There's no avoiding stress and anxiety. We encounter it every day during our normal routines. Whether you're trying to get the kids out the door in the morning or working on a big project at work, we all face stress at some point or another.
If you're feeling burned out, reaching for a cup of coffee, down an energy drink, or flop down on the couch in a stupor is tempting. While these quick fixes may be able to temporarily boost your energy, they usually aren't the healthiest or most effective. Instead, consider these eleven natural remedies for anxiety that can offer you the pick-me-up you need at the moment and hopefully get you on the path to less stress and anxiety permanently.
What Causes Stress and Anxiety?
A better question may be what doesn't cause stress and anxiety. Your triggers may be the same as someone else's, or they can be different. We all face challenging moments and can process them in different ways. For example, stay-at-home moms may feel stressed when they spend all day nurturing and loving on their little ones only to realize their significant other will be home soon, and they have yet to pick up the toys or put away the dishes. Working parents can feel stress commuting to and from work and trying to make it to their kids' sporting events or family activities.
The point is we all feel stress, and no matter what triggers it, it is a valid stressor if it causes you worry and discomfort.
Technically speaking, there is a difference between stress and anxiety, though we tend to use the terms interchangeably. Stress is an emotional response triggered by external stimuli, like work deadlines. Anxiety is chronic, persistent worries that aren't caused by a single stressful event. Mild anxiety may benefit from natural anxiety relief and stress-relief techniques. In contrast, more persistent anxiety should be discussed with your doctor.
Why is Stress Bad?
Besides making you uncomfortable and "stressed-out," stress can have adverse physical impacts. Often, your heart rate will increase, your blood pressure will rise, and muscles will contract (tighten). You may experience headaches, digestive issues, chest pain, and sweating. Prolonged stress can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Regardless of whether you're experiencing acute stress or chronic stress, natural remedies, and techniques may be able to help!
Natural Treatments for Stress and Anxiety
These alternative treatment options can help you relax, reframe stressful situations, and soothe your nervous system. However, suppose these anxiety relief and stress relief tactics aren't working. In that case, having a conversation with your doctor is a good idea.
1. Stick to a healthy diet.
Diet isn't just important for your physical health, but your mental health too. You may be more susceptible to stress if you regularly consume overly processed foods containing a lot of extra sugar. A diet lacking vital nutrients can also predispose you to heighten stress levels if you are deficient in vitamins and minerals that help your body to regulate mood and stress. A well-rounded diet of fresh, whole foods can strengthen your body to fight stress and its negative effects.
2. Seek movement
Similarly, exercise is great for more than just building muscle and cardio endurance. Moving your body can help to reduce perceived stress and increase endorphins, which are your feel-good neurotransmitters. Studies have found that daily exercise can lower stress, improve sleep, and boost mood.
3. Consider supplements
Many supplements promise to reduce stress, but not all are effective. Screen supplements carefully. You may benefit from a multivitamin if you feel like your nutrient levels are lacking. Alternatively, a supplement that contains powerful stress-fighters called adaptogens may help your body to fight the negative effects of oxidative stress. You may consider a daily supplement, like Hormonal Balance & Mood Support, or an in-the-moment stress buster like Golden Milk.
4. Cut Back on Caffeine
When you feel stressed, do you reach for another cup of coffee? Too much caffeine from energy drinks, coffee, tea, or chocolate may only heighten your anxiety and nervousness. Additionally, it may make you too alert, detracting from restful sleep and further promoting stress. Instead, stick to consuming caffeine in moderation and try natural remedies to boost energy and alleviate stress.
5. Reduce Screen Time
In truth, we all spend too much time on phones, computers, and tablets. High levels of stress have been linked to excessive use of smartphones. Furthermore, social media and too much screen time have also been associated with decreased mental health. Minimizing the time spent in front of a screen may help to lower stress and improve sleep.
6. Get Outdoors
Spending time in nature can be like natural anxiety medication. Studies have found that getting outside, whether through forest bathing or gardening, can help our brains and bodies relax. Additionally, sunshine is excellent for maintaining Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to stress and mood disorders.
7. Make Time for Self-Care
By now, you likely know that self-care is important. Setting aside time to do things that improve your mood is a natural way to stop stress and unwind. You could cook, read, stretch, take a bath, cuddle with your pet, or do anything that helps you to feel rejuvenated, valued, and happy. Adequate self-care has been found to lower stress and help individuals feel that they have a better quality of life.
8. Don't Procrastinate
Procrastinating is often setting you up for stress. Using proper time management techniques, and boundaries, and knowing when to say "no" helps prevent anxiety and stressful situations. You may have chronic stress if you always feel like you're struggling to catch up. Instead, prioritize, delegate, and break tasks into chunks so that you can stay ahead of the game.
9. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Sometimes our family can be the source of our stress, but more often than not, their support can help us cope in challenging times. Playing friendly games, having heartfelt conversations, or even just relaxing on the couch can boost mood and promote relaxation. Joining a community group or club can be an excellent way to get social support outside your home.
10. Try Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy may help to relieve stress, though the evidence is limited. However, some individuals naturally find certain scents calming, such as lavender. You can engage in aromatherapy by adding oils to your bath, diffusing them, or using scented lotions. A note to mamas: be careful when diffusing oils around your little ones as they're often more sensitive.
11. Consider Stress Fighting Tools
There are a myriad of stress-relief tools you can try that can help calm you down when life's little moments build up. From weighted blankets to gel eye masks, relaxation tools can be great when stress sneaks up on you!
How to Stop Stress for Good
Unfortunately, there's no way to get rid of stress permanently. But investing in your physical and mental health can help lower anxiety levels and boost your body's resilience to stress.