In today’s go-go-go world it’s all too common to feel excessively stressed. Being frazzled can really take a toll on your overall health and lead to a host of other ailments. The sources of your stress are often unavoidable.
Stress can impact our lives in multiple ways. Along with other physical issues, it has been linked to high blood pressure. Alternatively, it can affect your mental health, increasing your risk of conditions like depression and anxiety.
What you can do, however, is be proactive in minimizing the extent to which you let them get to you.
How to Reduce Stress Naturally
Today we’re going to discuss alternative and natural approaches to experiencing less stress, and ways that you can incorporate them into your life.
That’s very important, as too much stress can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression, according to Gina Popeil, an experienced health consultant at Yes Wellness and someone who’s very familiar with stress-reduction techniques.
Slow and Deep Breathing
One of the best ways to be calmer is by meditating more frequently.
There’s many ways that meditation or simple slow and deep breathing can help you effectively de-stress when you’re overwhelmed in a situation. Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the body, and that extra oxygen has a calming effect on your mind and body.
Meditation has also been linked to an improvement in your concentration levels, helping you focus on important tasks at work. There is a range of techniques that you can use when meditating, depending on which one produces the most benefits for you.
For example, you can try focusing on a single point and removing all thoughts from your head. When doing this, you can also try to repeat a single mantra. This can help improve your concentration and help you feel more prepared for the start of each day.
Alternatively, you can try observing thoughts, without judgment, as they pass through your head. This can give you a greater insight into how you think, allowing you to introduce more inner-balance into your life. Finally, there is a range of classes and smartphone apps that you can try downloading.
We recommend doing 10 to 20 minutes of slow, deep breathing daily to prevent stress.
You can even try deep breathing inside of an isolation tank, an emerging de-stressing tool! Try following these steps:
- Sit or lie down in a quiet, comfortable place
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose, counting to 5
- Now proceed to hold your breath for a 5 count, and then exhale for 5 as well
- You can repeat those steps 5 or 6 times until you calm down or feel more relaxed
More Information: Meditation Techniques for Beginners
You might also like to try attending yoga classes more regularly. This will provide multiple benefits. For example, it’s a great form of physical exercise, allowing you to increase your flexibility. In addition, this exercise places emphasis on your breathing.
This will help you become more relaxed during the session. In addition, the physical nature of the activities will give you something to focus on when thoughts are racing through your head.
Listen to Music
Listening to music is another great way for you to reduce the amount of stress you experience each day. Try to lose yourself in some of your favorite songs for a few minutes, letting you take your mind off the stressful situation.
The melodies and lyrics of the music will make this task easier. In addition, your favorite songs are often linked to happy memories. By listening to then, you will be able to re-create some of those happier emotions.
This effect has been revealed in multiple studies, with music able to slow your heartbeat, reduce your anxiety, and reduce your blood pressure. If you want to release pent up frustration, you can also sing along.
Try a Gratitude Journal
In some cases, you might be able to reduce your stress levels using a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write down some of the things that you are grateful for that day. This can be as big or small as you like. Then, when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you can go back through the journal.
This will remind you of some of the positive things that you’ve been able to experience.
In addition, the process of writing down the things you are thankful for each night will remind you to look on the bright side of life.
Epsom Salt Bath
Stress causes low magnesium levels in the body as well as bumping up adrenaline levels – not a good mix if you’re under stress.
Epsom salt is especially high in magnesium, and magnesium is commonly regarded as the ultimate relaxation mineral.
What magnesium does very specifically in relation to stress is that it increases serotonin in the brain, and serotonin is the neurotransmitter related to a balanced mood.
Soaking up Epsom salts into your skin brings in added magnesium which helps to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and ease anxiety as well as less irritability, incidents of insomnia, and even abnormal heart rates.
- Mix 1 cup of Epsom salts with a few drops of a select aromatic essential oil and then add that to a hot bath
- Stir in your mix thoroughly so that the salt granules dissolve into the water
- Enjoy sitting in your hot Epsom salts bath for 20 minutes
- Schedule one of these 2 or 3 times a week
Drinking Chamomile Tea
Most people enjoy drinking a hot beverage, and making yours a chamomile tea is a good choice when you’re overly stressed. That’s because chamomile’s calming and soothing nature provides a nice sedative effect on the central nervous system.
It relaxes your muscles, eases anxiety, and promotes better sleep.
Sleeping well goes a long way in making your mind and body much more resilient in the face of stress.
Feel free to drink up to 4 cups of chamomile tea a day to combat stress.
Here’s how to prepare it:
- Add 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile to a cup of hot water
- Cover the mug and let the tea steep for 10 minutes
- Proceed to strain, and then add raw honey to sweeten as you like
- Consider adding some fresh chamomile flowers or essential oil to your bath to soothe your nerves
- Chamomile can also be ingested in supplement form, and they are usually found in any health store
An effective massage is great stress reliever for most people too. Strategic massage can help in opening blocked energy channels to reduce stress and boost your overall health, and having your massage focused on specific spots like your feet, hands, back, or head helps relax tense muscles, improve circulation, and suppress anxiety.
Incorporating sesame, coconut oil, or olive oil can really accentuate your benefits.
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Here’s how you do it:
- Warm your massage oil of choice slightly, not too much
- Apply the warmed oil to massage your forehead, back, shoulders, and neck
- Then move on to massaging the bottom of your feet
- Take a warm bath for at least 20 minutes
- Go through this process as many times each day as necessary to reduce stress
Additional Information: How Your Body Benefits from Massage
Supplementing with Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is botanically classified as Withania somnifera, and sometimes it is also called winter cherry.
