Stress is everybody’s business. You could think you have it under control, but the truth is that stress has a way of creeping up on you, and causing drastic health repercussions. We live in a hectic world, one which requires our stress hormone, cortisol, to work overtime. However, this is far from the way this hormone was meant to act.
The body’s stress reaction was supposed to be called into play when man’s survival was threatened, not when he or she was 5 minutes late to work. Today, regardless of what your stressor is, you need to find effective natural ways to reduce it. Do not rely on prescription meds, or consider them, as even though they may offer short term relief, they will make things worse very quickly.
Try the following tips:
Exercise has numerous benefits on physical health, but can also help regulate emotional wellbeing, and reduce the negative results from a stressful lifestyle. Exercise elevates levels of beneficial brain chemicals, known as endorphins, which elevate mood, promote relaxation and counter stress. In addition, exercise also increases testosterone levels, which shares an inverse relationship with cortisol (as one goes up, the other goes down). For best results, exercise a minimum of three times weekly, making sure to include weight-bearing exercises.
2. Eat Dark Chocolate
Eating any chocolate makes you feel better, right? However, we’re not looking at milk chocolate varieties, which are loaded with sugar and not much else, but rich dark chocolate, which contains a compound known as epicatechin. This compound is highly sought after, as it has multiple beneficial effects on improving heart health, brain function and more. It also the ability to reduce the effects of stress, and perceived stress. Perceived stress is defined as a relative level of stress because what affects one person may not affect another. Improving your threshold of negative effects is extremely important.
3. Try A Massage
Why is it that people often opt for massages when feeling stressed? Simple, because it works! Stress is much more than psychological, as its effects manifest throughout the body; muscular pain, tension, inability to sleep and much, much more. A massage can help address some of the manifestations of stress, such as pain and tension. Some massage therapists are also trained in the art of acupressure, which is using focused pressure at specific acupoints in order to get “chi” flowing once more. Chi (or qi) is believed to be life energy, with blockages of it resulting in many maladies that we cannot fully explain. Acupressure isn’t merely wishful thinking, as it has been documented to have a profound effect on reducing stress levels in the real world.
The practice of meditation should be taught in all schools. There is likely no other technique that has a more profound effect on many facets of human health as meditation, yet most people do not practice any sort of meditation. Meditation does not need to be made into a complex science, but at its core, it involves focusing the mind on absolutely nothing beyond the immediate present. Anxiety surely worsens your stress burden, and meditation perfectly helps to eliminate the worry of the future or the past.
5. Laugh And Have A Good Time
The number one enemy of stress is fun. Laughter is the best medicine after all, and it can do miracles, ranging from reducing blood pressure, mediating pain responses, and helping to manage the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Stressed individuals rarely take time out to smile and have fun, which only feeds the flames of a downward spiral. Make time for memories, have fun with family and don’t take yourself too seriously.