Stress is a silent killer. You just don’t see or feel everything that it’s doing to your body. It’s often easier said than done, but you need to keep your stress levels to a minimum. You need to take steps to lower the amount of cortisol in your body and increase the number of happy hormones circulating.
There are plenty of natural ways to keep your stress to a minimum. This guide will go through all the natural stress relievers, including how to use them safely and when they will be best for you.
Start with Good Old Exercise
When we exercise, the body can release more happy hormones. The happy hormones help to relieve pain and reduce the stress on the body. They help to soothe muscles and get rid of the build-up of adrenaline. You’ll also increase blood flow and repair some of the damage that the stress has done.
Exercise is the body’s natural anxiety and depression remedy. It’s also healthy for you overall, so you want to start adding it to your lifestyle.
Of course, you can overdo the exercise. Too much is going to be just as bad as none. In fact, too much can sometimes be worse for you. Rather than releasing the happy hormones, your body becomes more stressed and fatigued.
Experts recommend that you do 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This breaks down to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you do high-intensity exercises, you could find that cutting the amount you do by half is healthy for you.
If you are looking to lose weight as well as reduce stress, you’ll want to increase the amount of exercise you do. Experts recommend doubling the daily amount for best results.
But why is being stationary so bad? Well, experts have found through studies that being inactive leads to something known an as stress-induced/exercise deficient phenomenon. The body can’t regulate the psychological and metabolic processes within the body effectively. This means you can’t manage your sleep/wake cycles and your moods. You’re more likely to release the stress hormones.
Exercise will also help your body regulate the blood sugar and insulin activity better. While this helps your overall health, it also affects your stress levels.
Try Yoga Instead
If you’re not interested in doing forms of exercise, then you’ll want to consider yoga. This offers the benefits of meditation and exercise at the same time. Yoga tends to be overlooked by a lot of outdoors people. It’s viewed as too slow to help boost the heart rate. While that may be the case, there are many other benefits.
The ability to reduce stress levels is considerable. Yoga encourages people to focus more on their breathing. They can work away from the fears and worries of the days, focusing on the way the breath improves the health and the blood circulates the body. There’s a soul-connection element to the exercise, which helps to further the stress-relieving benefits.
Clinical trials have shown that yoga helps people to control anxiety, heal their bodies, and improve their mental health.
It’s best to start with a professional yoga instructor to get the positions right. From there, you can start doing it from home or even out on the beach.
Listen to Music Throughout the Day
Did you know that listening to music can control your mood and your hormones? Think about the way you feel when your favorite track comes on the radio. You want to get up and dance. This is a form of exercise, but it’s more than that. A track that makes you happy forces the happy hormones to release into your body.
You can create a soundtrack of uplifting songs. Put on the ones that make you want to get up and dance, helping to improve the way you think and feel.
It’s worth creating a soundtrack for your workout. Not only will you take your mind off the pain you feel during the exercise and alleviate boredom, but you can also improve your recovery time, activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and improve the hormonal balance in your body.
Make sure it’s uplifting music. Putting on angry or sad music has been shown to have the opposite effect on your body and mind.
Opt for More Meditation or Devotional Prayer
Healing prayer and meditation have both been used throughout the ages for healing and reducing stress. They are continually used in herbal medicine even today and shown benefits for the overall physical and mental health. People can deal with anxiety, fears, and worries deeply, rather than just scratching the surface.
One of the biggest benefits is that there’s no need for a trainer, a program, or even a therapist. You can start following the two right now without any specialist equipment. If you’re worried about what other people will think, opt for it on a morning when you’re on your own or an evening before you go to bed, while everyone else in the house sleeps. You’ll soon realize that worrying about others just isn’t worth it when you can reap all the benefits.
Meditation helps to improve the amount of air that gets into your body. You can connect with your mind and soul, focusing on the way the breath fuels your body and rejuvenates all your organs. Devotional prayers help to put your faith in a higher being. You don’t need a specific religion to take advantage of this; just believe that there’s a power higher than you.
Practice either for 10-15 minutes at first. It will be difficult at first, but you’ll soon get used to it. You can do meditation while doing some yoga positions. The two works together extremely well to mend the mind and body.
