It seems like the older I get, the more stressed out I become. When I was a kid, I thought I had problems. In high school, the world nearly ended when a girl I like publicly rejected me. And then, in my 20s, I started learning about anxiety. And the most important thing I learned is that it gets progressively worse until you finally face the problem.
Stress isn’t going to go away on its own because life will always have stressors. That’s why I learned to manage my anxiety with natural stress relievers.
With this in mind, here are the top 5 natural stress-relieving methods that I’d recommend to anyone.
You probably already know that exercise makes you feel good. But its effects aren’t just on the body. Exercise also has mental benefits with a neurochemical basis. It works by reducing the body’s stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline.
At the same time, exercise stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, which are brain chemicals that work as natural mood enhancers.
I used to think meditation was a waste of time. I knew it worked for some people, but I was convinced that I wasn’t in that group. It wasn’t until I had been meditating for about two weeks that I noticed a difference. I felt like my sessions were more productive, but I also found that I was better equipped to handle stress. For me, meditation was a game-changer. And the research seems to support using meditation to help relieve stress.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD reviewed close to 19 thousand meditation studies and concluded that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like depression, anxiety, and pain.
Just in case you needed an excuse to get a massage, mounting research indicates that massage therapy is a great way to help manage stress.
One study found that massage therapy can reduce pain, promote muscle relaxation, and improve mood and sleep quality.
It’s true that massages can get pricey, but you do have some options. If you go regularly, you may be able to get a deal by buying in bulk. If not, maybe enlist a friend or spouse in a barter system. Everyone could use a massage. This is also a great time to practice gratitude for the amazing people in your life.
Lavender is one of the best-known essential oils, and it’s also one of the best you can use for calming.
It’s so powerful, in fact, that one study found that people who sprayed a 3 percent lavender spray on their clothing experienced less work-related stress. And it gets better. The results lasted 3 days.
In a study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice, “aromatherapy using a 3 percent lavender oil spray on clothing was found to be effective in reducing work-related stress for three to four days.”
Like in the study, you can use essential oils in a spray. But you can also diffuse them or use bath salts or massage oils infused with essential oils.
I used to think that I was being more productive by staying up later to work. Then I realized that those late nights were having the opposite effect from what I intended. Instead of making me more productive, they detracted from my productivity. Since I was staying up so late, I was basically useless the next morning. So then I had to stay up late again to get enough work done. It was a vicious cycle. And because I was exhausted, my anxiety levels were through the roof. Nothing good came of those late-nights, and now I understand the importance of sleep.
If you’re feeling especially stressed, know that you’re not alone. Stress is a major problem in our society, and we all face it at one time or another. Try my natural stress-relieving methods to see if you can find one that works for you.
Author bio: Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies and is currently writing for Sober Nation. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar or outside enjoying any type of fitness activity imaginable.