20 Ways To Reduce Stress NaturallyOn by
Life can be a lot of stress, work, relationships, money… these are only but a few examples which I’m sure we have all worried about at some point. When your stressed, it can really have an adverse effect on your health and the way you behave.
If you’re working or studying, it can really have an impact on your performance as well. Now, before we look into the strategies to reduce stress naturally, let’s understand what can happen to your body when your stress levels are too high.
Symptoms of stress can include:
• Overwhelmed, feeling like you’ve lost control
• Not being able to switch off your mind
• Low self-esteem
• Not socializing and avoiding other people
• Lack of energy and fatigued
• Stomach issues
• Muscle pain
• Increased heartbeat
• Sleepless nights
• Prone to colds and infections
• Shaking and nervousness
• Sweaty hands
• Dry mouth
What you should be looking out for:
Now the real kickers to look out for are an upset stomach, getting ill more often, and restless nights. You may find that during times of increased stress your stomach feels a bit off. This can be down to the mind and gut connection.
The gut is strongly connected to the mind and vice versa. So if you are under great stress your stomach will respond causing some gastrointestinal distress (which could be quite debilitating/inconvenient!)
Next off your immunity to common illnesses will decrease, consequently you’ll find you are getting ill a lot more often. This can be a real hindrance during busy times at work, or during exam periods for students.
Not being able to sleep at night will only add to these problems. Your mind will be so full of doubt, worry and anxiety. With your mind racing like that , there’s no way to get a proper nights sleep! And a lack of sleep will once again make you susceptible to illnesses and can really affect motivation, productivity, and mood.
To understand things further, when you are under intense stress, cortisol levels in your body can build up. This is bad news. Cortisol (the stress hormone) is generated from your flight or fight response and created by the adrenal gland. Studies have shown that people with high levels of cortisol have lower life expediencies and develop serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease!
We all have automatic healing and recovery systems within our bodies. Naturally, our bodies can fix broken proteins and get to work making us better when we are ill, without us even batting an eyelid. Now, the reason why cortisol is so bad is that it halts and hinders our body’s ability to recover!
Okay enough of the scary symptoms, let’s learn how to reduce stress!
We all suffer from stress from time to time, what’s important is how we cope with it. Taking a pill or drugs to help you is only a temporary fix. And can lead to further health problems down the line. It’s important to understand how you can reduce stress naturally!
Once you are able to manage stress you can start taking back control, and go after your goals with newfound motivation!
So read on to find ways to reduce stress naturally:
1) Clear your mind with meditation
Daily meditation can be a really big key to improving your mental health and reducing stress naturally. Studies have shown in people who meditate regularly that their neural pathways have been altered to become more resistant to stress!
So how can we meditate? Well, here’s a quick crash course:
Relax, either lie down somewhere comfortable or sit down somewhere nice. Now steady your breathing and keep with the same rhythm. Close your eyes and get ready to clear your mind. Start repeating a mantra along with the rhythm of your breath.
Say something like, ‘Everything is fine’ or ‘I’m at peace’. Repeating a positive mantra whilst meditating can really help clear your mind from other stressful distractions.
Whilst in this state you could also try visualizing being in a place you really enjoy and find peace. Personally I like to close my eyes and imagine I’m on the beach lying on the sand listening to waves gently come in and out. You visualize whatever you like, anything that makes you feel relaxed or happy!
2) Deep breathing techniques
This fits in nicely with mediation. Breathing techniques are great to help you relax and cope during high-stress times. Get comfortable and try to focus on your breathing. You should be breathing slowly and deeply. But pay attention, breath into your belly rather than your chest.
Place your hand on your belly and feel it move up and down. When we breathe like this we stimulate good digestion and relaxation. You will find subconsciously during times when your totally relaxed, you breathe deeply into your belly rather than short light breaths that pump your chest up and down.
These deep breaths help to lower your heart rate and consequently blood pressure! So next time your feeling way over your head at work, or maybe anxious about giving an upcoming presentation, start breathing deeply and relax.
3) Being present
This is all about focusing on your surroundings, taking your mind off stressful thoughts running through your mind. Have a try, notice how your body feels. The air, does it feel refreshing as hit caresses your face?
How do your hands feel as you slowly put them together?
