According to the Center for Disease Control, 90% of illnesses have stress as a component of the cause. Dealing with stress is crucial to regaining your health. Stress is defined as circumstances or event-driven mental, or emotional tension and pressure.
One of the facts that you should know, is that one of every 5 adults between the ages of 21-50 is suffering from stress or anxiety. It is so common, that it has been dubbed as the illness of the modern age, a title that no other illness has claimed
Another fact that you should know is that stress would affect almost every adult at least once in their lifetimes.
So, being such a widespread condition raises the question, is it a good idea to deal with stress over long periods of time using pharmaceutical medications?
The answer, of course, is no. Prolonged use of any medication should never be your base plan to deal with stress, add to this the fact that no pharmaceutical products come without a hefty price to pay in side effects, and you get the picture of the necessity of using alternatives.
That being said, are there any alternatives to help you relieve your stress naturally?
The answer is yes, there are plenty of alternative ways to deal with stress, which even your psychiatrist would recommend.
So, let’s shed some light on the best alternatives ways to deal with stress.
First, let’s categorize the alternative ways to treat stress into life practices, physical and mental exercises, and natural supplements.
Life practices to help you relieve your stress naturally:
Now, let’s dig into these alternative methods to learn more about them, helping you to select what best suits you.
Before going into the exact practices that might help you, you should know that stress is mainly caused by relentless lifestyles and the fast-paced circumstances lead by this lifestyle. So, the main way to reduce stress is by changing these stress-inducing life practices. And here we will give beneficial life practices to reduce stress:
- Enjoy time with the family: Dedicate at least 15% of your waking hours to family-oriented activities, especially ones that promote you and your family’s interactivities such as daily discussions about the events of your day or a family oriented board game and activities that put you in a relaxing atmosphere.
- Go out for a daily walk: If possible, walk to work once in a while, or from work. Enjoy the scenery that would usually be omitted while in transport. Notice the people that are going on with their lives in a peaceful manner and contemplate their roads.
- Spend time with friends who are not from the work environment: Especially old friends that you got separated from, by time, work or both.
- Pursue at least 20 minutes of meditation in the work environment: use a small portion of your lunch break just to relax and breathe out your fatigue. Close your eyes. Picture a pleasant setting. Control your breathing.
Physical and mental exercises to help you relieve your stress naturally
Not only do athletes and meditation gurus enjoy better health, but they also enjoy less stress and more fulfillment from those same practices. As a general people who exercise have fewer cortisol levels in the blood than non-exercising individuals. And people who meditate enjoy higher levels of serotonin than people who don’t. Next are essentially physical and mental exercises to help you deal with stress:
- Cardiac exercise: a 5-15 minutes daily routine of cardio is guaranteed to elevate your serotonin and endorphins, and both help to place you in a better mood. Plus exercise reduces the stress-inducing hormone of cortisol, which increases your blood pressure and traps water in your body stressing your kidneys and heart.
- Jogging or running: Another easy practice to squeeze into your daily routine, which has even faster effects than a cardio in dealing with your stress. Again, 5-15 minutes would be an easy enough segment of time to manage.
- Meditation: nobody is demanding from you to perfect the lotus position, all you need to do is give 20 to 30 minutes of your day, enjoying relaxing music while closing your eyes and emptying your mind. It might not be easy to enjoy the practice, but by the passage of the time, you can enter into a relaxed state in no time.
- Breathing exercises: Hyperventilation followed by holding your breath has a calming effect because of the carbon dioxide and lactic acid wash from the blood following these exercises. Best to be done 2 minutes in the morning and 3 minutes by the end of your day. Breathe deeply and quickly 30 times to the count of “one thousand one, one thousand two…” Then just rest in the well oxygenated glow of peace.
Natural supplements with stress relieving properties
Ancient medicinal herbs and herbal extracts are revisited in our times, due to the fact of their proven effects for thousands of years and to the readily accessible way of using them with the least noticeable side effects. Some of these herbs have already been modulated in tablet form after extensive studies to prove their effectiveness. Next, we detail some of the most prominent ones:
- Turmeric: A spice plant used for medicinal purposes for around 4000 years in Southeast Asia. The active substance curcumin which is a natural polyphenol is the reason for having turmeric in this list. Studies proved that curcumin can reverse the long-term effects of stress on the brain cells, and it also enhances the growth of new brain cells which has huge effects in treating stress, anxiety, and depression. Volunteers who took it for its stress-relieving effects reported continuous improvement in their quality of life that puts turmeric as a foremost player in relieving stress. Doses are between 400-500 mg once or twice daily.
- Lemon balm: A member of the mint family, if used as a tea has excellent effects on relieving stress and anxiety. Widely used in Asia and the US for this purposes with reported success.
- Kava kava: The root of the Piper methysticum shrub, which has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries in Europe and the South Pacific regions. It has been compared in some studies to benzodiazepine in the effect on anxiety and stress relief. Usually introduced in low dosages once or twice daily.
- Cordyceps mushrooms: A fungal growth that nowadays is grown on soybeans, but can be found in nature only in the harsh high altitude environments of China, Tibet, and Nepal. Used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 1500 years as a general health tonic. It was found in studies than it enhances exertion by 20% without the added fatigue symptoms, it was also found to decrease stress-related cortisol levels. It improves fatigue, dizziness, cold intolerance, tinnitus, frequent nighttime urination, low libido, and memory loss in elderly people at a dose of 3 grams per day. Dosage is between 2-13 grams daily, this variance is because European practitioners recommend 2-3 grams daily while the Chinese ones recommend 3-12 grams.
- Citrus: Have you ever smelt the zest of a freshly cut citrus? The effect is fast and sudden; you will generally feel good and invigorated. The presence of the powerful antioxidant, vitamin C in all citrus fruits helps to decrease general physical stress and elevates the mood especially in PMS and pregnancy-related stress. In a study done in Brazil, sniffing the essential oils of sweet oranges have helped volunteers endure better a stressful test with long-lasting effects even after the test was finished.
- Chamomile: Another ancient practice of drinking chamomile tea for treating sleep disorders have proven correct in our time. A cup or two once daily have been found to decrease bloatedness and induce calmness facilitating sleep, a problem facing most stressful individuals.
A compact and fast guide to relieving stress using alternative health. May it help you reduce your stress naturally.