Why Are You Stressed?
Demanding jobs, tight schedules, social commitments, kids – life happens and with its many ups and downs life can get the better of us. With lots of activities to fit in and life moving at an ever faster pace, it is hardly surprising that we experience stress.
Stress doesn’t only affect your mood and general outlook on life, it can also expose you to adverse health conditions, affecting your immune system and increasing the susceptibility of the body system to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and even death. Find out more on how stress affects your health here.
Fortunately, you can control the level of stress you experience. While you may not have absolute control over all the circumstances you face, you can decide how you react to them.
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or adrenal fatigue it’s extremely important to reduce your stress load in order to heal. Finding ways to do this naturally and incorporating some of the top 10 ways to relieve stress below into your daily life will greatly increase your overall well-being.
Stress may be one of the main reasons you ended up with fatigue issues in the first place, making it even more crucial that you find ways in your daily routine to create a healing practice to de-stress.
So How Can You De-Stress Naturally?
When stressed many people reach for alcohol or drugs, gambling and over eating as ways to find respite from stress and may be indulging in these activities unconsciously not realizing that by their actions they are attempting to relieve the stress they’re feeling.
If you want to find an alternative to these unhealthy habits and a natural way to wind down, here are the top 10 ways to relieve stress naturally.
Try incorporating a couple of these suggestions into your weekly routine first. As you gain confidence and start to feel some benefits, gradually add some more, or try adding the first couple you chose into a more frequent daily routine.
Some of the suggestions will suit you better than others, as with all things, it’s individual. Pick some that appeal to you and stick with them for a while until they become a natural and beneficial habit. You’ll soon work out what you find beneficial and enjoyable.
1. Take A Walk In Nature
When was the last time you stepped outdoors without a specific reason? Not to walk the dog, or to run errands at the mall nearby, but to take a short revitalizing walk?
Taking a walk in a natural space is a great mind-boosting activity that can help you zone out of your current craziness and connect with the world around you.
The sense of serenity and breath of fresh air provides for calm as you walk along, you may even find yourself meditating on what should be your priorities.
Try to find a nearby park or beach area. If you have to, drive a short distance, then get out and walk for a while, even a short 20-minute walk is beneficial. Let your mind wander and take in your natural surroundings. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as you walk. You’ll find your mind start to calm and a sense of peace return.
2. Sleep Well
Even when you think you are completely relaxed, the mind can quickly drift. Stressful thoughts about the day’s events, career demands and relationship matters, can keep you from fully relaxing as your mind continues on its ceaseless whirl.
In the midst of all of these thoughts, we often underestimate the powerful effect of sleep. A silent few hours of restful sleep allow the body to recover, recharge fully, and be prepared for the next day.
Sleep is a natural and effective therapy that takes care of your physical, emotional, and mental well being. It is the ideal non-medication treatment for stress. To understand the importance of sleep you can read more here.
3. Breathe Deeply
No, it’s definitely not as bad as you think. While it is only normal to experience stress after a hard day’s work, getting yourself worked up about being stressed out only adds to the stress cycle. Deep breathing is a simple and natural way to reduce tension and fill your body, its organs and cells with fresh oxygen.
Deep breathing also sends a signal to your adrenal glands that you are safe, the stress is over and they can stop working so hard pumping out all those stress hormones.
Take a few minutes, say 5 minutes to breath in deeply for a count of 6 before exhaling all of it out to the same count. This simple exercise can help you have a clearer view of your situation and give you the relaxing and calming feel you’ve been looking for.
Try adding this deep breathing technique during your walk, you’ll double the stress busting benefits.
Again, this is another simple one here and yes, it is really simple and really effective too. Smiling creates a feeling of happiness, giving you a positive view about your situation. Simply smiling at your colleagues in the office is enough to help you realize that things are definitely not too bad.
It changes the surrounding energy too. A smile now and then can help you have a better perspective on life. So be positive today and smile your stress away.
5. Reduce Screen Time
It’s time to take a break away from your laptop/computer/pad or phone screen, and walk away from the emails and texts for a later time. You don’t always have to spend long hours into the night working and replying to work emails.
A recent study found that a high percentage of people look at their phone screen within 5 minutes of waking up. The latest and admittedly great advances in technology mean we are all ‘connected’ and contactable 24/7. It’s up to us individually to practice some restraint and just step away from those screens.
Truth is, the more time you spend on your computer, the more it takes over your life, causing you stress and anxiety. You can always check your email after having a good night’s rest, it’ll all still be there when you get back to it later.
Taking some time out from your monitor is one of the easiest and simplest ways to de-stress naturally and prevents the screen from taking over your life.
Although meditation has long been known for use in sacred ceremonies and to gain enlightenment in Eastern countries, it’s now gone mainstream and is commonly used for stress reduction and relaxation in western countries.
Being a simple and inexpensive way to connect the mind and body, producing a deep state of tranquility and inner peace, it does not require any special equipment or skills.
Whether you are waiting at the doctor’s office, taking a walk, or on your commute, you can practice meditation. All it requires is focus, taking your mind off any lingering thoughts and worries and allowing your mind to still.
