Stress is a normal part of human life. All humans face stress and anxiety in their lives - some more often than others. It is common to all, irrespective of caste, creed, location or wealth. Even the most successful people go through bouts of stress.
Modern lives revolve around stress. Be it related to your daily work, your family life, your plans and dreams, stress can occur anytime. However, it is not necessarily a bad thing as people make it to be. It happens to us all, yet we always tend to hide it. It is illogically related to our self-honor, and those who admit to being stressed can be shamed by society and its expectations.
If we speak about statistics and numbers, then about 18% of the population or 40 million adults are affected by anxiety, stress, and mental health issues in the US alone.
Poor mental health has a big impact on the physical and overall health of an individual. Before things turn for the worse, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. This ensures that you get the best possible treatment and overcome your issues as soon as possible.
However, even before you reach that stage where you might require outside interference and help, you can start by yourself and treat your mental health issues naturally. Yes, it may sound hard to do, especially if you are going through tough times and are under severe stress and pressure. Trust us, and read along to find out the 8 natural stress-relieving methods you can start right now!
8 Natural Stress Relieving Methods
We have handpicked some really good and effective natural stress busters that work almost rather quickly. Let’s take a detailed look at them:
Exercising is one of the best ways to burn off some negative energy within you. Research supports and believes in the fact that there can be no better natural way to get rid of stress than exercise. Trials conducted by researchers even confirmed that exercise can be an effective treatment for anxiety.
Another study, conducted in 2016, suggests that exercise can even resolve anxiety in people related to quitting smoking. The science behind exercising and its role in stress relief is that it boosts the production of endorphins in your body – a chemical in the brain that acts as a natural painkiller. It improves the quality of sleep and relieves all the stress in the mind.
On top of that, by exercising, you tend to focus on the task at hand. The energy and optimism that results through exercise make it easier to forget the stress-causing factors, and instead, you become more calm, self-confident, relaxed, and have a better mood overall. It can even cure mild depression and anxiety, giving you a sense of command - not only over your body but even over your life.
Meditation is another soothing way of taking off stress from your mind. It can slow down racing thoughts in your brain and make it easy to manage stress and anxiety. There is a wide range of meditation styles including yoga, spiritual meditation, progressive relaxation, transcendental meditation amongst others, and you could choose from any style you like to get started.
Research has suggested that doing meditation reduces blood pressure, which in turn calms you down. Another research conducted on college students to see the effects of mindfulness meditation concluded that it showed promising results of a significant reduction in stress and anxiety amongst students.
Meditation leads to a calm mind by focusing your attention and it eliminates the jumbled thoughts that crowd the mind and cause stress. In extreme cases, it can even lead to depression. Doing mediation regularly can enhance emotional and mental well-being for longer periods of time.
3. Spending Time With Furry Friends
Pets offer companionship, support, love, and care that other humans can’t match. Not only are they a great source of comfort, but also motivate their owners. Research published in 2020 confirmed the fact that spending time with pets can improve the condition of individuals suffering from mental health problems.
Besides soothing your mind with their unconditional love and companionship, pets can also make you exercise and be more playful. It can even result in an improvement in your cardiovascular health. Various studies conducted have concluded that pet owners make 30 percent fewer visits to doctors than non-pet owners, heart attack patients that have pets have a bigger survival rate, and playing with pets elevates the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which have a calming and relaxing influence on the mind. On top of that, people with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations and have fewer chances of suffering from depression as compared to people without pets.
Journaling can be one of the best ways to counter stress and soothe your mind. If you are not already aware, journaling refers to the idea of writing down thoughts and feelings and expressing one’s experiences and observations. Journaling doesn’t have any set rules and it solely depends upon the individual on how they want to use it to express their thoughts and emotions on paper.
The connection between journaling and relieving mental stress is very deep. Stress can cause a lot of problems in our daily lives and affect our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. However, journaling helps in removing the roadblocks in the mind by allowing us to express ourselves freely without the fear of getting judged and allows us to better manage the stress-causing factors, thereby improving our mental and general health.
5. Being Close to Friends and Family
Social support is one of the crucial aspects of easing a stressed mind. Being able to discuss your problems with your loved ones, hearing suggestions and words of wisdom from them and feeling unconditional love can make you feel that you belong and encourage you to fight it out while staying positive.
A recent study found that for women particularly, spending time with children and family helps in releasing oxytocin, a chemical compound that works as a natural stress reliever. Another study conducted on the same issue concluded that men and women who had fewer friends and social connections were found to be at a higher risk of going through depression or face anxiety.
6. Listen to Soothing Music
Music is known to have a very calming effect on both the mind and the body. Although everyone has different taste in music and people feel relaxed listening to different genres. It’s proven that certain genres (including slow-paced instrumental music) induce the relaxation response and regulate blood pressure, heart-beat and stress hormones.
Additional types of music including Classical, Native American, country and Indian music are also known to have a soothing effect. You can also listen to sounds of nature to feel calmness and peace, which is also a reason that these sounds are generally included in meditation music.
Science has backed this claim since a recent study concluded that listening to music impacts the psychobiological stress system. It initiates a faster response from the autonomic nervous system and increases endocrine production to help manage stress, asserting how beneficial music is to our bodies.
7. Deep Breathing/Breathing Exercises
When you suffer from bouts of stress or depression, your body releases stress hormones that further lead to an increase in physical symptoms, such as a faster heartbeat, constricted blood vessels and even breathing quickly. Deep breathing can counter this reaction from the body and calm things down a bit.
A study conducted by Trinity College’s Institute of Neuroscience concluded that the connection between breath and mind is pretty strong. Respiration has a neurological link. Consistent breathing exercises improve our focus and help settle us down during emotional situations.
There are multiple breathing exercises including belly breathing, the much popular 4-7-8 breathing, modified lion’s breath, diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, paced respiration and many others that you can try during periods of tension. By focusing your awareness on your breathing during tough times. Making it slower and deeper while you go through the process, you will slow your heart rate and blood rush, eventually attaining peace.
8. Sleep Like a Baby!
Sleeping is fundamental to good overall health. It becomes tough to get a good night’s sleep when going through stress, anxiety, or depression. As a recent study found out, up to 90% of people already going through any mental illness has issues trying to get a good sound sleep. However, by taking some actions you can prioritize your sleep, and counter the ill effects of stress. These actions include:
- Keeping blue light screens away at night.
- Keeping your room dark.
- Avoiding caffeine and large meals before bedtime.
- Exercising daily so that your body gets tired and you can get a good night’s sleep
- Trying to go to bed at the same time each night
The fact that makes sleeping a powerful stress buster is that it allows your body to calm and restore its lost energy. It regulates your mood, improves your concentration and focus, sharpens your decision-making and allows you to take better decisions to counter stress and not get demotivated by it.