A little bit of stress and anxiety, here and there, is normal and should be expected now and then, no matter how good our lives are going. But in recent times, chronic stress—the type that makes functioning daily much more of a challenge—is surging among Americans. In fact, over half of American adults report suffering from chronic stress.
Of course, the best way to beat stress—both of the chronic and everyday variety—is by eliminating outside stressors. But, let’s be honest, that’s a lot easier said than done. The reality is that people have stressful situations in their life that are often overwhelming and hard to solve in the short-term, whether it be work, family, health, or financial-related.
That’s why it’s super important for people to always have at least a few natural stress relief methods up their sleeve to manage stress and anxiety throughout their daily lives. Without it, chronic stress could take hold, which is a precursor for a long list of damaging health outcomes including heart disease, depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and much more.
That said, here’s a comprehensive list of natural stress relief methods you can use to keep your stress levels in check, all backed by science.
Get off the Couch and Exercise
Exercise is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to reduce stress. And it makes perfect sense. Humans didn’t evolve in the wilderness to be sedentary creatures. For this reason, physical activity provides mental stress relief by naturally activating your brain’s reward system in a way that boosts serotonin levels, which in turn improves mood and reduces the production of stress hormones.
Consider Taking CBD
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has been shown by studies to help treat a wide variety of negative health conditions. Perhaps its most promising use though is combatting both stress and anxiety. When consumed, CBD attaches itself to the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain in a way that causes a soothing effect on the mind and body. This causes the brain to relax the heightened state caused by external stressors.
Write About It
We all know that it’s important to talk about our problems. But we don’t always have someone there to talk to or that we trust enough to listen. That’s why journaling has become so popular for handling stress in recent years. It allows people to vent their frustrations in life and get it out of their system. Journaling shouldn’t stop there, though. To get the most out of it, people should also write down all the things that they are grateful for in life as a way to see the brighter side of things. Vlogging is a form of journaling too, so if you aren’t into writing, you can also talk to the video camera and let out your feelings that way.
Practice Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga
When it comes to natural stress relief methods, there’s arguably no better way to do it than by engaging in some meditation, mindfulness, or yoga. All three of these practices share the understanding that deep and controlled breathing, being present in the moment, and breaking down negative thought patterns are key to reducing stress. There’s a reason people have been doing them for over 5,000 years.
Disconnect Every Once in a While
There’s something undeniably stress-inducing about the nature of social media and modern digital interconnectedness. Many people have theories as to why these things increase stress, anxiety, and social isolation, but it’s pretty hard at this point to argue that they don’t.
Whatever the case, it’s much more rewarding to create meaningful and intimate bonds with the people who are physically around you, such as friends, family, or a significant other, without the constant buzz and digital “Keeping Up with the Joneses” of social media. So put down the cell phone and spend a quality day talking and laughing (another great stress reliever) with those closest to you.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Stress and sleeplessness is the definition of a vicious cycle—the more you get of one, the more you inevitably get of the other. Put simply; each one causes the other. That’s why breaking the cycle is paramount when it comes to exponentially increasing the quality of your life. This means practicing tried-and-true natural sleep aids such as meditation, natural supplements, and creating a sleep-friendly environment. So not only will you get better sleep, but you’ll also significantly alleviate any stress you might have.
Make Important Lifestyle Changes
A large part of being stressed-out comes from having too much on your plate to the point that it’s suffocating and hard to manage. Three ways to reduce this kind of stress is by learning how to say no to extra responsibilities, by not procrastinating, and by being able to organize your life better through time management strategies. Also, little things like listening to soothing music in the morning or taking a moment every day to be thankful for all the good things you have in life can go a long way in relieving stress.
Chronic stress is no doubt a hard thing to beat and at times can feel downright debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By using a combination of the natural stress relief methods above, you can learn to manage stress so it’s not the determining factor of your happiness.