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7 Natural Ways To Relieve Stress
We’ve all experienced feelings of stress or anxiety at some point in our lives. And if you haven’t, um, how?! We all deal with stress to some degree every day; it’s a completely normal and generally unavoidable part of our lives. Whether it happens because of an actual crisis or just because we get overwhelmed from time to time, it's not something we can eliminate completely.
It is, however, something we can effectively manage and control with the help of a few handy and all-natural stress-relieving methods.
From brewing a warm cup of herbal tea to starting a gratitude journal, here are seven simple and effective weapons that can help when it comes to managing anxiety.
Physical exertion facilitates mental relaxation. When we exercise our body produces endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that help to improve our mood, sleep, self-esteem and generally reduce stress and tension. A walk around the block, or opting to take the stairs can be enough to reap the rewards, as according to research, as little as five minutes of aerobic exercise a day can promote a reduction in anxiety.
Each time we inhale an essential oil, the air travels up to the roof of our nose. Olfactory receptors then send a signal to the limbic system (the place where our emotions are processed) and it stimulates the release of certain chemicals in the brain that help us to relax.
Regular meditators (and scientific studies) recommend meditation as one of the most effective methods of stress management. With daily meditation, the brain will be rewired so that it is less reactive and better able to cope with daily stress, whether it be work, family or even traffic.
Whether it’s the soothing benefits of a fresh brew or simply the ritual of boiling the kettle and pouring yourself a cuppa, tea can play an important role in alleviating tension and stress. When it comes to reducing feelings of anxiety, chamomile, green, peppermint or even matcha have been praised for their relaxation-inducing qualities.
Putting pen to paper
Journaling is an effective stress management method as well as an excellent tool to explore and make sense of our emotions. Whatever form a journal takes for you, whether it's a gratitude log or a diary about our inner thoughts, journalling serves as a therapeutic means to help us problem solve and clarify our thoughts.
Consume less sugar, caffeine and alcohol
Many of us talk about having a glass of wine to "take the edge off" but one too many can worsen feelings of stress and anxiety. Alcohol changes our levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which is known to trigger anxiety. And that's before we even get to the "what did I do last night" feeling that follows a big night of drinking.
As far as sugar is concerned, it's responsible for the spikes and drops in our blood sugar levels, which directly affect our energy and mood. It is common for feelings of irritability and worry to accompany a crash in our blood sugar levels.
And please don't worry too much about your morning coffee, we are referring to caffeine in larger quantities. High levels are associated with a decrease in serotonin production, leading to a depressed mood, anxiety, and nervousness.
Eat more salmon, eggs, turkey and oats
These may seem like a random selection of foods, however, they each carry their own anxiety-reducing benefits. Salmon is abundant in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to support brain health and decrease stress by regulating levels of dopamine and serotonin. In fact, according to a Pub Med study, men who ate Atlantic salmon three times a week for five months produced lower levels of anxiety than those who consumed a diet of chicken, pork and beef.
Meanwhile turkey, bananas and oats are an excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan, which aids relaxation and anxiety relief. Other stress-relieving foods include yoghurt, almonds, dark chocolate, blueberries and chia seeds.
Main image credit: @mirandakerr
How do you manage stress and anxiety? Do you have any tips?