Beat Stress the Natural Way

Saad Rana Jul 17 2014

Stress is the brain’s response to demands, particularly demands that disrupt an individual’s normal routine.  They could be emotional or physical in nature. Stress can be triggered by a range of circumstances, above all change; the level of stress varies depending on the nature of change i.e. positive or negative, or mild to extreme. The body’s response to stress can include insomnia, headaches, digestive disorders, and mood swings. Chronic stress can result in illness, heart disease, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders.
Anxiety and stress are emotional and physical responses to everyday life situations such as the morning rush hour, misplacing your keys at the last minute, trouble at work, or having an argument with a loved one. Fortunately, avoiding the negative implications of stress is possible. All you need to do is incorporate the following habits into your daily life at your own pace.

Get Enough Sleep

Inconsistent sleep does more than just affect your physical health. Lack of sleep can also exacerbate your tension levels. This can very easily transition into a vicious cycle because this added anxiety can cause sleep disorders. So what can you do to ensure that you get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night? Well, it may seem hard to manage but make sure that you get enough sleep especially when you’re overwhelmed by a stressful schedule or situation. Being well-rested will help you think with a clear mind, enabling you to find solutions to the stressors in your life.
If you have trouble falling asleep due to the plethora of anxious thoughts racing through your mind, read a book, have a cup of soothing chamomile tea, or try progressive muscle relaxation techniques. For more information read: Easy Tips to Cure Sleeplessness


Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins i.e. chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. These endorphins have the power to elevate your mood and enhance the quality of your sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Go for a 10-15 minute jog, engage in a full 45 minute workout, sign up for dance classes, get a gym membership, or just play your favorite sport daily and you’re good to go.  

Smile and Socialize

When something affects your mood take a quick break and smile. Try it out sometime! Research suggests that laughter can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. You could even watch a funny show to calm your nerves and give your mind a much needed break.  Research also suggests that people who have a strong social support system tend to react less negatively to stressful circumstances. That’s because socializing stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety-reducing effect. So the next time you are feeling restless, go out for coffee and spend some time with your friends.

Express Gratitude and Exude Positivity

Studies have found that being thankful for what you have helps to reduce anxiety. Start a gratitude journal to adopt a mindset of appreciation. When you feel unnerved and fretful, count your blessings and remind yourself of everything that you have. In connection to being grateful, you could also cultivate the habit of thinking positively. If you feel intimidated by a certain situation, imagine yourself in a calm and peaceful setting. This ‘happy place’ is your sanctuary where no harm can befall you. Use this technique to detach yourself from the stress in your life, and transition into that state of serenity and calm where you can work out a viable solution to your troubles.

Meditation and Deep Breathing

We discussed the art of positive thinking in the previous stress-beating tip. Meditation can help you master this technique and enable you to embody that aura of tranquility, calm and cool-headedness. Scientists have also discovered that meditation has a profound influence on the grey matter in your brain, allowing the body to handle stress in a more productive manner and to be less affected by it.  Additional studies have confirmed the positive effects of meditation on anxiety, moodiness and stress symptoms.
While practicing meditation you will also, inadvertently, master deep breathing techniques. Short and shallow breathing does little to reduce your anxiety. Make a conscious effort to take long and deep breaths to help your body to slow down, unwind and release its pent-up frustration.

It’s Time to Unclutter

Physical clutter = mental clutter. A messy workplace or a chaotic room can make it more difficult to relax. In fact, all the mess gives your brain the impression that there are unlimited piles of work to go through. So tidy up your room or work area before you commence work. When you get organized you will notice how work will seem so much more manageable. 

The Right Diet Can Make All the Difference

You can probably identify with the experience of anxiety altering your eating habits. It can change your appetite, or generate sudden cravings. To give the body the support it needs, eat foods that contain nutrients such as vitamin B, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a good dose of healthy whole-grain carbohydrates. Studies show that vitamins B and D promote mental wellbeing and act as mood enhancers, while omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, whole-grain carbs help to regulate the levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that helps us remain calm) in your system. Avoid eating sugary or processed foods. Research has linked these foods with increased tension and angst. For more information, read: Is Your Food Making You Unhappy?

Silence is Golden

Research suggests that too much noise can boost stress levels. Avoid being perpetually surrounded by chaos and noise by taking out some time to be in a peaceful place. Take some time off and relax in your favorite comfy chair. Close your eyes and experience the silence of your surroundings. Take this opportunity to regain your focus and unclutter your mind.

Plan Ahead

Fight anxious thoughts in advance by preparing for the day ahead. Make a schedule or to-do list and cultivate habits that increase productivity and efficiency. Instead of spending time in the morning looking for your keys, make sure you put them in the same place every night. Lay out your clothes before you go to sleep, and make sure that all your important documents are in your bag at night.

The Power of Soothing Scents

Try sniffing some calming oils for aromatherapy such as lavender oil. Basil (tulsi), anise (saunf), and chamomile are also good choices. These products reduce tension in the body and help increase mental clarity.

Take a Breath, It’ll be Alright

To worry is only human, but when this anxiety extends over days and weeks it becomes detrimental for your mental wellbeing and physical health. Try these natural stress diffusers and fight back against your stressors in a perfectly natural way. If, however, you do feel that the causes of your stress cannot be battled without expert advice be sure to consult credible professionals for suitable solutions. 
If you know of any other natural stress relievers that have yielded positive results, be sure to share them with the rest of the HTV community. We’d love to learn from your experiences! Stay happy, stay healthy, and always remember to smile.

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.