A huge number of people struggle with stress and anxiety to some degree, but when these issues become a daily drain on your motivation and mental health, it is time to act. When we feel stressed, the body releases the hormone cortisol, which triggers our fight or flight response. This is useful in some situations, but over the long term, it can cause serious physical and mental health problems. While we cannot always avoid stress, there are ways we can alleviate the symptoms. This guide outlines some effective steps you can take to ease stress and/or anxiety in your life.
Exercise your body
Through exercise, we put the body under stress which sends a signal to the brain that we are in pain. The brain then releases endorphins to reduce pain while relaxing and calming us. Exercise has also been found to reduce the presence of the stress hormone, cortisol, and improve the quality of our sleep, which makes us better at coping with stressful experiences. Find a type of exercise which you enjoy and are more likely to be able to incorporate into your regular routine.
Use natural supplements
There are lots natural supplements which have been linked to the alleviation of stress and anxiety, including green tea, kava kava, valerian root, lemon balm, omega-3 fatty acids, and CBD or cannabidiol. CBD is found in the cannabis plant and has been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, but it does not provoke the psychoactive ‘high’ associated with cannabis (which is brought about by a separate chemical called THC). Visit www.solutionsbydrdave.com for a range of CBD products.
Express your emotions
Keeping your worries bottled up inside is only going to intensify them and create more stress in the long run. Instead, try to find a creative outlet for your feelings, whether you keep a diary, write stories or poetry, create art, or use music. It can help to refocus your energy and enable you to vent your frustrations more productively.
Heaps of caffeine in your diet can lead to heightened anxiety, so it may be worth reducing your intake. Caffeine is in coffee, energy drinks, and tea, as well as chocolate. According to the FDA, adults should not exceed 400mg of caffeine per day, which is around 4-5 cups of coffee.
Spend time with loved ones
Humans are social by nature and being around people who make you feel safe and secure can reduce our stress levels. This means that being around friends and family and feeling that you are part of a group or community can improve your self-esteem and reduce anxiety. Physical contact such as cuddling, kissing, and sexual intimacy can also trigger the release of oxytocin and reduce cortisol, both of which will lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Try breathing exercises
In addition to the release of cortisol, some of the physical symptoms of stress include a faster heart rate, rapid breathing, and restricted blood flow. An efficient way to combat this is to practice breathing exercises. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system which relaxes the body. Breathing exercises involve deep breathing which uses the diaphragm and the stomach and slows the rate of breathing.