Try to be more aware of the different sensations we encounter every second but have never stopped to experience them. A great way to implement this technique is to do this exercise when your eating. Slowly eat the food, instead of gobbling it down.
With each small bite, become aware of the different textures, take note of all the different flavors that combine. It’s a great way to relax and reduce stress naturally. Not to mention you will be able to enjoy your food even more!
So there we have it, enjoy the present moment, stop worrying about the future! Enjoy what’s happening right now, this is what it means to be present.
4) Connect with others
Talking to other people is a great way to handle stress. Friends and family are always there for you, sometimes during times of great stress, you just want to be alone. But sharing with others your problems and talking them through it can really help relax you.
They might even be able to help you see from a different perspective! Try to find someone you can talk face to face with, although a phone call is just as good. I would say text messaging wouldn’t really have the same effect though, just because it’s less responsive and much harder to feel the emotion through it.
Personally, after hard days of work, tasks are piling up and deadlines quickly approaching. I always find that talking to my friends about it can help me think through problems logically. It’s a great way to share the burden and feel much better about things.
So stop hiding away when you are stressed. Find someone you have a great connection with and have a nice chat. You will start feeling better instantly.
5) Be aware of how your body feels
Try and tune into your body a bit more. How does it feel? Start from the bottom of your feet, past your toes, and make your way up to your head. Do a mental scan of how it all feels. Does it hurt anywhere? Muscle pains, sensations… take a mental note of it all.
Doing this quick routine is a great way to reduce stress naturally because it focuses your mind on your body and something very simple. You will soon clear your mind of all the stressful thoughts racing through it.
6) Relax your muscles with heat
Part of being able to relax, is making sure your body feels comfortable. Now for this one, you may need to be at home to perform. What you will need is a heat wrap or even a hot water bottle.
When you apply heat to areas of your body, especially sections that feel aches and pain, you can start to loosen up those areas and feel some relief. The heat actually helps with the circulation of the blood flowing through your body. This gets rid of any lactic acid build-up.
Not only does this heat therapy help your body to feel some relief, by doing so you can gain some real comfort when you are trying to relax. There’s nothing worse than chronic aches and pains that only just contribute to your stress.
By releasing all of that tension in your body, you can also release your mind from all the worries you have. Let go of the tension, and let go of the stress.
Feeling great physically is just another way to help promote feeling great mentally. So heat therapy should definitely be one of your go-to methods to reduce stress naturally since its such a simple strategy to perform on yourself.
7) Have a laugh!
We’ve all heard it before, but the phrase ‘laughter is the best medicine’ can be so true! Having a good laugh, now by this I don’t just mean a little smirk or giggle, but a proper belly bursting laugh can be really good for you mentally and physically.
Laughing actually lowers cortisol, which we’ve seen before can have a major impact on your health. Laughing also boosts endorphins too. So whenever your feeling way over your head, then try and get out and have a good laugh.
A great example of how people use laughter to reduce stress naturally and quickly is during presentations and interviews. Of course these scenarios can be extremely stressful and can cause a lot of anxiety. However, people who give some really good presentations often start their introduction with a little joke.
Once you manage to have a laugh with the audience, your stress levels lower and you feel more at ease. Similar to job interviews, if your feeling really nervous in front of your interviewers, share a little joke with them (in good taste of course) and this can improve your likability as well as making you feel more comfortable in this stressful situation.
So just to kick things off for you, here are some suggestions for you to have a great belly laugh:
• Watch a comedy! Either a stand-up or a great comedy series. Some great shows to watch are, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Its only Sunny in Philadelphia, just to name a few.
• Enjoy time with friends laughing about the good old days, or silly things you’ve done in the past.
• If you do something silly, instead of feeling embarrassed (which will just add to your stress) just laugh it off!
8) Listen to some relaxing music
You can easily lower your heart rate and blood pressure when you listen to some relaxing music. If you’ve got a lot on your mind soothing music is a great way to reduce stress naturally. When you are at work or even studying, playing some classical music or if you prefer something with a very mellow instrumental beat is a great way to relieve some pressure.
To get you started, check out this tune on YoutTube:
It’s very easy to search for some amazing music compilations that you can just play in the background for hours! I like to use some visualization strategies briefly mentioned before and pretend I’m on a beach lounging around listening to this great music.