Throughout the day, practice being more mindful. Slowdown in everything that you do and think about the way your actions affect others and yourself. You’ll feel the stress leave your body.
People who are more mindful will find it easier to lose weight, improve their alertness, overcome both physical and mental problems and much more. It’s possible to sleep better (which naturally helps to get rid of stress) and improve your attention issues that can cause stress in school or work.
Change the Way You Think
A major issue for people who are regularly stressed is their thinking process. Stressed people tend to be more negative. They hold the weight of the world on their shoulders, continually worried about what could come next. It’s time to change the way you think. Stop looking at all the negatives and look at the world more positively.
This is something that people find extremely hard. You get into such a habit of being pessimistic that being optimistic is a challenge. The negative views can come from deep-rooted pain and memories. You may have a lack of confidence that affects the way you see life.
If you’re struggling to look at the world with a glass half full approach, try something called cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT.This is something offered to many depression and anxiety patients. People go to therapy classes, where they learn new techniques to overcome their disorders. People have overcome eating disorders, depression, insomnia, addiction, and much more. Therapists help patients cope better with stressful situations, changing the way they think and act rather than relying on older techniques.
The challenge is on changing your thought processes. You’ll need to change the way your mind and body react to problems and situations. Part of this is finding out what you currently do; looking at the behaviors and habits that you currently follow.
By acknowledging your negative habits, you can make a conscious effort to change them. This can help to settle within your subconscious mind. It does take time to see results, but it does work.
The benefit of CBT is that you’re not completely removing stress from your body. The therapists acknowledge that this isn’t possible. In fact, stress is good in small doses as it helps to set off the fight or flight response when you’re in danger. The therapists help you change the way you react. You can help to lower your stress levels naturally and even help to keep the amount of stress in your body to a minimum.
Focus on a Diet that Reduces Stress
Did you know that the food you eat will affect your stress levels? With a slight change in your diet, you could change the hormone balance in your body. By eating the right foods, you can support the release of the good hormones and keep the negative ones to a minimum.
You want to opt for a diet that is full of minerals, vitamins, healthy fats (yes, fats!), and amino acids. You need to add more antioxidants to your diet, as well as electrolytes and filling foods. By fuelling your body in the right way, you’ll support the muscles, improve cognitive abilities, and look after your overall health.
B vitamins are among the best for natural stress relief. They tend to be overlooked, but you can get them from poultry, fish, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and beef. B vitamins like folate will help to improve the cognitive functions and protect the nervous system from damage. These are the reasons for pregnant women being encouraged to take in more folate while carrying a child to term.
Opting for more high protein foods will be good for your stress levels, too. You want full proteins, which include all the essential amino acids. While meat and eggs are the best options, you don’t have to eat animal products. Quinoa and soy are two excellent alternatives when you want a meat-free or animal product-free diet. Proteins help to build muscles while improving the neurotransmissions around the body.
As mentioned, healthy fats are a requirement. Reduce your stress levels through more omega 3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. You can get them from sardines, salmon, avocados, olive oil, and nuts. The fats will help to support the health of the brain while improving the flow of the blood around the body. When all the organs are working effectively, the body doesn’t need to release as much stress! You’ll also reduce the risk of damage when there are high levels of stress in the body.
You’ll also want to add more magnesium to your diet. This mineral is important for muscle relaxation, headache relief, and more. You’ll find it easier to sleep, and it will be much easier to release the happy hormones into your body. Opt for more nuts, cruciferous vegetables, beans, legumes, and dark leafy greens for healthy sources of magnesium.
Meanwhile, you’ll want to avoid the foods that tend to add more stress to your body. Sugar and processed foods are the worst for you. Not only do they add ingredients that increase your stress levels, but they offer absolutely no nutritional benefits. They are full of empty calories that increase your blood sugar levels, negatively affect your heart health, and cause fatigue and energy crash throughout the day.
Caffeine is something that you’ll want to cut down on, along with alcohol. These two will just make anxiety worse and will leave you dehydrated and jittery. They increase the amount of stress and adrenaline in your body and contribute to depression and other mental illnesses.
