Stress is one of the most damaging ailments that a person can face. It wreaks havoc on virtually all facets of life, impacting your emotional, physical, and mental health. When stress is chronic, it can lead to serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. It can also increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, gastrointestinal diseases, and neurological disorders; not to mention, chronic stress can also weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to illnesses and infections.
Everyone experiences stress on a daily basis. In fact, it’s actually a vital part of survival. Stress triggers the “fight-or-flight” response, which alerts you to danger and tells you how to react. However, if stress is triggered too often (becomes chronic,) it can lead to serious damage.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can ease your stress levels naturally, thus reducing your risk of suffering devastating consequences. If you find that your stress levels are starting to soar, try one of these 20 natural remedies to quiet your mind and ease your soul.
1. Try cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, fear and phobias, and of course, stress. CBT involves becoming mindful of your own thoughts and learning how to alter them. If you are feeling stressed, it’s likely that you are going through the list of things that could potentially go awry, or other issues that you might experience. Founded on the idea that your thoughts, physical sensations, actions, and feelings are all connected, and that negative thoughts can trap you in an unhealthy cycle, CBT aims to help you change your thoughts, thereby changing your reactions. This, in turn, can help to reduce stress levels.
2. Learn how to meditate
One of the most effective ways to lower stress levels is through meditation. It has been practiced for centuries and is a highly effective way to increase mindfulness and reduce stress.
Meditating involves clearing your mind of all thoughts and focusing on your surroundings, including your breath and the physical sensations that your body is feeling.
This action can help you detach from the things that are causing you stress, thereby helping you relax and feel more balanced.
You can meditate virtually anywhere, but a quiet location that is comfortable and free of distractions is the ideal setting.
3. Do some painting
Doing something that allows you to direct your nervous energy into something creative and fulfilling can be a powerful way to reduce stress levels. Painting is not only relaxing, but it also allows you to focus your thoughts on something other than the things that are causing you stress.
You don’t have to be an artist in your to appreciate the stress-relieving benefits that painting can offer. Simply grab some brushes, some paints, and canvas and allow yourself to create.
You might find yourself completely free of stress in no time; and you might find a new healthy hobby that you love.
4. Concentrate on breathing
While breathing is an involuntary action, which means everyone does it without thinking about it, you might not be breathing properly. Your breaths might be short and inconsistent, which means that you might not be expelling enough carbon dioxide and inhaling enough oxygen to cleanse your body.
This can compound your stress. Try doing deep breathing exercises. While exhaling, count to 20, and do the same while inhaling. Relax your diaphragm and focus on the sensation.
Your heart rate will lower and your mind will become much more relaxed.
5. Take a walk
Something as simple as taking a walk could provide a tremendous amount of stress relief. Whenever you feel your stress starting to mount, head outside, and take a walk.
Breathe in the fresh air, concentrate on your surroundings, and let go of the thoughts in your mind and the negative feelings that you are holding onto, both of which are contributing to your stress.
Listen to the sounds of nature, your breath, or your footsteps as the hit the pavement with every step you take. Walking can not only relieve stress, but it’s also great for your physical health, too.
6. Do some reading
If you are looking for a simple and effective way to lower your stress levels, give reading a try. Whether it’s a novel, a collection of short stories, poems, an anthology, or a magazine, reading can significantly reduce your stress. Why?
– Because when you are reading, you are concentrating on something other than the thoughts that have become trapped inside your head, and the fears and uncertainties that you are holding onto; all things that are contributing to your stress.
So, the next time you feel your stress levels rising, do some reading.
7. Try some Tia Chi
If you find it difficult to sit still and focus, you might find meditation difficult. However, there is a way that you can take advantage of the effects of meditation while still being able to move freely. The art of Tia Chi is considered moving meditation.
This practice is intended to calm your mind and strengthen your mindfulness. It involves practicing a series of slow motions and deep breathing. With each motion, you are able to focus on your body’s movements, which will allow you to clear your mind of the worries and fears that are causing your stress. Another benefit of Tia Chi?
– It’s great for your physical health.
8. Get in some exercise
If you aren’t into Tia Chi because you like a little more action than other exercises could help you lower your stress levels. Kickboxing, running, weight lifting, swimming, or any other form of exercise could prove to be a powerful way to combat high-stress levels.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which naturally boost your mood. Plus, when you exercise, you’re focusing your mind on your body and your surroundings, which means that you aren’t concentrating on your stressors, so your stress levels will come down.
9. Get some rest
Believe it or not, your stress could be mounted as a result of a lack of rest. Sleep is vital for both your physical and mental health. When you sleep, your metabolic rate slows, which allows your body and mind to repair itself. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are overrunning your system.
This could be damaging for a number of reasons; most notably, it can increase your stress levels. When you’re over-worked, you probably notice that you’re extremely irritable and short on patience.
When stress levels are high, give yourself a break and get some rest – or take a nap!
10. Take a bath
Another easy and highly effective way to relieve stress is by taking a bath. Fill your tub up with warm water and add some essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint. Dim the lights, put on some candles, and enjoy a good, long soak.
While you’re soaking, try to free your mind and really experience the sensations that surround you.
Feel the water, smell the air, and appreciate the calmness and tranquility that surrounds you. A 15-minute bath could do wonders for lowering your stress.