Reduce Stress Naturally When You Start Making These Easy Lifestyle Choices

By Reviewed by Health Published on September 17, 2019 Updated on November 7, 2019
Reduce Stress Naturally When You Start Making These Easy Lifestyle Choices

Did you know there are many ways to reduce stress naturally?

Stress is a part of our daily living. It can have both good and bad impacts on our lives.

For one, stress can push us to do better, which is a good thing. It puts us under the right pressure to work harder towards our own goals.

Yet, the bad thing about stress is when it becomes chronic. It’s until then that it affects the body in drastic ways.[1]Mariotti, A. (2015, November). The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain-body communication. doi: 10.4255/fso.15.21

Stress itself is almost inevitable. And as much as we want to steer clear of, it seems impossible.

But the good news is, while we can’t get rid of it completely, we can take steps to reduce stress naturally.

There Are Several Ways to Reduce Stress Naturally

While stress is hard to avoid, there are many different ways to reduce it. Among the steps you can take to reduce stress include the following:

  • Making changes to your current lifestyle
  • Engaging in certain activities that soothe stress and anxiety
  • Committing to a workout regimen
  • Shifting to a healthier diet
  • Taking natural supplements and vitamins that may have calming effects

Making Simple Lifestyle Changes May Be One of the Keys to Reduce Stress

The way you live your life has the biggest impact on your stress levels. The activities you engage in on a day-to-day basis all have a say on how your body reacts to stress.

Your job, your friends, family, and coworkers all contribute to stress.

If you feel like you are under so much strain and pressure, then it’s time to take a break. Pause for a bit and recheck your lifestyle. Take the effort to see where changes are necessary, and start from there.

Getting Your Creative Juices Flowing May Help Reduce Stress Naturally

painting-as-stress-reliefIf you’re feeling stressed and anxious, then you may find relief in the arts. Bringing out your creative side may have the ability to soothe your mind and allow you to relax.

It wasn’t too long ago when adult coloring books became a hit. Research shows this activity promotes mindfulness which in turn may reduce stress.[2]Mantzios, M., & Giannou, K. (2018, January 30). When Did Coloring Books Become Mindful? Exploring the Effectiveness of a Novel Method of Midfulness-Guided Instructions for Coloring Books to Increase Mindfulness and Decrease Anxiety.  doi: 10.2289/fpsyg.2018.00056

Mindfulness itself relates to reducing stress levels.[3]Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008, February). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(1), 22-23. doi: 10.1007/s10865-007-9130-7

Spending More Time with the Ones You Love May Soothe Stress and Prevent Depression

Stressful times often call for emotional support. It is during the most challenging times that you may find comfort in the presence of your loved ones.

One study shows that hanging out with friends may stimulate the release of oxytocin.[4]Taylor, S. E., Klein, L. C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A., & Updegraff, J. A. (2000, July). Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10941275

Oxytocin is a hormone dubbed as a natural stress reliever.[5]Lee, H. J., Macbeth, A. H., Pagani, J. & Young, W. S. (2009, April 10). Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of Life. Prog Neurobiol, 88(2), 127-151. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2009.04.001

Moreover, the said study showcases an effect called “tend and befriend.” It is the opposite of the “fight-or-flight” response.[6]Taylor, S. E., Klein, L. C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A., & Updegraff, J. A. (2000, July). Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10941275

The two are acute stress responses.

Surrounding yourself with people you value gives a sense of worth and belonging. One study notes that those with few social connections may develop depression.[7]Cadzow, R. B., & Servoss, T. J. (2009, March). The association between perceived social support and health among patients at a free urban clinic. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19331256

Aiming to be More Organized May Minimize Stress and Anxiety

Staying on top of your priorities is one of the most effective activities to reduce stress. The reason behind this is that when you fail to get things done on time, you may feel the pressure. And that pressure often puts you in distress

Procrastinating and not getting things done will leave you with the strain to catch up. More often than not, this causes stress which may affect your health.[8]Sirois, F. M. (2016). Procrastination, Stress, and Chronic Health Conditions: A Temporal Perspective. Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being, 67-92. doi:  10.1016/B978-0-12-802862-9.00004-9

Engaging in More Physical Activities Is Another Way to Reduce Stress Naturally

The benefits of exercise seem endless. It may help with all aspects of your health, both mental and physical.