Green tea is the only caffeine that you need to add to your diet since in small amounts it can be beneficial. Green tea is much lower in caffeine than black tea or coffee. It offers other nutritional benefits, too, including increased metabolic rate and muscle relaxation. You can opt for herbal teas, which can also help to reduce stress. Look out for peppermint or ginger tea for the best stress-relieving benefits.
While you need to take in healthy fats, you want to cut down on the saturated fats in your body. Switch the vegetable oils to olive or coconut oil. Vegetable oils are full of omega 6 fatty acids, which contribute to inflammation and metabolic damage. They increase the bad bacteria levels in your gut, affecting your overall health and stress levels negatively.
Try Acupuncture for Stress Relief
Acupuncture has been an herbal remedy for all types of health problems for centuries. It’s an ancient Chinese practice and is known for relieving headaches, back pain, digestive problems, and much more. It’s also used to help relieve stress, which will in turn help to relieve most of the issues already mentioned.
Studies have shown that acupuncture helps to support the immune system. It increases the number of T-cells produced, keeping illnesses at bay and reducing inflammation within the body. This helps to offer a range of health benefits, including reducing stress and improving the release of happy hormones in the body. It can also improve the cellular immuno-responses.
You will need to find someone who is well trained in the art of acupuncture. It’s something you’ll want to do at least once a week for best results. Talk to the therapist about why you’re getting acupuncture, as it will affect where the small needles are placed.
Increase Your Sociability
Humans are naturally social creatures. Solitary is used as a punishment within prisons not just for the safety of other prisoners, but because it is detrimental to the human mind. We need to talk, joke, laugh together, and much more.
If you want to reduce the amount of stress in your body, you need to spend more time with friends and family. There are so many ways that you can do this, whether it’s walking in nature, playing board games in the house, or even going for meals together. Make sure you spend the time talking, laughing, and being around each other.
Being outdoors with others can certainly offer extra benefits. When you’re outside, you get more fresh air, which means more oxygen flowing around your body. The sound of birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees can instantly help to lift moods.
Track Your Mood and Thoughts
Remember that we tend to be creatures of habit. Those negative thoughts are developed over time. One of the best ways to overcome habits is by looking at the way we act and the things we do. We can also overcome stress by looking at the reasons for the stress.
Keeping a journal is a powerful way to overcome stress naturally. You can jot down all your emotions, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and more. It’s possible to write down everything negative and positive and then look at your life objectively. Take yourself out of the thoughts and read them back to yourself.
Journaling is extremely easy to do. You just need a book and a pen. There’s no need to follow a set layout. Do what works for you, whether you journal daily or opt for every few days. Just make sure it becomes a habit.
Another benefit of journaling is staying organized. You can make a note of appointments, organise deadlines, and jot down important dates. You’re one step ahead in your life, no longer doing things at the last minute. This instantly relieves stress, as you’re no longer worried about missing deadlines or events.
Don’t Forget the Long Hot Soak
Another amazing method for reducing stress is to have a long soak in the bath. The warm water mixed with essential oils or Epsom salts will do you a world of good. You don’t just reduce your stress but look after your skin, mental, and physical health.
Let’s just start with the water first. The heat of the water will help to relax the muscles naturally. When the muscles are warm, they don’t shiver or tense up as much. Just by releasing the tension you can reduce the stress levels in the body. After all, stress happens to help keep your body alive and working.
Using Epsom salts and essential oils can help to add vitamins and minerals to your body. The minerals soak through the skin and straight into the bloodstream, helping them to spread around the body much quicker. You also have amazing looking skin, which helps to boost confidence and change the way you think.
There’s also the relaxation benefits of essential oils. You get the smell of them from the bath water, helping you to sink deeper into relaxation and boost the happy hormones. It’s amazing what the sense of smell can do for the mental health!
It’s Time to Relieve Stress Naturally
There’s no need to take medications to lower your blood pressure (a side effect of high-stress levels). You don’t need to take things to release the right hormones and create a good balance. You can reduce your stress levels naturally and promote the release of happy hormones. It’s all about following the right lifestyle.
We tend to be creatures of habit. We get into a pattern of negative thinking and find it hard to create new, healthy habits for ourselves. Follow the tips above and try to get out of your old ways. Some of the tips will require professional help, but there are many others you can start in your right now.