Stress can be defined as our mind and our body’s reaction to our external environment, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional. In today’s society, there are seemingly limitless stressors in our lives; from the economy to the work place or back home to the family, more and more people are feeling the effects of increased stress rates. Stress can be good for the body to a certain degree, but too much can really take a toll on our lives. Under stress, the human body utilizes vitamins, minerals, and nutrients at a more rapid rate than usual, leaving us burned out, tired, pessimistic, and even depressed. Many physicians recommend anxiety medication or other stress relief pills; however, there are many ways to naturally and healthily bring your stress levels to a manageable degree.
Meditation is a very broad term; yoga, praying, meditating, or simply giving yourself a chance to breath in a quiet room all can fall into this category. In our hectic lives, we often do not stop to smell the roses or give ourselves a chance to enjoy the little things. Participating in yoga or meditation or simply praying can go a very long way in reducing your stress. Quiet your mind and your thoughts, breathe deeply, and relax your body from head to toe. Try meditating in the morning before work or school and before you sleep every night and feel the stress leave your body.
One of the best ways to run the stress out of your body is exercise. Now, many will make the excuse that there is no time for exercise or they do not have the energy or desire. You do not have to get a gym membership.
You do not need to purchase expensive and unnecessary workout equipment or workout programs. Simply put on a pair of sneakers, walk out the door, and take a walk. Moving your body will stimulate your nervous system and respiratory system, releasing endorphins that will eat away at your stress. If you have ever had a great power walk or workout, you know exactly what the rush feels like. Not to mention, exercise can give you time to think, listen to your favorite music, or even talk with friends you wouldn’t mind catching up with.
Another great way to reduce stress is to make a simple diet change. Throw out the empty calories, saturated fats, sugars and reduce your carbohydrate and caffeine consumption. Rather, incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain pastas and breads, and lean meats into your diet. Choosing a fresh, homemade salad and sandwich over that fast-food burger will go a lot further than you may think.
Somewhat related to diet changes, the incorporation of herbs and natural supplements can also be very beneficial. Studies have shown that various herbs and teas, including ginseng, valerian, and kava can successfully relieve stress, reduce sleeplessness, and stimulate productivity and optimism. Also, try drinking more herbal teas. Herbal teas are relaxing and soothing and even taste fantastic. Herbal teas have become very popular across the world and for a good reason.
Let’s be honest; being at work or in class is probably not our first choice when it comes to entertainment. Hour after of hour of boredom, inactivity, and sleepiness can wreak havoc on the body. Studies have shown that simply laughing can ease your body and reduce stress levels. So, next time you have a free minute, take a second to browse the internet for funny jokes or videos or even gossip with a friend. We’ve all heard the saying, so let’s take some of it. Laughter is the best medicine.
So, before you head to the doctor in hopes in getting prescribed an anti-anxiety pill, try a couple of the things on the list above. A simple routine change or schedule alteration can have a huge impact on your life. Life can be pressing at times, but we should live it to the fullest. Let’s not allow stress to run our lives; rather, let’s take control of stress.