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How to Cope with Stress and Anxiety Naturally
Your car breaks down on your way to an important job interview. Your computer crashes right before an important paper is due. Your washing machine overflows while you’re at work and floods your entire apartment… and the one downstairs.
Life throws us all kinds of curveballs to deal with on a daily basis. Some days just suck. Sometimes, we have entire weeks or even months that are absolutely terrible. Thankfully, life does go on, and things do get better. Cars, computers, and washing machines can all be repaired.
But, the endless roadblocks that are part of life can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being, unless you learn how to cope with the stress and anxiety that goes along with them.
Living in a constant state of stress, anxiety, and worry can actually shorten your life! Did life get you down? Here are some natural ways to cope with anxiety and stress that can help you now and for years in the future.
Know Your Limits
Sometimes the things that are stressing you out are out of your control, but not always. You need to know your limits so that you don’t take on more than you can handle.
If you feel like you always have too much on your plate, it’s time to learn how to say no so that you’re not overwhelmed from juggling too many things.
Spend Time with Your Pet
You may be surprised to learn that petting and cuddling an animal is a great way to cope with stress and boost your mood. Research shows that interacting with a pet causes oxytocin to be released.
Oxytocin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain and encourages a positive attitude. But that’s not all! Being responsible for a pet gives you purpose, keeps you more active, and provides companionship, which is all key for coping with stress and anxiety.
If you can’t or don’t have a pet of your own, borrow one from a friend for the day or, better yet, go to the local shelter and give some attention to homeless animals in need.
Meditation and Yoga
Yoga has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years because it’s a low impact form of exercise that works for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s also a great way to reduce anxiety and stress.
There many different types of yoga practice, but they are all useful for relaxing the body and mind by teaching meditation, proper breathing, and stretching techniques.
Research shows that practicing yoga may be just as effective for treating depression and anxiety as pharmaceuticals but without the harmful side effects.
Not only that, but it can also increase your feelings of general well-being and boost your mood because yoga has a positive impact on your body’s response to stress and your nervous system overall.
Our lifestyles are hectic and busy these days. It’s the age of convenience and fast food… and that means we probably aren’t eating as healthy as we should. Some experts actually believe that the nutrients in our soil are so deficient that it’s impossible to get proper nutrition by merely eating a good diet.
Supplementing your diet with essential minerals and vitamins each day can help your mind and body to better cope with anxiety and stress while benefiting your physical health at the same time.
In fact, taking an Omega-3 supplement alone can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress by up to 30%.
To further combat the effects of stress, you may also wish to consider herbal supplements. Kava kava, valerian, and lemon balm can all be useful for managing anxiety.
For reducing stress, consider the Ayurveda herb ashwagandha. Green tea contains polyphenols that can boost your serotonin levels to help you cope with anxiety and stress.
Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been used as an effective and natural treatment for anxiety and stress for thousands of years.
During an acupuncture treatment, an acupuncturist inserts super fine needles into specific locations on the body called acupuncture points. The goal is to treat underlying imbalances that cause anxiety, rather than merely treating the anxiety itself.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners emphasize treating the mind and body as a whole. Many patients who have acupuncture sessions regularly report that they are incredibly relaxing and calming. Some patients even fall asleep during their treatments. It’s a drug-free, natural, and safe way to cope with stress and anxiety.
According to experts at the Yinova Center in Brooklyn, traditional Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to treating the mind and the body.
Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with herbal remedies to balance the body’s systems so that it can cope with stress more efficiently.
An acupuncture physician will create a customized plan that often includes lifestyle changes, bodywork, and Chinese herbs, along with the acupuncture sessions. Results are usually noticed after only one session.
Most of us don’t get enough exercise, and that’s a shame because exercise is perfect for coping with anxiety and stress… not to mention improving your health in general. In fact, working out actually stimulates several body responses that reduce stress and enhance your state of mind.
- Confidence: When you exercise on a regular basis, your confidence levels increase, and you feel more in control and competent. That’s good for your overall well-being and coping with everyday stress and anxiety.
- Sleep: Working out also improves the quality and amount of your sleep. Getting proper sleep is crucial for coping with anxiety and stress.
- Stress-hormones: Exercise reduces the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. At the same time, it stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain-killer, and mood enhancer.
If you hate working out, don’t worry! You don’t have to hit the gym to benefit from exercise. Find a fun activity that you enjoy but still provides exercise. Activities such as walking in nature, running, dancing, yoga, or even rock climbing are all great options. Things like jogging and walking that require continuous use of your large muscle groups will be especially helpful for coping with stress.
You will never be able to eliminate anxiety and stress from your life completely. Finding natural and safe ways to cope with them on a daily basis can benefit your overall well-being and increase your longevity. Taking control of how you handle the anxiety and stress in your life only makes sense.