It’s very easy to quickly do a YouTube search for some ocean sounds, which can really help with your visualization and relaxation.
Even if you prefer some more upbeat music, this can also have a great effect on your relaxation. Beautiful uplifting dance music can be great for reducing stress naturally and inducing some endorphins. Bang on some loud music and let go for a while!
9) Get active
Exercise is a major key in helping to relax, At first, thought going to the gym or heading outside, especially if it’s a cold rainy day may seem like a bad idea. But Once you get moving you will instantly feel better. You can immediately improve your mood this way.
Many people say that when they are stressed out at work, the one thing they can’t wait to do is hit the gym. For some people, it’s not a chore, but a way to let go and release all of the built-up stress and tension! Personally I find going to the gym a great way to induce endorphins and feel great about myself and my body.
Even some very light exercise, such as yoga can be a great way to induce endorphins and reduce stress naturally. If you don’t have a gym membership don’t worry, just get creative. Go outside for a walk, jog, or run. And when you are finished why not do a few push-ups and squats.
Pick up some heavy rocks or fill some bottles of water to carry around to make things a bit more challenging.
A workout in general is an amazing way to help focus your mind on the activity you are currently doing. When this happens you briefly let go of all your troubles and worries that have built up throughout the day!
10) Be a little more grateful for where you are and what you have
Sometimes very trivial things can stress you out and build up anxiety. But it’s important to think about what you have already. keep it all in context. For example, you may be really stressed out about getting that promotion at work. Trying to get promoted means that you’ve been piling up extra work and have been staying late hours trying to improve your visibility in the office and show your worth to managers.
These can be really mentally tiring and stressful activities. But one great way to lower the expectation and reduce stress naturally is to finally feel at peace and be grateful for what you already have. So think about it this way, you are running around spreading yourself really thinly for that promotion when actually you already have a great position in the company, you are happy with your family at home.
You have great friends and enough money to keep you living quite comfortably. The promotion will be a great bonus but it won’t keep you happy for long, you will always want more and more.
It’s great to be ambitious, but sometimes you need to weigh up what’s more important in life. Go home and enjoy time with family, and work shouldn’t take priority over your health and well being.
Now, this is just one example. In your situation, you may have problems in a relationship that is causing your stress. Whatever the source of your stress, just remember to be grateful for what you have and realize how some issues can be very trivial and shouldn’t cause you any stress.
A great way to implement this method and reduce your stress naturally is to keep a journal. And write down all the things your grateful for every night before you go to bed.
11) Get some fresh air
If you experience a wave of stress suddenly wash over you, and you are not sure what to do. Then take a break. Going outside to grab a bit of fresh air is a great way to break up stressful scenarios.
Feeling the cold air waft on your face as you take some deep refreshing breaths can really put your mind at ease and reduce your stress naturally. The refreshing feeling and the change in environment is a quick way to easily calm down and take back some control.
12) Call a friend
Sometimes you just need to chat with someone. Don’t go it alone and handle all of your worries by yourself. Friends are there to help. And while they might not be able to directly solve your problem they will be able to help you see clearly and take your mind off it.
So next time your feeling anxious, go ahead and reduce stress naturally by taking time out to call a friend.
13) Logically talk yourself through the problem
Calm yourself down. This is a great tactic in a pinch when a problem arises. Your feeling anxious, burnt out and you’ve just had all of these issues piled up on you.
Before totally giving up and letting your cortisol levels rise. Reduce your stress naturally and really simply by talking yourself through the problems.
Why not even grab a scrap of paper and a pen, then jot down logically all of your worrying thoughts and problems. This is a great way to layout all issues you face and get them out of your mind and onto paper.
When you do this you can break down each problem and understand how you can deal with it. This also helps lighten your mind instead of trying to remember everything with a million thoughts racing around your mind all at once.
14) Eat nutritious food
A diet filled with fast food and unhealthy processed meals will make you feel sluggish and slow. It’s terribly bad for your health in the long run, and not only will you feel bad physically, but this has a direct impact on how you feel mentally.
Avoid unhealthy snacks filled with sugar which blur your mental clarity. Eat fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water. When your body feels great so does your mind. By changing up your diet you can reduce stress naturally and finally feel great again.
