Stress is a natural and common feeling that affects everyone at some point in their life. Stemming from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry or nervous, stress is not a great feeling and everyone has a different reaction to it. If you’ve been feeling high stress and it’s affecting you on a daily basis, it’s important to know how to reduce stress naturally. All of these techniques are simple yet effective ways to combat stress. Try them out to see which ones work best to make you feel more relaxed and healthier all around.
How to Reduce Stress Naturally
Meditation is a great way to combat stress. Taking time for yourself, combined with deep breathing and relaxation can help eliminate the jumbled thoughts in your mind that may be causing stress. It’s a technique you can use to get centred when you’re feeling overwhelmed and helps restore the body to a calmed state.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress naturally. Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol, and helps release endorphins, which improve your mood and act as natural pain killers. Exercise can also help improve your sleep, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
3. Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine and feelings of anxiety and stress go hand in hand. The more caffeine you drink, the more likely you’ll start to get jittery or anxious. Everyone can tolerate a different amount of caffeine, so get to know your limit and make sure not to go over it, or try cutting out caffeine altogether.
Yoga offers amazing mental and physical benefits and has stress-reducing effects on the body. It lifts your mood, enhances mindfulness and forces you to take time out of our day to focus on yourself. Yoga promotes relaxation and decreases the secretion of cortisol, making you feel happier and more relaxed.
5. Eat Well
When we feel stressed, we often resort to eating junk food. We forget to eat well and reach for sugary, fatty and fast foods to make us feel better. However, these types of foods tend to do to the opposite. They taste good in the moment and may give us a temporary sugar rush, but then we crash. Plan ahead and eat lots of fruits and vegetables and protein. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce stress, so fish is also great to eat. Limit your sugar intake as much as possible and stick to seeds and nuts for snacks.
6. Spend Time With Friends and Loved Ones
Surrounding yourself with your friends and loved ones is helpful during stressful times. Talk to them about what’s stressing you out and they’ll often help put things in perspective. Good relationships are a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and supportive friends will always be happy to help in times of need.
Writing down your feelings is a therapeutic practice. It allows you to organize your thoughts and can help you realize why they’re affecting you so deeply. You’ll get a better understanding of what’s going on inside of your mind, which in turn can help you identify effective and healthy solutions.
8. Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils in your home or office can help keep stress levels at bay. They create a calming effect, and although they’re not a cure-all, they’ve been shown to lower your cortisol levels and help you relax. Some of the best oils for stress are lavender oil, rose oil, peppermint oil, bergamot oil and lemongrass oil. Use a diffuser to create the perfect environment for relaxation and stress release.
Laughing is truly the best medicine, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It’s good for your health and improves your immune system and mood. Laughing relieves your stress response, relieves tension by relaxing your muscles, and releases endorphins. Hang out with people who make you laugh or watch a funny TV show or movie.
10. Get Outside
Getting out into the sunshine will make you feel happier and less stressed. Exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin, which is known as the happiness hormone, and it also makes you calmer and more alert. Try to make time to get outside once a day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It can make a major difference.
11. Spend Time With Your Pet
Having a pet can be a major stress reliever. They boost your mood and reduce stress by giving you a purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship. If you have a dog, you have to get outside to take it for walks, forcing you to take breaks, relax and enjoy time together. Interacting with pets can help release oxytocin, a chemical that promotes a positive mood.
12. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Unfortunately, stress can lead to sleepless nights, but lack of sleep can also result in higher stress levels. Sleep is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle, so practicing healthy sleep habits is essential. Try your best to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Turn off screens at least an hour before bed, read a good book, meditate and allow yourself to relax before trying to sleep. You can also try listening to relaxing music or nature sounds to help you fall asleep.
13. Don’t Rely on Alcohol
While having a couple glasses of wine or a stiff martini can help you unwind and feel relaxed in the moment, alcohol can negatively impact your emotional health. It’s a short-term fix that can lead to long-term problems, and isn’t the healthiest way to cope. Feeling hungover will make you feel even more stressed and lead to lower productivity the next day. Having alcohol in your system also prevents you from getting the deep sleep necessary to feel rested in the morning.
Stress is a common human reaction that can affect your everyday life. Try these tips and hacks to reduce stress and feel better all around.