In today’s fast-paced world, it’s nearly impossible to escape stress and anxiety. With your smartphone always at the ready, your boss has access to you via email around the clock. Your family and friends can text you at any time with a request. Your significant other is always a phone call away, ready to dole out a list of chores and errands. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life wracked with stress and anxiety.
While some people turn to prescription medications to reduce the pressure, anyone interested in holistic living may want to enlist a few all-natural remedies instead. Here are a few things to try the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed–no pharmaceuticals or prescription required.
Get Ample Sleep
When your to-do list won’t stop growing, your first thought is probably to fight off sleep and stay up late to get things done. Don’t. Stress heightens when you skip sleep. And you could make the problem worse by messing up your sleep cycle to the point that you experience insomnia, which will only increase anxiety. Unwind in the evening by switching off the TV and any other screens at least an hour before bed, and snuggling up in a cool, dark and quiet room.
Depending on your biology, hitting the gym might be just as powerful at ousting anxiety as popping a pill. Exercise releases natural endorphins, or “feel-good” hormones, which help athletes to relax and boosts their mood. A good workout could result in hours of calm afterward, so don’t underestimate the power of a run or a yoga class. Consider teaming up with a workout buddy so that you really commit to regular exercise.
Speaking of yoga, an important component of this practice could help you evade excess nerves, too: meditation. Even clinicians tout meditation as an effective anxiety-buster. It involves slowing down, breathing deeply and focusing on a specific idea or mantra to quiet your mind. If you’re not sure how to meditate, you can download an app that guides you through the process step by step to get started or check out a class at a local yoga studio. Just a few basic techniques are all you need to achieve serenity.
Eat More Blueberries
Did you know that certain foods affect your stress levels, too? Antioxidant-rich blueberries, for example, boast powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. This is what gives them their rich blue hue. These antioxidants trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that inspires relaxation and happiness. Other foods that could help you remain calm include avocados, oatmeal and dark chocolate.
Swap Coffee for Tea
It’s important to know what to eat to reduce stress, but it’s also important to know what not to eat—or drink. Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to your racing pulse and tense muscles. Caffeine is a stimulant, which essentially means that it enhances general jitters. And if you suffer from a diagnosed anxiety disorder, caffeine will likely heighten your symptoms. So, steer clear of coffee and opt for a soothing herbal tea instead—keep reading to learn more about your options.
Try a Natural Supplement
From diffusing lavender essential oils to sipping on a chamomile tea, you have lots of options when it comes to drug-free supplements. Science shows that chamomile binds to the same receptors as powerful drugs like valium, but since it’s natural, you don’t have to worry about any side effects other than intense zen. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try a cup of tea infused with sleep-inducing valerian root or drip some soothing lavender oil on your pillow. Lemon balm and passionflower may help, too.
Drink in Some Fresh Air
As mentioned above, exercise can be extremely helpful when it comes to calming down your nervous system. But there’s a specific type of exercise that’s extra calming: anything outdoors. When you go for a hike in the woods or a run in the park, the soothing sounds of nature and the fragrant aromas of wildflowers may compound the anxiety-easing effects of working out. Invite a friend to come along, and the socialization could help to assuage any tension, as well.
With so many all-natural options for stress reduction, don’t feel like medication is your only option when life piles on the to-dos. You can also head to a yoga class or meditate at home, sip on a cup of chamomile tea or eat some blueberries, or just head outside and enjoy a hike amid the splendor of Mother Nature. With these anxiety-fighting techniques in your back pocket, you should have no trouble facing a busy day. An evening is plenty of time to refresh and recharge when you know how to do it!
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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