Striving to relieve stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults say they feel stress or anxiety daily. However, stress is manageable and can sometimes be avoidable.
Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
- Firstly, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
- Secondly, physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
- Thirdly, people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise.
Consider supplements to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Lemon balm: is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that people who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.
- Ashwagandha: Is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it’s effective.
- Green tea: Contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits. It may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin level
- Valerian: Root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety.
- Kava kava: Is a psychoactive member of the pepper family. Long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is used to treat mild stress and anxiety.
Light a candle
Using essential oils or burning a scented candle may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety. Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:
- Roman chamomile.
- Orange or orange blossom.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety. Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day are considered a moderate amount.
Write it down
One way to handle stress is to write things down. While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for. Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
For a super easy and quick stress reliever, try chewing a stick of gum. One study showed that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing and lower stress. One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.
Spend time with loved ones
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times. One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.
It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long run, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood. A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted. Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Learn to say no
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. Being selective about what you take on and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load can reduce your stress levels.
Learn to avoid procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating. Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality. Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Work on the things that need to get done today. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Take a yoga class
Yoga has become a popular method of stress and anxiety reliever and exercise among all age groups. The styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind. Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness. In addition, some studies have examined yoga’s effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation. A recent study suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress and anxiety. Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.
Listen to soothing music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones. Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels. Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
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