yoga, cycling, cardio and more can significantly help lower stress!

Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center I Winchester

Hampshire Wellness & Fitness Center I Romney

Valley Health Wellness & Fitness I Front Royal

Valley Health Wellness & Fitness I Woodstock

Valley Health Wellness & Fitness I Luray

Valley Health Physical Rehabilitation & Fitness I Berkeley Springs

Counseling with a mental health professional is another excellent choice for learning stress management and coping skills. Valley Health’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Services in Winchester and Woodstock provide stabilization and support for individuals 18 years and older using an integrated psychiatric and medical approach to mental health and wellness.

Valley Health I Outpatient Behavioral Health Services