How Can You Help Yourself
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.37 It is therefore important that we manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to our bodies and minds.
Quick Stress Relief At Home
Entertaining. Prevent pre-party jitters by playing lively music. Light candles. The flicker and scent will stimulate your senses. Wear clothes that make you feel relaxed and confident.
Kitchen. Ease kitchen stress by breathing in the scent of every ingredient. Delight in the delicate texture of an eggshell. Appreciate the weight of an onion.
Children and relationships. Prevent losing your cool during a spousal spat by squeezing the tips of your thumb and forefinger together. When your toddler has a tantrum, rub lotion into your hands and breathe in the scent.
Sleep. Too stressed to snooze? Try using a white noise machine for background sound or a humidifier with a diffuser for a light scent in the air.
Creating a sanctuary. If clutter is upsetting, spend 10 minutes each day to tidy. Display photos and images that make you feel happy. Throw open the curtains and let in natural light.
These Fun And Effective Ideas Will Help When Anxiety Is Getting The Best Of You
I dont know about you, but even in normal, not particularly chaotic times, I know when Im stressedmy shoulders tense up and fuse with my ears, my digestion gets wonky, and according to my boyfriend and kids, I become especially delightful to be around. Stress looks different for different people, but its usually some version of your brain and body crankily pushing back against all youre trying to manage.
The question is, what can we do to relieve stress, especially if were stuck inside? Because not to stress you out further, but both chronic and acute stress can have negative impacts on our health, and can lead us to engage in less-than-wise escapist habits.
When we think about the body on stress, its really fuel for the fight-or-flight response, says Debra Kissen, Ph.D., the co-chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of Americas education committee and co-author of Rewire Your Anxious Brain For Teens. This is helpful when we have to get in gear to, say, lift a car off a small child or flee an ax-wielding horror movie villain. Its just that when our brain continues to feel that were in danger when were not, that stress starts to create all kinds of physical and emotional problems. Add anxietydread and worry about what may happen nextand that doesnt help our stress levels.
Thats why we asked the experts for their best stress-relieving activities that you can have at the ready, even if you cant get outside.
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Lemon Balm A Nervine Herb With Powerful Relaxing And Mood
A member of the mint family, lemon balm has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects. For thousands of years, people have used it medicinally. And today, its often combined with other calming herbs, such as chamomile, valerian, and lavender.
With its citrusy notes, the scent and the delightful taste make it an enjoyable way to soothe and boost your mood.
What Science Says About Ashwagandha
Research is now proving the abilities of ashwagandha to ease anxiety and reduce feelings of stress.
In a 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, patients were given 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day for 60 days. What happened? The participants scores of perceived stress dropped by 44% and their levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased by almost 28%.
Then, in 2014, a systematic review of five controlled studies involving humans found that this herb significantly improved anxiety and stress levels.
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Stress Drugs For Stress And Anxiety
While there are currently no drugs specifically for stress, there are enough for anxiety that should have roughly the same overall effect. But because of the adverse reactions and the physiological and psychological dependency risks, even these should be used extremely sparingly.
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Tip : Make Quick Stress Relief A Habit
Its not easy to remember to use your senses in the middle of a minior or not so minocrisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to drive or play golf. You dont master the skill in one lesson you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Eventually youll feel like youre forgetting something if you dont tune into your body during challenging times. Heres how to make it habit:
Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of a long day or sitting down to pay bills.
Identify and target. Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, such as commuting. Vow to target that stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor and so on.
Test-drive sensory input. If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day. Keep experimenting until you find a clear winner.
Have fun with the process. If something doesnt work, dont force it. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming.
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If You Need More Help
Stress can be hard to deal with on your own. It’s okay to seek help if you need it. Talk with your doctor about the stress you’re feeling and how it affects you. A licensed counselor or other health professional can help you find ways to reduce stress symptoms. He or she can also help you think about ways to reduce stress in your life.
