Stress is an almost inevitable part of life, and whether it is due to work, familial obligations, or finances, Americans have been looking for natural ways to reduce this anxiety. Below is a list of some popular and effective natural stress relief techniques to help you better manage and cope with daily stressors and anxieties.
Laugh. It may sound simple, but sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. A 2003 study found that laughing can ease feelings of stress and reduce stress hormones. So next time you feel under pressure, queue up that silly animal video that always gets a chuckle and laugh away the stress.
Indulge. There may be a lot of demands on your time, but you should always ensure that you’ve scheduled some for yourself too. Indulging in a massage, relaxing bath, or a trip to the sauna can help you unwind and decompress after a long day. This time to yourself can help reduce stress and give your mind time to rest.
Try aromatherapy. If you have a diffuser, adding a few drops of essential oil like lavender or rose can help soothe your body and mind. Aromatherapy can help promote the release of serotonin in the brain, combating stress-fighting hormones and leaving you more relaxed.
Love your pet. A cuddle with your furry friend may be just what you need after a long and stressful day. Studies have found that your level of oxytocin—one of the happiness hormones—rises when petting and playing with dogs. Couples with pets have been found to have notably lower heart rates and blood pressure levels. Scientists posit that people feel relaxed and happy when with their pets, as they are seen as a loving and supportive presence. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to pet your pup and let the stress melt away.
Start journaling. While journaling is a great way to reduce stress and let your feelings out in a safe and positive manner, it can also help you deduce why you are stressed in the first place. Therapist and counseling director Diane Lang recommends using the HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) method. Patients keep track of their daily water and food intake, quality and amount of sleep, as well as amount of exercise they complete, and reflect back on the week. For example, a long period of time between meals may have caused hunger, stress, and exhaustion due to a drop in blood sugar. If this is noted, patients can make an effort to eat more often and prevent these stress causing fluctuations.
Exercise. A tried and true method for dealing with stress, hitting the gym or going for a walk can help your body physically and mentally cope with stress. Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel better, while the actual act of exercising itself encourages closer and better communication between bodily systems that aid in stress reduction.
Eat better. A healthy and balanced diet full of fresh produce and complex carbs can help your body better deal with stress, as it will be better nourished. Starting with a breakfast like steel-cut oats topped with berries will not only give you a boost of energy, but the complex carbs in the oats promote the release of serotonin that calms your system.
Stress may be common, but it doesn’t have to be unmanageable. Stay on top of your stress by letting yourself laugh, taking time for yourself, trying aromatherapy, spending time with your pet, and exercising and eating better. These natural remedies can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and allow you to better cope and get on with your day.
Related: The Healthy Truth: How to prevent and avoid stress