Feeling stress and anxiety? You’re not alone. According to the most recent “Stress in America” study by the American Psychological Association, stress levels in the U.S. are on the upswing. Americans that report higher levels of stress also have increasingly poor health, are more likely to report depression, and have job or relationship issues.
Just because you’re stressed out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be medicated or committed. In fact, there are some proactive things that you can do to relieve some of these symptoms. Here are several natural and safe methods of stress relief that are proven to bring some joy back into your day.
Of the many natural things that you can do to relieve stress, exercise is probably the most recommended and effective. There are both physical and mental benefits to exercise, and their contribution to stress relief can’t be disputed. Exercise helps reduce fatigue, improves concentration, and enhances cognitive function. These are all areas that suffer when you are stressed, anxious, or depressed. Exercise also releases endorphins into your system, which improve your ability to sleep and help mood. Just five minutes of aerobic exercise per day can produce some noticeable results.
It’s no surprise that, when you’re stressed, your body tenses up, and your muscles become tight as a drum. Massage therapy, and particularly Swedish massage, has been shown to be effective in reducing both anxiety and depressive symptoms. This is the most popular style of therapy, and it consists of several types of strokes to reduce joint and muscle stiffness, promoting overall relaxation.
There are several safe supplements for stress relief that help with such things as sleeplessness, anxiety, and even sore muscles. Among them are:
- Melatonin has been shown to help with both insomnia and promoting healthy sleep patterns.
- Valerian Root is a herb that is often used to treat stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Vitamin B-Complex refers to such vitamins as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin, folic acid, and B12. Some research links it to improved mood because it may boost energy levels.
- Theanine is an amino acid that is found in green tea. It is used to treat high blood pressure and is a natural supplement for anxiety.
- Magnesium is a mineral that promotes both muscle and nerve relaxation, with possible benefits for depression.
When you are stressed, you’re likely not in the present moment. In fact, stress is either worrying about the future or continually reliving something negative from the past. This is where meditation can be so helpful with stress relief. Meditation has you focus your attention and breathing only on what is happening right now, nothing else. There are several ways to meditate including using guided imagery and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Meditation takes practice, but the results are well worth the effort.
Whether you are creative or not, it often helps to put pen to paper and get your feelings out. Writing in a journal 10 to 15 minutes a day is a proven stress relief exercise. Also try getting involved in art or a favorite craft to relax.
Few people are able to cure stress through willpower and, fortunately, this isn’t necessary. These healthy methods of stress relief are simple to implement, won’t break the bank, and will make your life much more enjoyable.
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