Stress is one of the most common, and most destructive, conditions known to man. In fact, as much as 75-90% of doctor visits are due to stress related issues. It can take a real toll on your health, yet stress can be almost impossible to avoid. It’s part of our everyday lives, but that doesn’t meant that we have to accept living with it and the effect it has on our bodies. Here are six natural techniques you can use to help manage stress:
- Exercise/Yoga – Exercise is beneficial to our bodies in many different ways, not the least of which is helping to fight the effects of stress. That’s because exercise releases powerful endorphins which act as the body’s natural pain killers and mood lifters. By working out on a regular basis, you can help to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm, which governs sleep; balance moods and maintain your insulin level, all of which is important for alleviating stress. Yoga can be particularly effective because it works to balance body and mind, helping to alleviate both the physical and psychological effects of stress.
- Meditation/Prayer – A big percentage of stress is in the mind. Stress can make you panic, driving up your anxiety level and leaving you feeling emotionally unsettled. In order to combat this natural reaction, many people rely on the healing power of meditation and prayer. This is an easy method to employ because it can be practiced at any time, anywhere, without any training or supervision. Whichever form of meditation you chose to employ, it can help to lower physiological responses to stress and improve mental alertness, helping you to feel more connected and balanced.
- A Nutrient Dense Diet – The healthier your body is the better equipped you’ll be to fight off the effects of stress. Getting the proper amount of nutrients on a regular basis can help your brain to function optimally, thus making it better able to withstand stress. Vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, electrolytes and antioxidants are all vital building blocks for a healthy body and balanced mind. Make sure that your diet contains plenty of protein rich foods, healthy fat and omega-3 fatty acids and avoid processed foods, foods that are high in sugar and stimulants like caffeine and alcohol and you’ll be capable of handling stress much better.
- Infrared Sauna – An infrared sauna can be a wonderful way to naturally fend off the effects of stress. When you are under stress your body produces certain chemicals that result in what is commonly called the “fight or flight” response. Literally your entire system is energized and on alert, ready to fight back or get away from whatever it perceives as trouble. The warming infrared wavelengths of an infrared sauna can help to open up the blood vessels, improving circulation and allowing the muscles to relax. As your brain registers this, the fight or flight response is naturally alleviated, leaving you feeling more relaxed and less tense.
- Spending Time With Others – One of the worst effects of stress is the way it can make you feel alone, isolated, as if you are being slowly crushed under an avalanche of worry. Spending time in the company of family and friends, engaging in activities that you enjoy or just getting out in nature and breathing in fresh air can go a long way toward fighting off those feelings of isolation. With the support of others around you, you’ll be able to feel less anxious and worried and find the strength to deal with whatever was causing your stress in the first place.
- Keeping a Journal – Sometimes the best way to relieve emotional issues is to write about what you’re feeling. Often, seeing it in print can help you to understand the reality of the problem and realize that it’s not as drastic as you once thought. It can have a wonderful cathartic effect and at the same time it can help you to recognize how you respond to stress, which is the first step in changing that reaction. If your stress stems from feeling overwhelmed by your many regular responsibilities, it can help to write out a schedule or list so that you can have some sense of control and organization.
These are just a few of the ways that you can combat the effects of stress on your mind and body. Whatever you do, the important thing is to be healthy and keep stress from taking over your life.