Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of workers suffer from work-related stress, and 55% of Americans are stressed during the day. A little stress from time to time is normal. It activates hormones that bring your body back into balance.
Too much stress, however, can have a detrimental impact on your mental and physical well-being. Your sleep suffers, your risk for heart disease increases, and your immune system weakens. Fortunately, there are natural ways to alleviate stress and improve your overall quality of life.
Exercise is one of the best natural stress-relievers. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are your own natural “feel-good” hormones. Regular exercise helps to lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. You feel better both mentally and physically. Those who engage in a routine are less likely to experience stress and anxiety than those who don’t. Pick your favorite form of exercise (running, going for a walk in the park, lifting weights, yoga, swimming, kickboxing, etc.) and create a new routine for yourself.
Meditation helps to bring more awareness to yourself. When you turn inward, you can slow your mind down and regain your balance and sense of control. There are many ways to meditate, so pick the method that works best for you. Common forms of meditation include:
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
Many people who are stressed turn to foods that aren’t necessarily the healthiest. Foods common for stress eating include foods that are sugary, high in fat, and overly processed. These foods don’t just lack good nutrients, they can also make stress worse.
If you’re feeling stressed and want something to eat, choose nutrient-rich foods as well as foods that help fight inflammation. A great nutrient to include is omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to support brain health and help you better manage stress levels.
Try a Supplement
Supplements, in addition to a healthy diet, can help to promote better health. Certain ones can also help you to better manage stress. For instance, magnesium and L-theanine can have a calming effect.
Herbal supplements and pure cbd oil can also be beneficial. Consider taking herbs such as:
Ashwagandha, which may be effective as some conventional medications to help combat stress.
Chamomile, which is commonly consumed as a tea. It’s frequently used to help calm feelings of stress.
Passionflower, which has also found to be just as effective as conventional medications.
Inhaling certain scents have been shown to have an immediate calming effect, reducing stress levels and boosting overall mood. Some can even increase focus at the same time. These scents activate the limbic system, which causes the body to release chemicals that calm you down and help you to feel more relaxed. Popular scents for stress-relief aromatherapy include:
There are a few ways to practice aromatherapy. You can light a candle or burn incense. You can diffuse essential oils without having to light anything. You can also dab a few drops of essential oil of your choice on a lava bead bracelet or necklace for stress-relief on the go.
For some, it can be helpful to put feelings into words. Keeping a journal and writing in it when you feel stressed can help you to identify patterns and determine what triggers your stress. This can then help you to figure out solutions to more effectively manage it.
Another good reason to journal: gratitude. Along with writing down what you’re feeling, take some time to write down the things you’re grateful for. Shifting the focus from the bad to all of the good things in your life can be an effective tactic for managing stress.
While some stress from time to time is normal, it shouldn’t run your life. Taking steps to deal with your stress can help you to better manage it and bring your life back into balance.