When it comes to stress and anxiety, exercise may be one of the keys to avoiding them.

In fact, a study shows that those who exercise on a regular basis are at less risk of depression and anxiety. It also shows that exercise may have the ability to combat stress.[9]De Moor, M. H. M, Beem, A. L., Stubbe, J. H., Boomsma, D. I., & De Geus, J. C. (2006, April). Regular exercise, anxiety, depression, and personality: A population-based study. Preventive Medicine, 42(4), 273-279. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2005.12.002

Meanwhile, another study shows that regular exercisers are more resistant to acute stress. Compared to those who don’t, these individuals respond to daily stressors much better. Those who exercise are at a lesser risk of developing chronic stress-related diseases.[10]Childs, E., & De Wit, H. (2014, May 1). Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00161

group-stretchingMoreover, physical activities may also relate to the prevention of anxiety. Research shows that working out to reduce stress and anxiety may work as a form of distraction.[11]Anderson, E., & Shivakumar, G. (2013, April 23). Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00027

This is one of the many reasons why a regular workout regimen may help in reducing stress.

Here are a few exercises that you may want to try to relieve feeling stressed and anxious.

Yoga

Yoga is a low impact exercise that became a common way of relieving stress. Generally, this type of workout aims to align the body and the mind.

Research shows that yoga may work to ease stress, anxiety, and depression.[12]Shohani, M., Badfar, G., Nasirkandy, M. P., Kaikhavani, S., Rahmati, S., Modmeli, Y.,… & Azami, M. (2018, February 21). The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_242_16

Although, the exact correlation between stress management and yoga needs further research. But the exercise itself benefits health in several ways.[13]Bussing, A., Michalsen, A., Khalsa, S. B. S., Telles, S., & Sherman, K. J. (2012, September 13). Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews. doi:  10.1155/2012/165410

Here are a few, easy-to-do yoga poses to reduce stress and anxiety:

  • Child’s pose
  • Downward facing dog pose
  • Mountain pose
  • Cobbler’s pose
  • Cobra pose

Not only are these poses relaxing to the mind, but they also give the body a good stretch.

Walking

Another exercise that may relieve stress and anxiety is walking. Also low-impact, walking is an activity that lets you relax as you get those calories burning.

In a study on healthy adults, the results show that an hour of walking may be an effective way to reduce stress. These results are short-term, but the activity also shows benefits on blood pressure.[14]Matzer, F., Nagele, E., Lerch, N., Vajda, C., & Fazekas, C. (2018, April). Combining walking and relaxation for stress reduction-A randomized cross-over trial in healthy adults. Stress Health, 34(2), 266-277. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28840638

Walking to reduce stress, along with meditation, may also improve the mood. Another study found that those who brisk-walked for ten minutes improved their moods.[15]Edwards, M. K., & Loprinzi, P. D. (2018, July 7). Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults. Health Promot Perspect, 8(3), 171-178. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2018.23

Dancing

dancing-reduces-stressDancing is a fun way to get those calories burning. At the same time, this physical activity may also reduce stress. It may even benefit your mental health in more ways than one.

In fact, in one study, dancing exhibited mood-enhancement effects. The activity also reflected stress-reducing capabilities.[16]Maraz, A., Kiraly, O., Urban, R. Griffiths, M. D., & Demetrovics, Z. (2015). Why Do You Dance? Development of the Dance Motivation Inventory (DMI). PLoS One. 10(3). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122866

What You Eat May Affect the Way You Deal with Anxiety and Stress

Like exercise, diet affects our bodies in many different ways. These ways include stress levels and the way we handle it.

