Tips to Treating Stress, Naturally
Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. Stress is essentially unavoidable, it has a way of rearing its ugly head and debilitating you. However, stress, just like anything else, is manageable. In that regard, we have curated a list of tips and tricks to relieve stress.
Listen to music
We find music a powerful took to battling stress. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a breather and get your headphones in. Play your favourite song or any relaxing music like the sounds of the waves crashing ashore. Studies have shown that playing tranquil music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
Light a candle
Aromatherapy and the usage of pure essential oils are synonymous with relaxation. You can also try burning a scented candle to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety. Look for soothing scents such as:
Talk it out with a friend
Sometimes, ringing up your best friend can just do the trick to relieve stress. After all, what are good friends for? It’s a relief to talk about your problems and what’s troubling you. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
Research has shown that there is a close relation between a proper diet and stress levels. It rings true because when we are sad or overwhelmed, we tend to reach for sugary confections or snacks to make ourselves feel better. Though it’s easier said than done, snack on fruits and vegetables and eat fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.
Another thing you want to swap out is coffee for a large dose of caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure and may contribute to your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive. Green tea is a good substitute with less than half of the caffeine levels and even comprise healthy antioxidants and theanine — an amino acid which calms the nervous system.
Exercise (even for a minute)
When we say exercise, we don’t mean power lifting at the gym. It could be as simple as taking a walk around the office or stretching your body during break time to seek relief in times of stress. Working out and getting your blood pumping can actually release endorphins and uplift your mood almost immediately.
With every breath that you take, release the stress when you exhale. Conscious breathing proves helpful, having practised for centuries by Buddhist monks during meditation. This method is easy to practise no matter where you are. Sit up with your feet flat on the ground and hands on top of your knees. Take a deep breath; all the while concentrating on how your lungs expand with air. Slowly exhale. Repeat this as many times as need be to oxygenate your blood, centre your body, and clear your mind.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks in which high consumption can lead to anxiety. Listen to your body when taking caffeine. If you notice that you’re jittery or anxious, your body is telling you to cut back. Although studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
Yoga, an ancient Indian practise has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise. While there are various yoga styles, most share a common goal, to join your body and mind. This is achieved by increasing body and awareness as you go through each pose. The effects of yoga have been backed by research, enhancing mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety. In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety is related to its effects on the nervous system and stress response. It could also lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate and increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) — a neurotransmitter that is lowered in mood disorders.
Practising meditation brings short-term stress relief and stress management benefits in the long run. There are different variations of meditation for you to explore and find one that works for you. Just like how you practise breathing in the office, you can carve out some time in the day to practice mindfulness, which is being in the moment and paying attention to you surroundings, like what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.