Once in a while (or maybe several times a day), everyone knows the experience of stress. Blood pressure elevates, nervous tics develop, and exploding in one way or another seems to be the only option. Our culture is loaded with type A personalities, anxious introverts, and a variety of elements that cause just about anyone to stress. Work and home life are typical major stressors, and given that we divide our time equally between them, it is essential to find a way to relax and conquer stress. Stress can make us feel out of control, and regaining that control is one of the many benefits you can gain from stress management. Stress can also result from positive, but important events. Our nerves still react in the same way.
So, skip the Xanax and discover a healthier, safer alternative to help you cope with stress in a real way. You have many options, and each of them are effective when used in tandem or separately. Implement a combination of several or pick one or two and stick with them. It is usually helpful to keep numerous tools for stress relief available to you, as some are not always the best options at all times. For example, exercise has great stress reducing qualities over time, but not when you’re in panic mode.
Try out different ways to reduce your stress and keep you balanced and find what works for you. Every body responds in its own way to each of these methods, so do some experimenting and find your most effective tools.
How to Treat Stress Naturally
It has been proven that people who are physically active have lower levels of depression and anxiety. Exercising provides a boost of energy and a rush of endorphins that feel great temporarily, and for the long term, it is argued that it can raise your levels of norepinephrine. Though this chemical is a stress hormone, responsible in part for the fight-or-flight response, having higher levels can help you manage stress better.
Any kind of aerobic activity helps, and the medical recommendation is to try to get in at least 30 minutes of it everyday to stay healthy.
Listen to Music
According to various studies, listening to music – notably classical or baroque – can help reduce stress and bring your mood up a notch. Other types of music can help, as well, including music with binaural beats. These recordings have been the subject of multiple studies, and have been shown as a promising source of relaxation. They form a beat at a specific frequency in the mind, and your brain synchronizes with it, giving you the ability to follow along an aural path to a calmer mood. You can achieve a meditative state by listening to these recordings.
Find out more or try binaural beats for yourself:
Herbal Teas and Elixirs
Track down the family of herbs known as adaptogens. These have been known for thousands of years to help alleviate stress symptoms, and have the scientific research to prove it. Adaptogens prevent your body from lowering its immune system functions when you’re experiencing any level of stress. Eleuthero, also called Siberian ginseng though it is separate from the Panax ginseng family, effectively regulates blood pressure levels and blood sugar levels, and has been known to stop stress from running off with all the vitamin C in your adrenal gland.
Other herbs in the adaptogen family include ashwaganha, schizandra, rhodiola, Asian ginseng, and American ginseng. If your stress levels are sensitive to the stimulant effect of ginseng, avoid these last two. Each of these herbs can be taken as a tincture or a tea, but doing so should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.
Did you know: the gates of the mind are sitting on the back of your neck. How convenient! Michael Reed Gach, MD, creator of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, CA, says that two points on the back of your neck can reduce stress, clear your mind, and pressing them can stop headaches in their tracks.
To open the gates, tilt your head back, place your thumbs at the top of your neck below the base of the skull, roughly three inches apart. Press these spots firmly buy carefully. Gach says, “You don’t want to press on the skull, but just underneath it… If your thumbs are weak or arthritic, use your knuckles instead.” While pressing, take five deep, slow breaths. Afterwards, let your hands slowly fall into your lap and allow your chin to relax into your chest, and take another deep breath.
The experience of laughing is healing in itself. It causes chemical shifts in your body that improve your mood and increase your well-being. Laughing and finding humor in life also helps keep you positive and helps put your worries in perspective. Whether you prefer a movie, book, or a phone call, prompting humor in stressful times is a beneficial pick-me-up.
Reduce Stimulant Intake
Stimulants increase energy as well as stress. You become more prone to let your thought race or allow your body to tense up when you are drinking coffee, smoking, or consuming any other kind of energy boost. Lower your caffeine and tobacco intake, and you will at least notice the jitters are gone, and maybe even lose that clenched jaw you were starting to worry about.
There are many other ways to reduce stress, including gaining control over your life, your finances, and being rational about goals and expectations. Getting organized and taking responsibility for your own life and your ups and downs is also helpful to long-term stress reduction. Take some time to yourself to relax doing whatever you enjoy. But mostly, make sure you find the best way to manage your stress before it results in some physical and emotional damage. See a therapist, a counselor, or another kind of professional if you need ideas with how to better cope with life situations or relationships. Finally, don’t underestimate a few deep breaths paired with positive thinking.
1. Whole Living. Stress Relief: Your Guided Tour.
2. Discovery Health. 27 Home Remedies for Stress.