Surprisingly enough, biological stress as a disorder was only “discovered” in the 1950s, when endocrinologist Hans Selye identified and started documenting it. Even though symptoms of biological stress have been around probably since the beginning of humanity, Selye’s discoveries led to research that is now helping millions overcome stress.
We live in stressful times, and that’s no novelty to anyone. Long working hours, trying to maintain a social life, eating well, sleeping enough, finding time to do things for yourself; and there are only 24 hours in a day.
Studies show that stress is only as bad as you perceive it and has much to do with the type of mindset you greet it with. If you think of it as something enhancing, something that can actually help you move forward, it becomes much more bearable. But how do we get there?
Stress can help you be productive, but only if you don’t allow its negative effects to push through. The following techniques are meant to help you keep stress under control and use it as a powering source to thrive in your day-to-day activities.
Exercise as often as you can
There are no words to describe how effective exercising can be when it comes to combating stress. It is one of your most powerful and easily accessible weapons, which is why you need to use it as often as possible. It may not sound like it, but by putting physical stress on your body, you can get your brain to forget about mental stress.
Be it yoga, a simple 15-minute workout routine that you do in the morning, or going for a jog a few times a week, physical activities that involve repetitive movements and put pressure on large muscle groups can work wonders in combating stress.
When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Working out can help reduce your body’s cortisol levels and release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and aid with mood improvement. Your sleep quality can also be negatively affected by high levels of stress, an aspect that exercising can help combat.
Give your brain a boost with the help of supplements
We are used to doing things all by ourselves, but sometimes your body and brain need a bit of help to continue functioning properly. There are many natural supplements that are known to be stress-relievers, such as:
- Green tea – besides being very refreshing, green tea also contains polyphenol antioxidants, which help lower stress and increase serotonin levels. Green tea also contains caffeine, but in much smaller doses than a typical coffee, which can help give you a milder and less chaotic energy boost to tackle stress.
- CBD – numerous studies have found CBD to be one of the most powerful natural supplements when it comes to fighting stress or anxiety. Using CBD sublingual supplements, such as natural CebeDot strips/ thin films, which allow the substance to enter your bloodstream faster, can help reduce stress levels, improve sleep, and contribute to your overall wellbeing.
- Lavender – often used in aromatherapy, lavender can help with a number of stress-generating issues, such as insomnia, allergies, cramps, and even anxiety. Lavender can either be used as an essential oil, or as a natural supplement in the form of capsules or tea.
Surround yourself with calming scents
Scents have a very powerful effect on your brain, which is why aromatherapy has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia, stress, menstrual pain, and even stomach aches.
When it comes to relieving stress, burning a scented candle, lighting an incense stick, or using essential oils can help you relax, inducing a sense of peacefulness and making stress disappear in an instance. Various scents can help you achieve peacefulness, each with its own healing properties. Lavender, rose, bergamot, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood are known to be especially soothing and can help induce a calming effect.
Aromatherapy is known to have even more powerful effects when combined with other stress-relieving activities such as meditation, a warm bath, or massage. You can make a little spa in your bathroom by lighting up some candles, using some scented body products, and taking a long meditative bath.
Make some changes in your diet
Sometimes, change needs to come from the inside. If you want your body and brain to work at their most, you need to give them the proper fuel. Adjusting your diet can help kick stress out the door with little effort.
Caffeine, for example, is known to give you a well-deserved energy boost, but consuming coffee, chocolate, or energy drinks in high doses can actually work against you. High caffeine intake can make you feel too energized and actually trigger anxiety, as your brain is too alert to the stimuli around.
When you are stressed, you are also prone to chaotic eating. Some people end up eating too much, also known as compulsive eating, while others skip meals because they experience loss of appetite. If you feel the need to snack on something, make sure to have some fruits, nuts, or healthy snacks around. On the other hand, if you lack appetite, trick your brain by treating yourself to your favorite meal, or something you know you would like to eat.
In simple words, mindfulness is a practice that helps you stay in the present moment. Techniques such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness breathing can help you acknowledge stressful thoughts, embrace them, and then let them go.
When you are feeling too stressed, a simple breathing technique, called mindful breathing, can help you get over the overwhelming sensation you may feel and switch to problem-solving mode. Find a quiet spot, take a comfortable position, and start focusing on your breath. Feel the air entering and leaving your lungs, and whenever a negative thought crosses your mind, acknowledge it, but let it pass and go back to your breathing. Two to three minutes of mindful breathing can help you get into the present moment and allow your mind and body to relax.