The day is almost over but your to-do list is still a mile long; welcome to stressville. We’re all familiar with that tense shouldered, fast-moving, foggy brained stress feeling. It’s less important what’s causing your stress and more important how you deal with it. Next time you’re struggling through a long day try one of these natural stress relievers to get the blood pressure back to normal.
1) Head to the gym
Exercise releases the body’s natural mood lifters – endorphins – and those come with a feeling of euphoria. It’s not an immediate fix however, as endorphins can be released as slow as 1 hour after exercise. But you’ll still get all the other health benefits from your workout and eventually that stress will be cut down. So next time you’re feeling tense and achy leaving the office, head straight for the gym and try running, boxing or dance classes to get an intense workout with an added natural happy pill.
2) Eat more magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral in your diet and not getting enough of it has terrible side effects for your stress levels. In fact, research has shown that being deficient in this important mineral can increase anxiety. Stress and anxiety often go hand in hand so upping your intake of magnesium is sure to help eliminate tension. Other benefits to magnesium include relaxing muscles, relieving headaches and helping you get better sleep.
So where can you get your fix? For a natural dose try having more spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocado, figs, yoghurt, bananas and yummy dark chocolate.
3) Surround yourself with lavender
Well-known for its relaxing properties, lavender is a truly natural wonder. Take a break from your stresses with a hot bath to soothe your muscles and burn some lavender essential oils. The bath will be soothing on your muscles while the lavender relaxes your mind.
4) Connect with nature
Multiple studies have found that getting out in nature has positive effects on our wellbeing. There’s actually a whole area of science, known as biophilia, that is dedicated to looking into human’s connection with nature and how this can improve our wellbeing. Studies range from the effects of natural light to decorating your home and office with natural materials. One study on university students noted that just 20 minutes spent in nature was enough to physically lower their stress levels. It doesn’t have to be out in the woods either. Less than an hour of your day spent in a city park is enough to bring your brain back to balanced.
5) Keep a journal by your bed
You know the old saying never go to bed angry? Well you shouldn’t head to bed stressed either. Stress activates your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response which spikes the adrenaline and makes it harder to fall asleep. A great way to get things off your mind so you can get some sleep is to write them into a journal. You can vent all your negative thoughts which helps you to move on from them. It can also help you to clarify what is making you stressed and why. Sometimes we don’t realise there’s something niggling at our brains until it won’t let us rest.
6) Get quality sleep
Speaking of sleep, did you know that low quality sleep increases your risk of feeling stressed? Adults who have less than the ideal 8-hours sleep per night report much higher stress levels than their well-rested counterparts. Guarantee quality rest by increasing the comfort of your mattress with a lightweight mattress topper. Or look into a bigger bed that lets you stretch out like a lazy cat napping.
7) Take a music break
Never underestimate the stress busting powers of your favourite songs. Research finds that listening to music activates the same reward centres of your brain as good food and great sex. The right track at the right time is all it takes to get you out of a fog.
8) Drink chamomile tea
Some of the worst side effects of stress are insomnia, anxiety and poor digestion. But what if you could treat all three at once? Sipping on a calming cup of chamomile tea will do just that. It’s the perfect plan just before bed to get you relaxed and ready to rest.
9) Talk it out with friends and family
Another tell-tale sign of chronic stress is poor decision making. When we’re stressed, we are more likely to go for high-risk, high-reward solutions to our problems. Talking through your issues with a friend or family member can bring some much-needed perspective and hopefully you’ll avoid quitting your job, texting your ex or any other stress-brained schemes.
The bottom line is stress does not have to become part of your everyday. There’s a bunch of natural stress-relievers out there to bring you back to your best. If you’re struggling with chronic stress and find these techniques aren’t working be sure to consult a medical professional.
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Julia Hammond is a Melbourne-based lifestyle blogger with a love for all things health, beauty and lifestyle. She currently publishes weekly content over on the MyDeal.com.au blog and can often be found sipping coffees and planning travel adventures in her spare time.
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