Stress often puts the body under strain that pushes physiological responses like “stress-eating.” This type of physiological response generally triggers obesity.[17]Ulrich-Lai, Y. M., Fulton, S., Wilson, M., Petrovich, G., & Rinaman, L. (2015, August 13). Stress Exposure, Food Intake, Emotional State. Stress 18(2), 381-199. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2015.1062981

But did you know that you can reduce stress and avoid stress-eating by consuming the right foods? Below are a few foods that help reduce stress and anxiety.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a semi-sweet treat rich in flavonoids. [18]Katz, D. L., Doughty, K., & Ali, A. (2011, November 15). Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease. Antioxid Redox Signal, 15(10), 2779-2811. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3697

Flavonoids are antioxidants that may have beneficial effects on mood.[19]Nehlig, A. (2013, March). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 75(3), 716-727. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04378.x

Flavonoids work by improving the blood flow in the brain. As a result, it may have the ability to soothe the brain and adapt to stressful situations.[20]Nehlig, A. (2013, March). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 75(3), 716-727. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04378.x

Research showed that the taste of dark chocolate may contribute to its effects on stress.[21]Katz, D. L., Doughty, K., & Ali, A. (2011, November 15). Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease. Antioxid Redox Signal, 15(10), 2779-2811. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3697

In a study, people who ate dark chocolate for two weeks showed improved stress levels.[22]Martin, F. P. J., Antille, N., Rezzi, S., & Kochhar, S. (2012, June). Everyday Eating Experiences of Chocolate and Non-Chocolate Snacks Impact Postprandial Anxiety, Energy and Emotional Stress. Nutrients, 4(6), 554-567.  doi: 10.3390/nu4060554

Consuming dark chocolate may also link to increased levels of serotonin.[23]Nehlig, A. (2013, March). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 75(3), 716-727. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04378.x

Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that may have the ability to reduce stress and anxiety.[24]Chaouloff, F., Berton, O., & Mormede, P. (1999, August). Serotonin and stress. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10432486

Green Tea

Green tea is a soothing drink that comes with a lot of health benefits.[25]Suzuki, Y., Miyoshi, N., & Isemura, M. (2012, March 9). Health-promoting effects of green tea. Proceedings of The Japan Academy, Series B Physical and Biological Sciences, 88(3), 88-101. doi: 10.2183/pjab.88.88

Green Tea L-theanine

It is also a rich source of L-theanine. L-theanine itself may have positive effects on brain health and anxiety.[26]Nathan, P. J., Lu, K., Gray, M., & Oliver, C. (2006). The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182482 One study showed that those who consumed L-theanine drinks decreased their cortisol levels.[27]White, D. J., De Klerk, S., Woods, W., Gondalia, S. Noonan, C., & Scholey, A. B. (2016, January 19). Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an L-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial. Nutrients, 8(1), 53. doi: 10.3390/nu8010053 Cortisol itself is a stress hormone that triggers anxiety.[28]Ranabir, S. & Reetu, K. (2011, January-March). Stress and hormones. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 15(1), 18-22. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.77573

The effects of L-theanine on stress may be due to its ability to increase dopamine and serotonin.[29]Nathan, P. J., Lu, K., Gray, M., & Oliver, C. (2006). The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182482 Both of these are neurotransmitters that combat stress and anxiety.[30]Ranabir, S. & Reetu, K. (2011, January-March). Stress and hormones. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 15(1), 18-22. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.77573

green-tea-in-a-cup

Green Tea EGCG

Drinking green tea to reduce stress may be a good move as it is also rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is an antioxidant that is also beneficial to brain health.[31]Singh, N. H., Mandal, A. K. A., & Khan, Z. A. (2016, June 7). Potential neuroprotective properties of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Nutritional Jounal, 15, 60. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0179-4

This antioxidant may have the ability to reduce stress and anxiety. It works by increasing the presence of GABA in the brain.[32]Singh, N. H., Mandal, A. K. A., & Khan, Z. A. (2016, June 7). Potential neuroprotective properties of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Nutritional Jounal, 15, 60. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0179-4 GABA is a brain receptor that has calming effects.[33]Abdou, A. M., Higashiguchi, S., Horie, K., Kim, M., Hatta, H., & Yokogoshi, H. (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16971751

