5 Ways to Reduce Stress

December 29, 2020

In today’s busy world, stress is a daily reality for the majority of people. The good news is that you can control your stress levels naturally.

Although you can’t control every situation, you can manage your response to every situation. When stressors arise, there are various practices that will help you effectively relieve stress.

What does stress look like?

Symptoms of stress look different from person to person. Stress can result in reduced cognitive ability, moodiness, and feelings of loneliness. Physical symptoms could include nausea, a weakened immune system, a rapid heart rate, or even diarrhea.

Stress has been found to worsen symptoms of multiple digestive disorders and skin conditions. Our bodily systems are so interrelated that running on constant stress will cause both your mind and body to suffer in the long-term.

Stress presents itself in various ways and can worsen at any time. As a result, it is essential to know a few techniques that you can use to de-stress, no matter where you are.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress

Talk to Someone

Merely having a face-to-face conversation with another person releases hormones that counteract stress. Just a brief discussion or connection with a friend is enough to slow your anxious, nervous system.

Center Yourself in the Present

Reflecting on your past or worrying about your future can significantly increase stress. Performing a short, grounding meditation can help you focus in on the present moment.

You can do this by tuning in to your senses. Stop and pay some loving attention to how you feel, what you see, what you hear, and what you smell. Giving recognition to your breath and your senses in the present moment helps you to slow down and gain perspective.

Eat a Balanced Diet

We all know that what you eat has a direct impact on your physical health. Surprisingly, what you eat also has a significant effect on your mental health. Eating a diet composed of processed foods and refined sugars will exacerbate the effects of stress.

Try balancing your blood sugar (and your mood) by eating regular meals and snacks that contain healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The less processed food you eat and the more whole, real food you eat, the better you will be able to cope with life’s stressors.

Move More

Exercise is one of the top ways to reduce cortisol (aka the body’s stress hormone). Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which result in feelings of happiness and relaxation.

Incorporating small forms of movement into your day will make a massive difference in your stress levels. Try going for a walk at lunch or playing a sport with loved ones in the evening.

Write it Down

Writing down your thoughts will reduce stress levels by helping you unload built-up anxiety. Writing is a great coping mechanism, as it takes off the pressure of remembering and allows you to express your thoughts.

Both keeping a journal and keeping an agenda can serve to decrease stress. Any form of writing allows you to clear your mind and perform your routine tasks with more intention.

Bonus! – Use essential oils

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to promote relaxation. Although you can’t necessarily use this stress relief strategy everywhere, a little diffused essential oils at bedtime goes a long way.

The cool part about essential oils is that their aromatic molecules will pass right through the blood-brain barrier, having a direct effect on the stress center of your brain.

Here are some of the top essential oils for calming the mind and body:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Rose
  • Frankincense
  • Lemongrass

The next time you realize you are becoming overwhelmed or stressed, think of your realization as a significant first step. Being aware of your stress means you are mindful of your current emotional state.

The skill of mindfulness will help you begin to understand your stress triggers and how you can better control your response to each stress-inducing situation. From there, you can start to care for your physical and emotional health in the five simple ways mentioned above.  

About the Author

Alexie Johnson

Childhood Nutrition, Post & Pre Natal

Guelph

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