A counselor or health professional is useful for:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy . CBT teaches you to be aware of how you perceive stress. It helps you understand that the way you think about stress affects your response to it. CBT helps you create and use skills to deal with stress.
- Biofeedback. This technique teaches you how to use your mind to control skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate, or blood pressure. All of these things can be affected by stress. Learning biofeedback requires training in a special lab or a doctor’s office.
- Hypnosis. With hypnosis, you take suggestions that may help you change the way you act. It’s important to find a health professional with a lot of training and experience. Some psychologists, counselors, doctors, and dentists know how to use hypnosis.
How Does Your Body React To Work Stress
Imagine for a moment that your boss has emailed you about an unfinished assignment . Your body and mind instantly respond, activating a physical reaction called the fight-or-flight response. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense. At the same time you might say to yourself, Im going to get fired if I dont finish this. Then to manage your anxiety and negative self-talk, you work late into the night to complete the task.
Over the course of our evolutionary history, humans developed this coordinated fear response to protect against dangers in our environment. For example, a faster heart rate and tense muscles would help us escape from predators. In the modern era, fear continues to serve an important function. After all, the fight-or-flight response can provide the necessary energy to pull an all-nighter and keep your job.
But what happens if you encounter stressful experiences at work every day? Over time, chronic work stress can lead to a psychological syndrome known as burnout. Warning signs of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficacy. Certain work-related stressors are closely linked with burnout. Examples are having too much work or too little independence, inadequate pay, lack of community between coworkers, unfairness or disrespect, and a mismatch between workplace and personal values.
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Talk Yourself Through It
Sometimes calling a friend is not an option. If this is the case, talking calmly to yourself can be the next best thing.
Dont worry about seeming crazy just tell yourself why youre stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be okay.
Tips For Staying On Track
- Plan for setbacks. Make a personal action plan by writing down your goals, any possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
- Get support. Tell family and friends your reasons for wanting to change. Tell them that their encouragement makes a big difference to you in your goal to reduce stress. Your doctor or a professional counselor can also provide support. A counselor can help you set goals and provide support in dealing with setbacks.
- Pat yourself on the back. Don’t forget to give yourself some positive feedback. If you slip up, don’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself. Instead, think about all the times you’ve avoided getting stressed by making changes.
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How To Use Curcumin In Your Life
Curcumin is generally considered safe to take indefinitely. But unfortunately, the body isnt able to absorb it and make use of its benefits very efficiently.
Some people eat turmeric with black pepper and a fat source, such as ghee or coconut oil, as has been done traditionally in India for many centuries to boost bioavailability. But many people find it easiest to achieve optimal levels with curcumin supplementation.
At FRN, we recommend making use of a micelle liposomal delivery mechanism because its been found to increase bioavailability by up to 185 times.
Purality Health offers a premium organic liposomal curcumin, combined with a number of other potent anti-inflammatories to create a product they call Curcumin Gold.
Important Note About Lead in Turmeric:
Investigators believe that in some countries, turmeric may be intentionally contaminated with lead to enhance its weight, color, or both. Lead-contaminated turmeric has repeatedly been found in India and Bangladesh, and it may be a concern in the United States, as well.
The FDA has not set maximum permissible levels of lead in spices. As a result, the agency does not regulate lead levels in turmeric. If you want to protect yourself and your family from possible lead contamination, the best option is to buy fresh turmeric root or to buy organic turmeric and curcumin products. You can also contact manufacturers to ask if they test for lead and other metals.
Appetite Changes And Weight Gain
Changes in appetite are common during times of stress.
When you feel stressed out, you may find yourself with no appetite at all or overeating without noticing.
One small 2006 study of 272 female college students found that 81 percent reported that they experienced changes in appetite when they were stressed out, with 62 percent stating they had an increase in appetite .
Changes in appetite may also cause fluctuations in weight during stressful periods. For example, a study involving 1,355 people in the United States found that stress was associated with weight gain in adults already living with extra weight .
