10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Stress Naturally
10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Stress Naturally
We all have dealt with some level of anxiety and stress in our lives, which may often feel like a given living in modern times. But suffering from chronic anxiety and stress can be incredibly hard, and it can truly impact your quality of life. If you struggle with this and aren’t sure how to manage it, there are effective ways you can reduce anxiety and stress naturally.
Let’s dive into some of the top ways to do this, including using herbs to relieve stress.
What causes anxiety and stress?
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses and affects more than 18% of the U.S. population every year. While it is treatable, only about 36% of those suffering receive treatment and may suffer in silence. Chronic stress is also incredibly common and can heighten anxious feelings.
Anxiety can be caused by many things - genetics, another mental illness, work or financial stress, or family life. Many of these factors are part of life, but if you suffer from anxiety you may lose the ability to properly handle them. These same factors can also cause a lot of stress in your life, which can make it harder to deal with everyday tasks.
Chronic anxiety and stress can get in the way of your job, your interactions with people, family life, and hinder your ability to enjoy your favorite things. Well, you don’t have to live in a constant state of stress anymore! There are several things you can do to keep these feelings at bay so you can be your best self.
Signs of stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can show up in different ways for different people, but often have similar signs:
- Feeling tired or weak
- Feeling nervous, “on-edge,” or tense
- Aches and pains
- Chest pain
- Digestive problems
- Muscle or jaw pain
- Frequent headaches, dizziness, or shaking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Having a sense of impending danger or doom
- Increased heart rate or breathing rapidly
If you are experiencing these symptoms more than a few days a week, it’s important to assess your stress level. What is causing stress in your life? How are you managing it, and are you addressing the root problem? These are important questions to consider so that you can find your best ways to reduce anxiety and stress naturally.
10 ways to reduce anxiety and stress naturally
Eat a hormonally balanced diet
Our hormones can sometimes get out of whack, but a hormonally balanced diet can tip your mood back into equilibrium. A hormonally balanced diet contains specific vitamins for stress and anxiety that may reduce symptoms.
There are so many hormones that can affect your stress and anxiety levels if they are off-balance, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and most importantly the “fight-or-flight” stress hormone cortisol.
The right diet choices can keep your hormones happy and reduce anxiety. Here are a few key foods to focus on:
- Brightly colored fruits and veggies (especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower)
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
- Omega 3 fats from salmon, avocados, nuts & seeds
- Fiber from fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain starches
If you’re not eating these foods regularly now, start small by adding one fruit or vegetable every meal. Little steps add up over time!
Exercise is one of the best natural anxiety medicines - I kid you not. The problem is those suffering from anxiety are more likely to be sedentary. And this is understandable - if you’re anxious or feeling overwhelmed, exercise may feel like another “thing” to add to your to-do list.
But not to worry - you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to reap the benefits. Just starting with 10 minutes a day can reap amazing mental health benefits and feels much less daunting. Just tell yourself you have to get through 10 minutes - whether it’s a walk, jog, or strength session. Chances are you’ll feel good after 10 minutes and want to keep going.
Most of us don’t sleep enough, but this is especially true if you’re feeling anxious. But when you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to feel even more anxious and don’t adapt as well to stressful situations.
To prioritize your sleep, create a strict nighttime schedule. Set a bedtime alarm on your phone to remind you to shut off technology and start your bedtime routine.
A relaxing bedtime routine can also help, such as a warm bath, meditation, or reading a book to calm your mind.
Adopt a daily mindfulness practice
Practicing mindfulness simply means taking a moment to be present. Most of the time you may be going about your day in a million directions, multitasking, and rarely taking a minute to take a breath. This can leave you in a constant state of anxiety, heightening cortisol levels and making it harder to deal with stressors that come your way.
Practicing mindfulness has been shown to shut off areas of the brain that trigger a stress response, which can help you better adapt to stress. Aim for 5 minutes a day to focus on being in the moment, breathing through your feelings, and being present to achieve a greater sense of calm.
Journal your thoughts
Journaling is another wonderful way to reduce anxiety and stress naturally. If you have a lot of thoughts circulating in your brain causing you stress, putting pen to paper may be what you need.
Write down your most pressing thoughts to reduce the mental burden you’re carrying. This can be an effective way to clear your head and feel like you’re better able to deal with anything bothering you.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine may seem like they’d help you relieve stress, but they actually make it worse. Consuming too much coffee is linked with increased feelings of anxiety. Too much caffeine can also make it harder to fall asleep, which can further add to your stress.
Too much alcohol also can affect your mood and lead you to feel down or anxious once the alcohol wears off. It can also affect your sleep, leading to more stress and frustration.
The FDA recommends limiting caffeine intake to 400 mg per day (about 4-5 cups of coffee) but if you’re sensitive to caffeine, this may be too much.
New guidelines for alcohol recommend no more than 1 drink per day for both men and women.
Consider talk therapy
Talk therapy with a qualified therapist can be extremely beneficial for reducing stress. Talk therapy involves talking things through to help you identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, or behaviors that are not serving you.
A type of talk therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, digs deeper into the traumatic experience to get to the root of the problem. Several studies have shown it can help you face trauma and reduce PTSD symptoms, as long as you actively participate in the process.
Try an herbal stress reliever
There are also natural herbs to relieve stress available, which can help you better adapt to everyday stressors. These supplements can be a nice compliment to a healthy diet, exercise, and mindfulness plan.
Our new Stress Defender is an all-natural supplement designed to support healthy stress responses, balance mood, and lower cortisol levels. It contains adaptogenic herbs and amino acids such as ashwagandha, magnolia bark extract, eleuthero root extract, L-Theanine, and Holy basil leaf in doses shown to be clinically effective.
Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha may improve the body’s resistance to stress, and help promotes a sense of calm.
The Stress Defender is also third-party tested for optimal quality and safety and is gluten, dairy, and soy-free.
Keep in touch with loved ones
Staying connected with those you leave can beat anxiety and stress. Even if you consider yourself an introvert and don’t mind being alone sometimes, we’re all social creatures and need to connect. Connecting with family or close friends regularly brings a sense of peace and an avenue of social support. Aim to reach out to your loved ones regularly, at least 3 to 4 times per week, to build your circle of support.
If you’re a glass is half-full kind of person, expressing gratitude regularly can help get you out of that mindset. Expressing gratitude daily helps remind you of all the good things you have and helps you to better appreciate them. This gratitude can provide a sense of calm for all you’re grateful for. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day as a daily practice.
There are many ways to reduce anxiety and stress naturally, and it’s often a matter of determining what works best for you. I always recommend taking a holistic approach to managing stress which incorporates a balanced diet, physical activity, mindfulness, as well as herbal stress relievers. By approaching it in this way, you are addressing the problem at all angles for the best possible result.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, learn more about our new Stress Defender supplement here!
Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, CPT
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