Yogurt

Yogurt is another sweet and tangy treat you may eat to soothe stress and anxiety. It is popular for its probiotic content which may benefit brain health.[34]Shi, L. H., Balakrishnan, K., Thiagarajah, K., Ismail, N. I. M., & Yin, O. S. (2016, August). Beneficial Properties of Probiotics. Tropical Life Sciences Research, 27(2), 73-90. doi:10.21315/tlsr2016.27.2.6

Probiotics (healthy bacteria) may have the ability to inhibit free radicals and neurotoxins. These may result in lesser stress levels and risk of developing anxiety.[35]Kim, B., Hong, V. M., Yang, J., Hyun, H., Im, J. J., Hwang, J.,… & Kim, J. E. (2016, December 31). A Review of Fermented Foods with Beneficial Effects on Brain and Cognitive Function. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 21(4), 297-309. doi: 10.3746/pnf.2016.21.4.297

In fact, one study showed that yogurt consumption may lead to better brain function. In the same study, those who consumed yogurt twice a day improved their emotional control. This may have the ability to lower stress and anxiety.[36]Jaatinen, N., Korpela, R., Poussa, T., Turpeinen, A., Mustonen, S., Merilahti, J., & Peuhkuri, K. (2014, June). Effects of daily intake of yoghurt enriched with bioactive components on chronic stress responses: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043

Another study showed stress-related benefits from yogurt. Those who consumed probiotic yogurt coped up with stress better than those who didn’t.[37]Jaatinen, N., Korpela, R., Poussa, T., Turpeinen, A., Mustonen, S., Merilahti, J., & Peuhkuri, K. (2014, June). Effects of daily intake of yoghurt enriched with bioactive components on chronic stress responses: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24490888

Using Chamomile Tea to Reduce Stress Naturally

You may opt to drink chamomile tea to reduce stress. This refreshing and relaxing drink may have beneficial effects on stress and anxiety.

The reason behind this is that chamomile contains antioxidants that may reduce inflammation. Preventing inflammation may decrease the risk of developing anxiety.[38]Salim, S., Chugh, G., & Asghar, M. (2012). Inflammation in anxiety. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22814704

Chamomile and its possible effect on anxiety relief were also looked at in one study. In the study, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) took chamomile extract. The patients with GAD experienced fewer symptoms after the intake.[39]Amsterdam, J. D., Li, Y., Rockwell, K., Mao, J. J., & Shults, J. (2009, August). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19593179

In another study, people with co-morbid anxiety and depression symptoms took chamomile extract. The trial noted that they found relief in taking chamomile.[40]Amsterdam, J., Shults, J., Soeller, I., Mao, J. J., Rockwell, K., & Newberg, A. B. (2012, September). Chamomile (Matriarica recutita) May Have Antidepressant Activity in Anxious Depressed Humans – An Exploratory Study. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600408/

Certain Vitamins and Supplements May Help Combat Stress and Anxiety

Sometimes, the food we eat and the activities we do are not enough to keep stress at bay. And this is where supplements may come in handy.

There are many supplements to reduce stress and anxiety. Below are a few of them.

B Complex

B complex contains all the essential B vitamins that are beneficial to the body. Most of these B vitamins are crucial to brain health.

Additionally, these vitamins are water-soluble and don’t get hold onto the body.[41]Kennedy, D. O. (2016, January 28). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy — A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. doi: 10.3390/nu8020068

Taking B complex is also linked to soothing anxiety and depression.[42]Lewis, J. E., Tiozzo, E., Melillo, A. B., Leonard, S., Chen, L., Mendez, A.,…Konefal, J. (2013, January 21). The Effect of Methylated Vitamin B Complex on Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms and Quality of Life in Adults with Depression. doi: 10.1155/2013/621453

In one study, taking this blend of B vitamins may be viable in stress reduction.[43]Stough, C., Simpson, T., Lomas, J., McPhee, G., Billings, C., Myers, S., & Downey, L. A. (2014, December 22). Reducing occupational stress with a B-vitamin focussed intervention: a randomized clinical trial: study protocol. Nutritional Journal, 13, 122. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-122

Fish Oil

fish-oil-reduces-stress-naturallyFish oil is a supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids play an important role in brain development.[44]Goel, A., Pothineni, N. V., Singhal, M., Paydak, H., Saldeen, T., & Mehta, J. L. (2018, November 22). Fish, Fish Oils and Cardioprotection: Promise or Fish Tale? retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30469489

