NATURAL WAYS TO TREAT STRESS & ANXIETY
Stress and anxiety are the unfortunately uncomfortable side effects of an over stimulating
environment, tight deadline, turmoil in relationships and friendships: pretty much any situation in
which you begin to worry. When you’re unsure about the outcome of an uncontrollable
predicament that you find yourself in, your brain begins to analyze and fixate on all of the
terrible ways that something could go wrong. This worrying is commonly known as being
stressed. Although stress might seem to have afflicted nearly everyone you have ever known at
some point, it’s more dangerous than many care to acknowledge. Chronic stress can quickly turn
into a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder as well as your physical health. Symptoms of stress
and anxiety include headaches, nausea, shakiness, shortness of breath; even cardiovascular issues
like heart disease, high blood pressure, and more when left untreated.
So, since stress can have such a negative affect on your life, what are some ways that it can
be naturally treated without medical intervention?
As silly as it seems, laughter has incredible short and long term benefits for stress relief
and total body health. In the short-term, along with elevating your mood, laughter Mayo
Clinic writes that “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your
heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.”
Additionally, your stress response lowers, making you feel relaxed mentally and
physically. In the long term, laughter has been shown to boost your immune system and
prompt your body to create natural painkillers, relieving physical pain.
With that being said, try to incorporate things that make you laugh into your personal
habitat. Put funny magnets on your refrigerator, rewatch your favorite comedy movie and
make a night out of it, invite your friends over (Covid-19 permitting) and play a silly card
game together. Making it a point to enjoy yourself and allow yourself to have fun will not
only make you feel happier but it will naturally alleviate your stress levels- the only side
effect is having fun!
Check out our blog post on meditation and make time to simply breathe and be with
yourself. If one of your major stressors is time management or you’re experiencing stress
and anxiety in the short term you do not need to find the “perfect” meditative
environment for your practice. Sit in your car, at your desk, try to slip outside for a brief
moment and just breathe for at least a few minutes. If you’re actively practicing relaxing,
your body will begin to recognize when it’s time to chill out and find its center during
- Talking to yourself and others!
The stress that you feel and any anxiety that results from it is a product of your
imagination. Worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and how its outcome
might affect you in the future is your brain working to put pieces together and make
assumptions. When you allow these anxious thoughts to sit in your head, they fester,
growing increasingly debilitating. One of the easiest ways to relieve some stress is by
vocalizing how you feel. As soon as you express your anxiety out loud, whether you’re
talking to yourself or to a trusted individual, you are able to process how ridiculous your
worries can truly sound. Stress is based in reality but only to a certain extent. Allow
yourself to laugh at your stress and anxiety!
- Learning to say “no”
This is one of the most effective ways to actively reduce stress. Although it’s not always
an option, having the ability to say “no” gives you power over your own schedule and the
things that you need to accomplish. Make a list of your priorities starting with the nearest
deadlines. Your list should consist only of things that you absolutely need to get done
with no exceptions. Once you have a clear idea of the most important aspects of your
upcoming schedule, assess how you feel. If you already feel overwhelmed and stressed,
do not accept any lesser valued assignments until you have completed your listed tasks. If
you feel comfortable with the amount of work on your plate, allow yourself to pick up a
few lesser valued tasks that do not have upcoming deadlines.
Although it can be uncomfortable, allow yourself to turn down tasks and opportunities
that will hinder your ability to focus on what’s most important to you. You will not miss
out on anything besides an anxiety riddled, overwhelming experience that disables you
from doing your best work.
- Working on motivating yourself
Motivation is key when trying to prevent stress. Stress and anxiety only worsens when
you aren’t motivated to work on what is causing you stress and anxiety. To help with
motivation, try adopting a daily routine. Get out of bed at the same time every day and be
in bed at the same time every night. Make a checklist of everything that you need to get
done in a day the night before- make it realistic! Do not set unrealistic expectations of
yourself or your tasks will not get done on time and your motivation will plummet. Try to
incorporate more activities into your routine like going on a 15 minute walk every
morning before breakfast and reading a chapter of a book before bed. Just by moving
your body habitually your mind will wake itself up and recognize that it should be aware
and energized, increasing your focus and allowing you to stay on task.
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle
Adopting a healthier lifestyle does not have to mean a complete transformation of your
eating and exercise habits. By substituting healthy ingredients in your favorite recipes,
drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day, and moving your body in any way you can you
can greatly improve your health and therefore your stress levels. Aerobic exercises
including swimming, running, or even taking a brisk walk, can release endorphins which
help you maintain a positive attitude. Reducing the amount of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine
and excess food that you consume can also be essential for good health. You do not have
to run marathons or take on a highly restrictive diet, just remember that your physical and
mental health are not entirely separate and when you provide your body with
nourishment and exercise, your mind will thank you.
Stress is inevitable but it does not have to be debilitating. Remember that there is no end-all
solution to stress and anxiety but working on building healthier habits and prioritizing your
physical and mental well being will never have negative side effects when done correctly.