Stress is probably one of the most ageing things there is. Just look at presidents and prime ministers when they take office with shiny hair and optimistic faces and cut to 5 or so years down the line and there is a grey haired haggard looking individual. It can also take a serious toll on health. Here we have a new writer to the site, Virginia Cunningham, look at practical and easy ways to deal with stress. And look what takes pride of place yet again?? I’m going to say it one more time! Exercise is the closest thing there is to an anti-ageing pill! And is the best stress buster!
Enough is Enough: Natural Remedies For Stress
Stress isn’t something you can just ignore until it goes away on its own. Unfortunately, stress is often characterized by an involuntary response that our body has to certain life events. Whether its work, relationships, finances, or some other difficult issue that might arise, stress is the default response for a lot of people.
That’s bad news, because feeling stressed doesn’t do anything to help the situation. Instead, stress and anxiety cause us further problems and make it more difficult to come to grips with the situations we’re dealing with.
Chronic anxiety can lead to headaches, weakening of the immune system, fatigue, and, if left untreated, psychological issues like hypochondria; all of which can take root and increase our stress response even more.
However, stress itself is a normal response that our bodies need, thus we need to learn to control and not eliminate it.
Since stress is an active bodily response, you need to be active in the way you fight it. Here are a few things you can do to effectively and naturally manage the stress and anxiety in your life.
1. Exercise and running
Most any kind of exercise is good for stress, but running and jogging in particular are extremely helpful when it comes to reducing and dealing with all forms of anxiety. It also doesn’t have to be for long distances. Just spend a solid 15 to 20 minutes running or jogging at a manageable pace. Whether you prefer the outdoors or a treadmill is totally up to you.
Because running can be difficult for many people, and is especially hard on joints, walking is a great alternative. Going for a brisk walk does the trick just as well as running, as it gets you outside and helps to bring fresh air into your body. A change of scenery is always good for your mind, helping you forget about the stress which so easily creeps up.
It’s just good to get your heart rate going and strengthen your cardiovascular system. This can reduce your propensity to breathe heavy or feel out of breathe when you’re stressed, which can in turn, reduce your stress response.
2. Meditation room
A lot of people don’t have a spare room to devote to meditation, and perhaps you aren’t even into meditating. That’s totally fine, but just think of this as a room that can just be “your space” to go and relax without any distractions.
Having a room that’s completely devoted to relaxing can be tremendously helpful for those stressful days, so consider decorating this room with calming items like a wall fountain and some green plants.
3. New hobby
Having something that you enjoy doing, outside of work and responsibilities, can help to take your mind off the stress of your daily life. Try putting more time into a hobby that you already enjoy, or perhaps pick up a new one. Try to focus specifically on a hobby that allows you to create or build something. This will engage your mind and give you something to focus on that doesn’t involve worrying.
4. Massage therapy
Consider getting a massage once or twice a week. Muscular tension is often an unknown consequence (and sometimes cause) of stress. If you can relax your muscles, it might actually prevent you from falling into some of those stressful cycles.
As massages are often expensive, and perhaps not a viable option for people every week, there are alternatives that can release muscular tension and prevent stress. Yoga is very effective, because through stretching your body is able to release built-up tension. Any sort of stretching is beneficial for the release of tension, and can easily be done each day. Many people find stretching to be most helpful in the morning, when you get up, and in the evening, as you are winding down for the day.
Breaking the Cycle
If you suffer from chronic stress, it’s often the case that your body has learned to respond that way. This means stress will occur more quickly, easily, and will often crop up in situations that wouldn’t typically warrant any amount of stress or anxiety.
Once your body learns this, it’s hard to turn it off, but the good news is that you can use these methods to proactively break the cycle. If you stay committed, over time, your body will essentially relearn how to respond to stressful situations, in a much more calm and relaxed manner.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer in Southern California. Balancing all the activities of life can be stressful and difficult to do, so she is always on the lookout for methods to reduce stress and live a healthier life.