Whatever you’d like to call it, it’s a staple her in Ayurvedic medicine and one that you should keep in mind for relieving stress as it’s definitely an effective herb for that aim.
That’s because it naturally lowers cortisol levels in the blood, and having a large volume of cortisol coursing through your body is very detrimental. Unfortunately, that’s what occurs when you are under a lot of stress.
You shouldn’t have much difficulty finding Ashwagandha, in either fresh root, dried root, or powdered or supplement capsule form.
A recommended dosage is 1 to 2 grams of fresh or dried root boiled in a full cup of milk or water, and then ingested 3 times per day.
It may be a good idea to talk to your doctor first, and keep in mind that pregnant women and young children should not consume Ashwagandha.
See Also: Ayurvedic Medicine for Stress
Supplementing with Holy Basil
Similar to Ashwagandha, Holy Basil is also a popular herb for Ayurvedic therapeutic treatments and is impressively effective as a natural anti-stress agent.
In addition, the fact that it is an adaptogenic herb allows it to enhance the body’s ability to naturally counter physical and emotional stress and continue to function strongly when exposed to stress.
Anyone can chew between ten to 12 fresh holy basil leaves daily, or if you prefer to ingest it with a beverage you can make holy basil tea:
- Place 1 tablespoon of fresh holy basil leaves in a cup on boiling water
- Cover the mug and let the beverage steep for 5 minutes
- Add a bit of raw honey, and then enjoy the tea by sipping slowly on it
Drinking Green Tea
Green tea contains L-Theanine, a wonderful amino acid that prompts your brain to produce greater numbers of alpha brain waves which initiate a reduction in stress levels and also encourages relaxation while improving focus and allowing you to be more mentally alert.
More specifically, drinking tea is beneficial for reducing stress in that L-Theanine plays an essential role in the development of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is one of the 4 primary brain neurotransmitters and the one most involved in promoting and ideal balance between stimulation and relaxation.
A proper balance here is very important for healthily dealing with stress and minimizing its effects on you.
Here’s how to prepare green tea:
- Add 2 teaspoons of green tea leaves into a cup of hot water
- Cover the cup and steep the beverage for 5 minutes
- Strain and then add fresh lemon juice and / or raw honey to sweeten as you like
Go ahead and drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day if you’re especially stressed!
Read More: Benefits of Green Tea In the Morning
Another effective folk remedy for stress is passionflower. Like L-Theanine, passionflower can increase GABA levels in the brain, and you experience less stress and anxiety as a result.
Passionflower is also most easily consumed as a tea. Prepare it as follows:
- Add 1 tablespoon of the dried herb to 1 cup of hot water
- Cover the mug and steep for about 10 minutes
- Strain, and then enjoy drinking this wonderfully therapeutic beverage
Passionflower can also be commonly found in liquid extract, tablets, or as a tincture. Again, it may be best consult with a doctor before starting with a supplement as it may interact with certain medications. Passionflower is not suitable for pregnant or nursing women and small children.
This one is a biggie.
Participating in vigorous physical activities has tremendous health benefits for the entire body, and it’s long been known that stress is washed away by getting your heart rate up and having a good sweat.
Whether it’s aerobic, moderate or high intensity exercise or resistance training, it will promote the release of beneficial hormones that put you in a much better mood for up to 24 hours afterwards.
Vigorous exercise also promotes your brain to produce BDNF, or brain-derived neurotropic factor. It’s pretty much a super fertilizer for your body that promotes positive growth and regeneration and optimizes body processes including the regulation of brain chemicals and processes that let you be more resistant to stress.
Then there’s also the fact that there’s a great deal of positive reinforcement to be had when you look in the mirror and see you’re in much better shape. Do your best to make a commitment to exercising, and be insistent with yourself that you do it regularly. You’ll be glad you did!
Additional Reading: How Running Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
Taking B Vitamins, such as by using the VitaminVape is also highly recommended for preventing stress and improving your mood. The eight of them — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 & B12 — facilitate proper functioning of your brain and nervous system, as well as helping to promote relaxation and pushing back against stress and fatigue.
Many times irritability, depression, and apathy are increased considerably when a person is vitamin B deficient. If you’re feeling any of those, you can’t go wrong taking additional supplementation with a quality B complex vitamin.
You can also incorporate more of certain foods into your diet. Foods that are high in B vitamins include whole grains, beans, peas, peanuts, avocados, potatoes, bananas, legumes, spinach and kale, black-strap molasses, eggs and dairy products.
If you’re considering taking B vitamin supplements, again it’s a smart idea to consult with a doctor first.
For More Information: Simple and Natural Tips for Eliminating Stress
Finally, having fun has been shown to be one of the best ways to reduce your stress levels. Doing activities that you enjoy will improve your mood. Also, if you incorporate other people into the activity, it can be a great way of building your support network.
This will allow you to discuss your experiences with other people and get their impressions. Often, they will be able to show you a perspective that you hadn’t considered before. When choosing what activity you should complete, you should try to choose something that will allow you to laugh, which releases Endorphins.
These chemicals have been shown to improve your mood, helping you feel happier. Laughing has also been shown to lower the amount of stress that you experience.
One of the best ways to have fun when you are stressed might be to invite your friends for a game of foosball. This will let you enjoy their company, have a fun game, and laugh. Also, by focusing on the fast-paced game, you will be able to take your mind off your stressors.
In addition, foosball is a great way to get exercise, to lower your stress levels even further. To make sure that you get the best equipment, you can use these tips on choosing the perfect home foosball table.