A third study from 2017 found that individuals with higher cortisol and insulin levels and higher levels of chronic stress were more likely to gain weight in the future . However, the study was limited in the scope of research in that participants were predominantly white females.
While these studies show an association between stress and changes in appetite or weight, more studies are needed to understand other possible factors are involved and how stress impacts different people.
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How To Reduce Stress And Anxiety In 10 Steps
We all experience stress and anxiety at one time or another. For some, it may be more severe than others, but one thing is for sure: we can all agree that a stress-free life is a happy one. If you are fed up with your stress and anxiety, you may be wondering how to reduce stress. The good news is there are plenty of stress reducers that you can incorporate into your life to help you.
Step One: Think Ahead
Stressful triggers are usually repetitive. If you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, you may find that the same things each month cause you unneeded stress. Some examples include past due bills, laundry piling up, or deadlines at work.
Once you identify the problems in your life that consistently stress you out, you can begin working to eliminate them by planning ahead.
If money problems seem to be constantly plaguing you, it may be time to consider coming up with a budget. A budget can help you to meet your financial goals by setting aside money for those important bills so that you don’t have to worry when it comes time to pay them.
If you have issues setting aside time to do housework or laundry, you could set aside one day of each week to take care of these duties. For example, you could do all the laundry on Sundays and clean the house on Mondays.
Be sure not to pile too much work onto one day, or you could risk becoming even more stressed from the amount of work you have to do that day.
Step Two: Tweak your Morning Routine
Step Three: Get More Sleep
Tip : Bring Your Senses To The Rescue
To use your senses to quickly relieve stress, you first need to identify the sensory experiences that work best for you. This can require some experimentation. As you employ different senses, note how quickly your stress levels drop. And be as precise as possible. What is the specific kind of sound or type of movement that affects you the most? For example, if youre a music lover, listen to many different artists and types of music until you find the song that instantly lifts and relaxes you.
Explore a variety of sensory experiences so that no matter where you are, youll always have a tool to relieve stress.
The examples listed below are intended to be a jumping-off point. Let your imagination run free and come up with additional things to try. When you find the right sensory technique, youll know it!
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Stress Management Isnt Just About Stress Relief
Heres the thing: learning how to reduce stress wont help all that much if you cant keep stress levels low for the long-haul.
Stress has a ripple effect . The key to effective stress management is to help reduce much of this ripple effect. That will ultimately help you to remain calm, think rationally and respond appropriately so that you can more quickly bounce back instead of allowing stress to take control of you and emotionally react.
And thats what control is really all about. Controlling your thoughts and emotions. You cant be in control of your life if you dont first learn to manage your stress levels.
What Science Says About Tulsi
In a 2012 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the international, peer-reviewed journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 158 highly stressed individuals received either a placebo or holy basil.
After six weeks, the holy basil group reported improved symptoms of general stress 39% more than the placebo group.
Symptoms, such as frequent feelings of exhaustion, forgetfulness, and sleep problems decreased significantly. And participants reported no adverse effects.
Another 2008 study published in the Nepal Medical College Journal involved patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Researchers found that 500 mg of holy basil twice daily significantly reduced anxiety and associated stress, depression, and inattention in participants.
Further evidence is mounting that tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress. It has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals and against physical stress from prolonged physical exertion and exposure to cold and excessive noise.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommendstulsi for people who have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Getting specific, the Center recommends 400 milligrams of tulsi daily to help fight stress and to support adrenal health.
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Listen To A Relaxing Song
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D, Director of the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health, said music therapy can also be a great way to relax wherever you are.
The auditory cortex is connected to other areas of the brain that are connected to our reward system, motor systems, centers for motivation and emotion regulation, Edwards said.
In fact, research shows music can help people dealing with stress-related disorders, mild depression and anxiety.
How To Manage And Reduce Stress
Here, we would like to start, by giving you an introduction to what stress is, what the signs of stress are, what simple steps you can take when feeling stressed and provide practical advice for preventing it, to show why we are passionate about moving towards a less stressed nation.
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