Tips for All-Natural Stress Relief June 15, 2017 08:42
Bottom line: managing your stress can save your life! Good news—there are some simple, natural steps you can take to stay calm.
Stress can sneak in as a passenger on your monster commute, then tag along for the rest of your hectic day, or it can announce itself loudly with a sudden loss or illness. And while we typically think of the winter holidays as stress ground zero, summer vacation often delivers more angst than relaxation.
All that tension wreaks havoc on our bodies, and rates of anxiety disorders and stress-related mental illness are on the rise. High levels of stress hormones also trigger increases in inflammation, upping your risk for serious illnesses, such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease.
If stress is negatively impacting how you feel, sleep, or eat, try the six scientifically backed strategies below:
Green tea protects against multiple stress-related conditions, from cardiovascular disease and obesity to cancer and type 2 diabetes. Green tea also does wonders for your mood with L-theanine, an amino acid proven to decrease anxiety and blood pressure. Just don't forget to switch to decaf after lunch... (Not keen on the taste of matcha? Try supplementing with green tea extract.)
Working out is a great way to lift your mood in minutes! Research proves that people who exercise at least two to three times a week have considerably lower levels of stress, depression, and anger than those who exercise less often or not at all. Plus, you don't have to toil on the treadmill for hours to get results—burst training (a.k.a high-intensity interval training.) can help you feel better in no time.
If chocolate calls your name when times are tough, there's good reason! Antioxidants in chocolate called "flavanols" boost brain function and decrease stress hormones, leading to improved focus and a greater sense of calm. To fight stress naturally, try eating two to three ounces of dark chocolate a day. (Dark = 75% cacao or higher)
I witnessed the amazing benefits of lavender firsthand when my son was in the hospital recovering from a serious accident. Even when he was in a deep coma, applying lavender essential oil to his feet lowered his blood pressure and heart rate. No surprise that a series of studies prove lavender is a natural antidepressant, with the ability to balance your mood, alleviate pain, and inhibit seizures and migraines. Feeling stressed? Take a bath with several drops of lavender essential oil added to the water.
Whether you're tense or not, there are plenty of reasons to load up on omega-3s! These amazing fatty acids have been proven to improve brain health, decrease inflammation, and muscle building. Recent research also shows omega-3 fats are helpful in reducing symptoms of mood and behavior disorders and healing traumatic brain injuries. Not getting high-omega-3 foods like tuna, salmon, berries, avocado, and flaxseed every day? Consider taking a hight-quality fish oil supplement.
There is healing power in laughter. A hearty chuckle loosens your belly muscles and triggers the release of endorphins, your body's natural feel-good chemicals that produce a sense of well-being, lower stress, and even provide pain relief. As a matter of fact, one study showed that folks who laugh a lot actually live longer! (Consider all those cute puppy videos your daily stress prescription.)