A regular meditation practice can help you react more calmly to situations you would normally find stressful and even help manage symptoms of certain ailments. It can improve your emotional well being, clear information overloads, and positively impact your overall health.
Interestingly, these amazing effects do not end with the meditation session but last long into your day’s activities and help you navigate your way through difficult situations.
There are many guided meditation practices you can download into your phone. This can help newbie meditators get into the swing of it all.
Put your earbuds in, get comfortable and drift off into your meditation practice each day. Carrying out meditation daily and slowly increasing the time of each session you’ll become a regular meditator in no time particularly once you start feeling the benefits to your health and general outlook.
7. Live Mindfully
Live in the moment with an open mind, aware of all aspects of your experience, negative, positive and neutral. Look at the world and those in it with a sense of curiosity, acceptance and non judgement.
Simply observing a situation with awareness and acceptance helps you stay calm and focused, shutting out any worries and regrets about the past and uncertainties about the future.
“A noble person is mindful and thankful for the favors he receives from others” – Buddha
Have you ever come across certain people who seem to be able to maintain a positive outlook despite whatever may be going on around them? Like everyone, they experience the bad and good times, but they choose to focus on and appreciate the good times even in the face of negative situations happening in their lives.
Yes, gratitude can reduce stress. How so? Can being appreciative for what you have experienced really make you happier?
Studies have proven this to be the case. Research has shown that a daily gratitude practice can lower stress, help you sleep better, help you fight depression, and make you happier.
Gratitude involves focusing on what you have, rather than placing attention on what you do not have. It involves finding satisfaction from situations, people, and activities around you that make your life meaningful and worthwhile.
Before drifting off to sleep each night remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for in your life. You can simply tick them off in your mind, or take time to journal them each night.
8. Eat Well
For some, feelings of stress can cause us to grab for just any food and sometimes overeat, in an effort to get relief from the stress we are feeling. The comfort you feel from eating can bring your stress levels down.
Unfortunately, we go for the wrong foods most of the time, reaching out for junk foods at the slightest feeling of distress. But these sugary or high calorie foods have a way of tricking us into thinking they make us feel better.
Eating right, eating healthy, and making it a conscious decision can be a great source of true stress relief.
Foods that can help us de-stress naturally include:
Leafy Green Veggies
Leafy veggies such as spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli rabe, and kale are rich in folate – a compound that helps the body produce the feel good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that enhance the mood.
There are times when you crave chocolate – and having some is not a bad idea. A small portion of dark chocolate helps to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and the antioxidants it contains can relax your blood vessels, improving your circulation and lowering blood pressure in the process.
To get the best results, select chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. Keep in mind though, that dark chocolate contains high calories, so be careful about the portion you eat.
Wild Caught Salmon
The omega-3 content in salmon is a great mood enhancer. Omega 3 fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that help in fighting off the body’s stress hormones. A study showed that participants receiving Omega 3 supplements had a 20% reduction in anxiety levels compared to those given a placebo. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/237508.php
9. Do Yoga
Many people think yoga involves twisting and stretching the body into different seemingly impossible shapes, but this is not the case. While there are complicated yoga exercises, there are simple ones too. People with varying degrees of ability can find a yoga practice to suit them.
Yoga poses help to loosen the body’s tense muscles relaxing the areas that carry the most stress include the neck, back, and shoulders. But other parts of the body such as the wrists, jaw, fingers, and the face can still benefit from yoga stretches.
Yoga stretches involve more than just physical exercises. To get the best of your yoga-time, it would be ideal to focus not just on your body, but on your mind and breathing. You discover more about your emotions, mind, and body, helping you approach situations with a calm, balanced, and focused mindset.
You can choose a more energetic practice to get you going in the morning, or a slower gentler practice in the evening or after work time to help you relax. Start slowly, even a 20 minute practice can start to impart it’s healing effects with regular practice.
10. Take Regular Holidays
With the hustle and bustle associated with our daily commitments, stress can build up to the point of damaging various bodily systems e.g., your hormone and immune systems, and sometimes it can be really difficult to overcome this stress.
For your overall health, taking time out to relax is very important to maintain your inner peace and balance.
In our fast paced and competitive world where everyone seems to be reaching for bigger, better and just more of everything we are all working harder and longer hours to keep up.
But nobody, not even the most energetic and hard charging individuals can compete at the top of their game without taking regular breaks to de-stress and re-charge.
Take holidays as often as possible so you can unwind and take some time away from the never ending list of commitments and deadlines.
Visit beautiful resorts, take trips to that site you’ve always longed to visit, go to a spa. This can help you maintain an easy-going, stress-free lifestyle, gain clarity and help you focus on what important priorities in your life really are.
Putting It All Together
Try out a few of the ideas above and see what works best for you? Adopting natural de-stressing strategies can help you keep your mind calm and your body healthy.
Actively making a decision to reduce the stress in your life by using some of these de-stressing techniques will not only make you healthier, but happier.
Stay happy! oh……and feel free to leave a comment below.