Why not integrate some more omega 3 fatty acids into your diet. These have been known to reduce stress naturally. Try a nice fillet of salmon with veg and rice. Fish is very quick to cook, so its not much effort at all.
It would be faster to cook that meal then order a takeaway!
15) Understand what’s really important in life
This directly relates to being more grateful for what you have. When your feeling really stressed close your eyes and think. Think about what you actually live for? Who is most important in your life? What is most important in your life. What do you have now in your life that means more to you then all of this workplace stress etc?
If you can answer these questions and realize that you have much more going for you, then you will stop feeling so stressed about the immediate scenario your in now. Maybe you are about to give an important presentation to a board of clients.
Your out of breath and feeling really stressed. But when you finally realize what’s important in life, this presentation is really put down into perspective. Messing up this presentation really isn’t the end of the world, is it? When you finally realize this, then you can dramatically reduce stress naturally almost immediately.
To put things into perspective and never forget what actually is important in life!
16) Go and drink some herbal tea
Instead of a coffee or an energy drink, why not grab yourself some herbal tea! Caffeine can actually cause a spike in your blood pressure. This will definitely not help you relax and lower stress.
Aim for some herbal teas, like peppermint or chamomile tea to reduce stress naturally. The antioxidants in the tea will have a calming sensation upon your nervous system and can really ease you. Not to mention they have so many other health benefits!
Check out some of these herbal teas you should be drinking: health-boosting herbal teas
17) Take a nap
This is one of my favorites. Naps are so healing. Now, remember always opt for a short nap. A long nap that lasts an hour or two can leave you sluggish throughout the day and will make it difficult for you to sleep at night.
Now sometimes it’s not possible for you to just take a nap, for example, if you’re at school or in a class. But if your fortunate enough to be working at home then a quick 20-minute nap is a great option to reduce stress naturally.
If you have a large list of things to do and your lacking motivation and energy, have a nap. When you wake up you will feel refreshed and have a new outlook on all the tasks you need to complete. Napping can also decrease cortisol levels. So nap away everyone!
Just remember to keep it short.
18) Get a proper night’s sleep!
When you are really stressed, you are unable to have a proper night’s sleep. This turns out to be just a vicious cycle. The less sleep you have the more stressed you are and the more stress you are the less sleep you can get!
During times of great stress, you need to make sure your well-rested and on top form. Eight hours of sleep are recommended on average. Take some time at night to organize a sleep routine and get ready for bed.
Open a window at night to let some cool air inside, which can really help with your sleep quality. And try not to eat meals too late at night. Trying to go to bed after a large meal can cause digestive issues which can keep you awake at night.
If you are looking for some more advice on how to finally get a good night’s sleep, then check this article out: 5 proven methods to get a perfect night’s sleep.
19) Set a goal or challenge for yourself
This may be an odd one, but a great way to reduce stress naturally is by setting a goal or challenge for yourself. When you are particularly driven to a goal, you harness a lot of energy and motivation.
You can see this in a lot of ambitious and driven people who have found a desire for the work that they do. They probably have work piling up, fast approaching deadlines, and very little time for themselves or to relax.
But why is it they don’t feel stressed? In fact, you can actually see some enjoyment on their faces!
When your passionate about something you don’t see extra work as a burden. This is what you want to do, and you are driven to accomplish your goal no matter what. To find your calling in life instead of slaving away at something you hate doing which only adds to your anxiety!
20) Get rid of any unhealthy habits
Reduce stress naturally, not with harmful substances which could give you a quick but very short term way out from the pressure. Alcohol, smoking, and drugs will ultimately cause you more harm than good in reducing stress levels.
By always turning to alcohol or drugs to reduce your anxiety you will feel horrible after the effects wear off and you will be in an even worse position.
But by practicing ways to reduce stress naturally such as all the points mentioned above then you gain coping skills and a better understanding of your body. Plus there are no adverse side effects!
So there you have it! 20 great ways to reduce stress naturally. Now next time your feeling way in over your head, remember to pull out some of these simple methods to get some instant relief!
Let go of your worries and relax. Your health is very important, and stress can have a major impact on it! Best of luck to you all and I wish you a stress-free life from now on.