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    Reduce Stress Naturally When You Start Making These Easy Lifestyle Choices

    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 lives. 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 that it becomes chronic. It’s until then that it affects the body in drastic ways.[1]

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

    If 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]

    Mindfulness itself relates to reducing stress levels.[3]

    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]

    Oxytocin is a hormone dubbed as a natural stress reliever.[5]

    Moreover, the said study showcases an effect called “tend and befriend.” It is the opposite of the “fight-or-flight” response.[6]

    The two are acute stress responses.

    Surrounding yourself with people you value gives you a sense of worth and belonging. One study notes that those with few social connections may develop depression.[7]

    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]

    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]

    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]

    Moreover, 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]

    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]

    Although, the exact correlation between stress management and yoga needs further research. But the exercise itself benefits health in several ways.[13]

    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]

    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]

    Dancing

    Dancing 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]

    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]

    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]

    Flavonoids are antioxidants that may have beneficial effects on mood.[19]

    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]

    Research showed that the taste of dark chocolate may contribute to its effects on stress.[21]

    In a study, people who ate dark chocolate for two weeks showed improved stress levels.[22]

    Consuming dark chocolate may also link to increased levels of serotonin.[23]

    Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that may have the ability to reduce stress and anxiety.[24]

    Green Tea

    Green tea is a soothing drink that comes with a lot of health benefits.[25]

    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] One study showed that those who consumed L-theanine drinks decreased their cortisol levels.[27] Cortisol itself is a stress hormone that triggers anxiety.[28]

    The effects of L-theanine on stress may be due to its ability to increase dopamine and serotonin.[29] Both of these are neurotransmitters that combat stress and anxiety.[30]

    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]

    This antioxidant may have the ability to reduce stress and anxiety. It works by increasing the presence of GABA in the brain.[32] GABA is a brain receptor that has calming effects.[33]

    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]

    Probiotics (healthy bacteria) may have the ability to inhibit free radicals and neurotoxins. These may result in lesser stress levels and a risk of developing anxiety.[35]

    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]

    Another study showed stress-related benefits from yogurt. Those who consumed probiotic yogurt coped up with stress better than those who didn’t.[37]

    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]

    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]

    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]

    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 of the body.[41]

    Taking B complex is also linked to soothing anxiety and depression.[42]

    In one study, taking this blend of B vitamins may be viable in stress reduction.[43]

    Fish Oil

    Fish oil is a supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids play an important role in brain development.[44]

    Fish oil is also linked to improved metabolism and cardiovascular health.[45] As a stress reliever, fish oil may work by preventing adrenal activation. Adrenal activation usually happens during stressful situations. [46]

    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]

    5-HTP

    5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter is a precursor to serotonin, a known feel-good hormone.[48] Both of them are responsible for triggering happiness in the brain.[49]

    A recent study showed that 5-HTP supplements may play a role in reducing stress and anxiety.[50] Although, administering 5-HTP may only be effective if done with certain therapies.[51]

    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 for 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]

    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]

    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]

    Ashwagandha

    Otherwise known as Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Meaning, this herb may have the ability to manage stress well.[55]

    Ashwagandha may lower cortisol levels.[56]

    In one study, it showed a significant impact on stress and anxiety.[57] The said study also noted an increase in DHEA-s, a hormone released in response to stress.[58]

    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]

    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]

    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]

    Moreover, a study conducted on 63 adults involved Tongkat Ali administration. The said study showed that the herb decreased the cortisol found in saliva. As a result, these participants experienced better moods and less stress.[62]

    Maca

    Maca is a plant grown in the soils of Peru. It is a staple in traditional Peruvian medicine.[63]

    Maca gained popularity for its possible effects on sexual function and sports performance. Maca may also have a significant effect on menopausal women.[64]

    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]

    Korean Red Ginseng

    Korean red ginseng is a popular herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is also known as Panax ginseng and is considered 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]

    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]

    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]

    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.

    And 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, and see where they might be going wrong. Stay active – go ahead and join that yoga class. Try to practice mindfulness, and above all, eat healthily.

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

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