Fish oil is also linked to improved metabolism and cardiovascular health.[45]Goel, A., Pothineni, N. V., Singhal, M., Paydak, H., Saldeen, T., & Mehta, J. L. (2018, November 22). Fish, Fish Oils and Cardioprotection: Promise or Fish Tale? retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30469489 As a stress reliever, fish oil may work by preventing adrenal activation. Adrenal activation usually happens during stressful situations. [46]Delarue, J., Matzinger, O., Binnert, C., Schneiter, P., Chiolero, R., & Tappy, L. (2003, June). Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12909818

The effects of fish oil on stress and anxiety were also looked at in one study. The study noted that the elevated intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduced behavioral distress. It may also lessen the release of cortisol, a stress hormone.[47]Barbadoro, P., Annino, I., Pnzio,E., Romanelli, R. M., D’Erricco, M. M., & Minelli, A. (2013, June). Fish oil supplementation reduces cortisol basal levels and perceived stress: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in abstinent alcoholics. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23390041

5-HTP

5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter is a precursor to serotonin, a known feel-good hormone.[48]Birdsall, T. C. (1998, August). 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor. retrived from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9727088 Both of them are responsible for triggering happiness in the brain.[49]Hinz, M., Stein, A., & Uncini, T. (2012, July 19). 5-HTP efficacy and contraindications. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 8, 323-328. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S33259

A recent study showed that 5-HTP supplements may play a role in reducing stress and anxiety.[50]Hinz, M., Stein, A., & Uncini, T. (2012, July 19). 5-HTP efficacy and contraindications. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 8, 323-328. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S33259 Although, administering 5-HTP may only be effective if done with certain therapies.[51]Hinz, M., Stein, A., & Uncini, T. (2012, July 19). 5-HTP efficacy and contraindications. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 8, 323-328. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S33259

For this reason, 5-HTP supplementation may be an effective way to combat stress. But do note that securing a doctor’s recommendation is important.

Valerian Root

Valerian is an herb native to Asia and Europe. It goes by the scientific name Valeriana officinalis.

The herb’s root is a staple in traditional medicine in the last 2,000 years. It is most popular for its possible beneficial effects on sleep and anxiety.

Valerian root contains compounds that may help ease stress and anxiety. It may also interact well with GABA, a feel-good neurotransmitter.[52]Houghton, P. J. (1999, May). The scientific basis for the reputed activity of Valerian. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10411208

A study conducted on animals showed that this herb may improve stress response. The effects of valerian root work by maintaining serotonin levels. Serotonin itself regulates the mood and keeps stress at bay.[53]Jung, H. Y., Yoo, D. Y., Kim, W., Nam, S. M., Kim, J. W., Choi, J. H.,… Hwang, I. K. (2014, December). Valeriana officinalis root extract suppresses physical stress by electric shock and psychological stress by nociceptive stimulation-evoked responses by decreasing the monamine neurotransmitters to their metabolites. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25495725

Moreover, research showed that valerian root and lemon balm may have anxiolytic effects. A 600mg dose of the blend of the two herbs may relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety. [54]Kennedy, D. O., Little, W., Haskell, C. F., & Scholey, A. B. (2006, February). Anxiolytic effects of a combination of Melissa officinalis and Valeriana officinalis during laboratory induced stress. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16444660

Ashwagandha

Otherwise known as Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Meaning, this herb may have the ability to manage stress well.[55]Singh, N., Bhalla, M., De Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 8(5), 208-213. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9

Ashwagandha may lower cortisol levels.[56]Chanrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012, July – September). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled STudy of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255-262. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022

In one study, it showed significant impact on stress and anxiety.[57]Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014, December 1). An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, 20(12), 901-908. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177 The said study also noted an increase in DHEA-s, a hormone released in response to stress.[58]Bourdarene, M., Legros, J. J., & Timsit-Bethier, M. (2002, March – April). Study of the stress response: role of anxiety, cortisol, and DHEAs. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11972140

Moreover, another study viewed the possible role of ashwagandha in stress response. In the study, high doses of the root may improve the way an individual handles stress.[59]Chanrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012, July – September). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled STudy of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255-262. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022

Tongkat Ali

Tongkat ali is among the most popular herbs in Chinese Traditional Medicine. This plant grows in the native soils of Southeast Asia.

