Stress and anxiety are all to common in the modern world. In fact, up to 70% of adults say they feel stressed or anxious on a daily basis. There are many ways to combat stress of anxiety, but if you’re having a bad day and need a quick fix, here are some quick ways to manage stress and feel more relaxed.
Exercise is one of the simplest ways you can relieve stress. It may make you scratch your head, but actually, the physical stress that you put your body through during exercise can actually help to relieve mental stress. Try to work out regularly to reap the most benefits. This is because of stress hormones. Working out and moving your body can reduce the stress hormones in your body, and can also release endorphins, which improve your mood.
Working out can also improve sleep quality, which can be a major cause of stress. Think about your mood the last time you didn’t get enough sleep - the two are very intricately connected! Exercise can also boost your confidence, and introduce a new fun hobby into your life!
Certain Vitamins & Supplements
There are a few supplements that can help reduce both stress and anxiety. For example. Omega 3 has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms by up to 20% in a recent study. Lemon balm is also useful to use for it’s anti-anxiety effects.Ashwagandha is an herb that is used to reduce stress in the Ayurvedic medicine.Finally, green tea helps to increase serotonin levels, which reduces stress.
Scents & Aromatherapy
Lighting candles or using essential oils in certain scents can help to reduce feelings of stress. Scents such as lavender, rose, neroli, and ylang ylang can be some of the most calming out there. This type of aromatherapy uses scents to treat your mood, and several studies show that it works to reduce stress and improve sleep.
Drink Less Coffee
Your morning coffee might be a necessity to get you feeling awake, but did you know that high doses of caffeine can actually increase stress and anxiety? If you’re drinking so many cups of joe you feel jittery and anxious, it’s probably time to cut down. While coffee can be healthy in moderation, but it’s not for everyone, and everyone has different tolerances, so make sure you’re only drinking enough that’s right for you.
Physical affection such as cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help to reduce stress. This is because positive physical contact releases oxytocin and also lowers the stress hormones. This can help to lower some physical symptoms of stress including blood pressure and heart rate.
When you go through a period of mental stress, your sympathetic nervous system is activated - this is what signals your body to go into fight-or-flight mode. This can activate symptoms such as quickened heartbeat, faster breathing and constricted blood vessels.
Deep breathing can counteract this by activating your parasympathetic nervous systems, which control your relaxation response. The goal here is to make your aware of your breath, making it slower and deeper. This expands your lungs fully, slowing your heart rate and making you feel more peaceful.
Reduce Physical Tension
Reducing the physical tension in your body can help to make you feel less stressed. You can use a tennis ball or a foam roller to apply pressure to tense spots. Before you do this, place a warm wrap on the area for ten minutes. Reducing physical tension can help to relieve mental stress.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal of things you are grateful for can be a great way to reduce stress by helping you remember the good things in your life. Being grateful and recognising your blessing can help to cancel our your negative thoughts. You can journal little things that have made you smile throughout the day, or document larger achievements. When you feel stressed, take a look back through your journal and remind yourself of the important things in life.
For a really fast and simple stress relief, try chewing gum. Chewing gum can actually cause relaxed brain waves, by promoting blood flow to your brain!
Spending Time with Loved Ones
Social interactions are essential to help you get through stressful periods. Being a part of a social network can give you a sense of belonging, and spending time with these people can release oxytocin in your body - a natural stress reliever. This is the opposite of the body’s stressful fight-or-flight response.
Take a Yoga Class
Yoga is a popular and effective method to relieve stress and help you exercise. The main goal of yoga is to join your body and mind, and yoga does this primarily by increasing awareness in your body and breath. Studies have shown that yoga has a positive effect on mental health. Yoga can enhance your mood and in some cases can be as effective as medication for depression and anxiety.
This is due to yoga’s effect on your nervous system and stress responses. It helps to lower your stress hormones, that’s your cortisol levels, as well as blood pressure and heart rate. Yoga can also increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid - this is a neurotransmitter that has lower levels in mood disorders.
By Amy Cavill
Why not try this week’s classes on Yoga Download?
These classes are here to help you unwind, recharge, and remember to relax. Yes, while determination and ambition are essential, it's also important to take a break from your task oriented mindset, and simply relax. Fortunately, yoga can help in this process. These classes will help not only your body, but also your mind relax, with a mix of different yoga styles and a meditation class.
1. Patrick Montgomery - Root Back & Relax
2. Shy Sayar - Therapeutic Wall Yoga for Hips & Back
3. Geenie Celento - Transform Tension into Vitality
4. Shannon Paige - Saraswati Hangs in the Stars
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