8 Ways To Relieve Stress Naturally
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Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug
If only those stress balls made all of your stress vanish into thin air after a few squeezes. In the modern day society we live in, asking someone if they’re stressed feels like a rhetorical question. Surprisingly, stress is not as simple as you may think and it doesn’t always result in high blood pressure and a constant frazzled state. There’s healthy stress that’s good for you, there’s acute stress that doesn’t do much harm, and there’s chronic stress which can do serious damage.
When it comes to stress that’s getting in the way of your overall well-being and happiness, consider natural approaches to help you feel better and to get rid of unnecessary stress that’s weighing you down.
Have you heard about adaptogens? If you haven’t yet, you likely will soon. They are popping up all over the place and in a wide range of products. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that have been used for centuries to help the body “adapt” to stress. Adaptogens help to support a more balanced response to ongoing stress, regulating stress hormones and cortisol production. Ashwagandha, ginseng, maca and holy basil are four popular adaptogens that are great to start with. Buy them as is or look for them in food products, cold-pressed juices, kombucha drinks, teas and more.
2. Get a massage
When it comes to wanting to feel more relaxed, massage therapy is an obvious choice. Yet massages can be viewed as a luxury and overlooked for how beneficial they can be. Massage therapy has been shown to be a means by which stress can be reduced significantly on physical and psychological levels. So the next time you head out to the spa, drop any guilt you may have about spending the money because it’s for your health. Yes, as in, this is “for my health” for real. When it comes to what kind of massage, studies show a moderate Swedish Massage is far more relaxing, both medically as well as perceived by the client, than a deep tissue massage.
3. Stop checking your electronics chronically & be mindful about your social media usage
When you really take a step back and see how much time you spend looking at your phone and computer, it can be pretty eye-opening. And alarming. And maybe a little embarrassing. In an American Psychological Association survey, findings have shown that checking electronic devices causes stress. Stress from looking at the same thing over and over again is something you can easily get a handle on with mindfulness. Instead of peeping the screen all day, use that time doing something tangible with results. Or at least doing something you really benefit from.
You can waste so much time and energy on social media. From watching the drama unfold (wow! no she didn’t...), to the updates (they are there?! with WHO?!) to the pictures (haven’t seen you in 10 years but I know your entire life, no need to catch up, I got it) and you can’t seem to pull yourself away. Pull yourself away! It’s like a false universe that can unfortunately shape your reality if you let it. Completely axing social media may not be something you want or even need to do to stay social media stress-free, studies show quitting Facebook for as little as 5 days can lower your stress levels. Less screen time, less social media and you’ll likely be...less stressed.
4. Drink more water
Sometimes big problems can be solved with small solutions. If you’re not drinking enough water, this could be a major contributing factor to feeling stressed out. So sip up! Consider getting a water filter or a water bottle so you are apt to drink more. Being only half a liter dehydrated can increase cortisol levels. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Cortisol is a stress hormone and when you don’t give your body the proper amount of water that it needs, you put stress on your body and experience a negative response.
You hear stories all the time about how daily meditation practices changes people’s lives in the best kind of way and yet you still don’t invest time in creating your own practice. Yeah that’s me talking to me because I haven’t mastered doing it daily...yet. It’s on my goal list and I am going to make it happen. Meditation has been shown to release stress, lower anxiety and clear the mind. There are many different forms of meditation and I would think that finding the form that you enjoy the most will increase your chances of doing it often and getting the most benefit from it.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
According to the principles of aromatherapy, breathing in the scent of lavender essential oil or applying lavender essential oil to the skin transmits messages to the limbic system. The limbic system is a brain region known to influence the nervous system and help regulate emotion. Proponents suggest that lavender essential oil may help alleviate anxiety in part by inducing a calming effect on the central nervous system. If you like the scent of lavender, which is hard not to love, it’s worth a shot. Keep some on hand to see if it changes your reactions or helps calm nerves.
CBD is the epitome of a wellness trend on fire and one of its main marketing points is that it relieves stress. CBD is a key compound found in cannabis that has many of the plant’s medicinal properties, minus the high. Available in a many forms, there are a lot of different ways CBD can be incorporated into your life. Check out this CBD guide if you’re not in the know, it can help you learn more and decide what and where to buy it.
L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea is said to have anxiety-relieving powers. The main theory behind its ability to help you feel more calm and relaxed is by positively affecting our mood by increasing GABA production, boosting dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. It’s also believed to stimulate alpha waves which puts us in a more relaxed state. You can either drink green tea or buy L-Theanine in supplement form.