Tongkat ali is sought-after for its possible effects on sexual health. This herb may also have effects on energy production and metabolism.[60]Talbbot, S. M., Talbott, J. A., George, A., & Pugh, M. (2013, May 26). Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-28

Tongkat ali may also have a positive impact on stress. A known hormone stimulator, the herb itself may improve the mood. It works by regulating the cortisol levels of the body.[61]Talbbot, S. M., Talbott, J. A., George, A., & Pugh, M. (2013, May 26). Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-28

Moreover, a study conducted on 63 adults involved Tonkat ali administration. The said study showed that the herb decreased the cortisol found in saliva. As a result, these participants experienced better mood and less stress.[62]Talbbot, S. M., Talbott, J. A., George, A., & Pugh, M. (2013, May 26). Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-28

Maca

Maca is a plant grown in the soils of Peru. It is a staple in traditional Peruvian medicine.[63]Meissner, H. O., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mscisz, A., & Kedzia, B. (2006, June). Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614596/

Maca gained popularity for its possible effects on sexual function and sports performance. Maca may also have a significant effect on menopausal women.[64]Meissner, H. O., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mscisz, A., & Kedzia, B. (2006, June). Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614596/

This Peruvian root may also have the ability to soothe stress. Its active compound, called flavonoids, may encourage a better mood. These flavonoids may also reduce blood pressure. These compounds may even relieve symptoms of depression.[65]Meissner, H. O., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mscisz, A., & Kedzia, B. (2006, June). Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614596/

Korean Red Ginseng

Korean red ginseng is a popular herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is also known as Panax ginseng and considered as the “truest” of all ginseng.

Korean red ginseng has several beneficial impacts on health. Most of these involve male virility and vitality. This herb may also regulate hormone response and prevent inflammation.[66]Lee, S. & Rhee, D. K. (2017, January 24). Effect of ginseng in stress-related depression, anxiety, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Elsevier 41(4), 589-594. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2017.01.010

When it comes to stress, Korean red ginseng may also impose its benefits. Recent studies highlighted the effects of this herb on stress-related diseases.[67]Lee, S. & Rhee, D. K. (2017, January 24). Effect of ginseng in stress-related depression, anxiety, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Elsevier 41(4), 589-594. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2017.01.010

Moreover, Korean red ginseng may suppress stress by regulating cortisol levels. In the long run, this herb may also prevent the development of depression and anxiety.[68]Lee, S. & Rhee, D. K. (2017, January 24). Effect of ginseng in stress-related depression, anxiety, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Elsevier 41(4), 589-594. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2017.01.010

Conclusion

Stress can be both good and bad, depending on how we look at it. Although, one thing is for sure: it’s unavoidable. It happens.

reduce-stress-naturallyAnd while stress itself might seem glued to our daily lives, there are many ways to handle it with grace.

Stress doesn’t have to consume you. If you feel like things are starting to get out of hand, don’t hesitate to make changes.

Get your daily activities checked, see where it might be going wrong. Stay active – go ahead and join that yoga class. Try to practice mindfulness, and above all, eat healthily.

Because of the end of the day, life is too precious to spend it stressed out.

References   [ + ]

Fran Sanchez, BSc MSc

About Fran Sanchez, BSc MSc

Fran Sanchez, the founder of Herbolab, graduated from Uppsala University (Sweden) with a master in molecular biology and Karolinska University (Sweden) with a degree in medical sciences and business. He then moved to Singapore to run e-commerce operations in a pharmaceutical company, until eventually, he could fulfill his dream of creating a brand dedicated to help men reach their peak performance. Drawing on his experience as a lifelong multi-sport athlete and cutting edge medical and scientific research, Fran launched herbolab tongkat ali as flagship supplement in April of 2014. Fran now spend most of his time weight lifting and creating content dedicated to improve people’s lives.

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