8 Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally
Stress is a major, yet seriously underrated, health problem around the globe. According to a national survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), one-third of Americans live with extreme stress and nearly half (48 percent) believe that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. Although some short-term stress may be beneficial—as it can increase alertness, performance, motivation and inspiration—chronic stress can cause negative health effects, including headaches, insomnia, weight gain, anxiety, pain, and high blood pressure. That said, stress management is an important tool for health and wellness and, while it’s almost impossible to eliminate all of life’s stressors, there are many ways to relieve stress. So, without further ado, here are 8 ways to relieve stress in your day-to-day life.
- Exercise Regularly
Exercising on a regular basis in not only important for physical health, but it can also have a significant impact on stress levels, mood and cognitive function. Researchers believe that exercise has such a profound effect on stress since physical activity increases the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins—a hormone that works to relieve pain and create a feeling of well-being. So, next time you feel stress coming on, take a walk, practice yoga, go to the gym, or participate in whatever physical activity you like to do to get your heart pumping!
- Get Enough Sleep
The quality and amount of sleep you get greatly affects your mood, energy levels, concentration, and overall quality of life. So, it’s not surprising that getting enough sleep can also help to relieve stress. If you are one to have a hard time falling or staying asleep, some powerful bedtime rituals include:
- Deciding on a set bedtime
- Turning off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime
- Reading a book or journaling
- Practicing meditation
- Listening to calming music or a podcast
If you have tried any or all of the above practices and still find yourself up late at night, consider taking a sleepy time herbal supplement. One of our favorites is our own Lights Out Sleep Tincture, which uses an array of herbs that are meant to promote deep sleep and relaxation.
- Practice Meditation
Meditation is a practice that involves training your attention and awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Practicing meditation can instill a sense of calm and peace, and quiet the stream of thoughts that may be causing unnecessary stress. In fact, meditation has been scientifically proven to alleviate stress when practiced on a consistent and regular basis. When the mind is able to be more open and less reactive, you are better able to cope with life stressors and, in turn, become less affected by them. Some tips to start your meditation practice are:
- Meditate first thing in the morning
- Start with just two minutes a day for a week
- Don’t worry too much that you’re doing it wrong
- Get a meditation app (our favorite free app is Insight Timer)
It’s important to remember that meditation isn’t always easy or peaceful, but when practiced on a regular basis it can have a huge effect on stress levels and overall wellbeing.
- Follow a Healthy Diet
What you put into your body has a significant impact on physical, mental and emotional health. A balanced diet can support the immune system, lower blood pressure, and provide the extra energy needed to cope with stressful events. Additionally, research suggests that certain foods may help regulate cortisol levels—the primary stress hormone produced in the body—as well as help to manage the physiological impacts caused by stress. These stress-busting foods include:
- Antioxidants- this includes foods like fruit, beans, kale, and dark chocolate
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids- this includes foods like fish, avocados, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nuts
- Gut-healthy foods- this includes yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and turkey tail mushrooms
Implementing these healthy and nutritious foods into your diet will fuel your body with what it needs and, in turn, result in reduced stress levels and promote overall well-being.
- Take Herbal Supplements
Taking herbal supplements can be an easy and generally inexpensive way to reduce stress. With an endless amount of herbal supplements on the market, choosing a product that can effectively reduce stress can be overwhelming and may, ironically, increase your stress. One of the best, natural stress remedies is our own Let it Go Stress Relief Tincture. This tincture is specially formulated to help soothe the nervous system and instill relaxation by using a combination of stress-relieving herbs including:
- Holy basil—counters metabolic stress through normalization of blood sugar and blood pressure, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function.
- Linden—mimics the activity of gaba-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical in the brain that inhibits excitability in the human nervous system and, in turn, promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
- Reishi mushrooms—contain properties that nourish and calm the central nervous system and promote relaxation.
- Rose buds—known for their ability to calm the nervous system, making them useful for relieving stress, anxiety, insomnia, and other neurological issues.
- Rhodiola—considered to be a strong adaptogen that helps the body respond to stress, anxiety and fatigue.
- Passionflower—boosts the production of GABA in the brain, which work to lower brain activity and promote sleep and relaxation.
- Astragalus—contains strong adaptogenic properties and helps to protect the body against physical, mental and emotional stresses.
- Practice Self-Care
Practicing self-care is extremely important in all aspects of your life. Not only will you feel happier and healthier, but you’ll notice that your stress levels will diminish. There are many forms of self-care that you can implement including:
- Physical Self-Care – this includes how you are fueling your body, how much sleep you are getting, how much physical activity you are doing, and how well you are caring for your physical needs.
- Social Self-Care – this involves cultivating, maintaining and building relationships. If you like to read, join a book club; if you like to play sports, join a sports league; if you like to get physical, go on a hike with some friends.
- Mental Self-Care – this includes doing activities that keep your mind sharp and engaged, such as doing puzzles, learning a new subject, or reading a book. Mental self-care also involves thinking in a positive manner and practicing self-compassion and acceptance.
- Spiritual Self-Care – this involves developing a deeper sense of meaning, understanding or connection with the universe.
- Emotional Self-Care – this includes becoming aware and identifying what you are feeling, and allowing yourself to lean into those feelings in a way that honors yourself and your emotions. Some examples include journaling, talking to a Health Coach, Life Coach or spiritual mentor, meditating, and practicing gratitude.
- Find a Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance involves the level of prioritization between personal and professional activities, with the goal to minimize work-related stress and maximize health and well-being. For many people, working too much can cause a lot of stress and potential burnout. That said, finding a healthy balance between work and life is extremely important and can significantly improve your quality of life. A healthy balance might look like:
- Meeting deadlines and goals at work while still having time for friends and hobbies
- Having time to take care of your body, such as getting enough sleep and eating well
- Not bringing your work home
- Prioritizing your top tasks and executing them first
These practices are seemingly simple, yet wildly powerful when it comes to relieving stress in both your professional and personal life. Click here to learn more about the steps you can take to improve your work-life balance.
- Minimize Screen Time
In this day and age, it is almost unavoidable to stray from smartphones, computers and/or tablets for most people. While it is often necessary to have these devices, many studies are linking excessive screen use and “iPhone addiction” with increased levels of stress and mental health disorders. While ditching a screen may be unavoidable—especially at work—you can start by minimizing screen time in your personal life. You can do this by replacing social media and Netflix with other activities, such as reading, playing board games, or spending time in nature and/or with loved ones. Not only will your stress levels diminish, but your brain will thank you for the change in activity.
Life can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. These 8 ways to relieve stress are some of the best and most effective tools for stress management, and implementing them into your life can be extremely profound. Not only will your stress levels decrease, but you will also feel happier, healthier, and more emotionally attuned. When all else is said and done, stress is a choice and only you can take full ownership on how you choose to let outside experiences affect your inner peace and well-being.
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“Stress a major health problem in the U.S., Warns APA.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2007, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2007/10/stress.
“Work-Life Balance.” Mental Health Foundation, 21 Sept. 2021, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/w/work-life-balance.