Let's be real.
We all deal with stress – it's just a part of life.
Your boss hounds you over every little thing at work, you have more bills to pay than cash to pay them at the end of the month, and if little Tommy asks “Why?” one more time, you just might blow a gasket.
While these aren't exactly life-threatening events, your body often responds as if they are, kicking into self-defense mode and releasing large amounts of a hormone known as cortisol.
Dubbed the “stress hormone,” cortisol increases blood sugar levels and suppresses certain system functions that would be considered nonessential in a life-or-death event. Meant to give you a better chance of survival in a serious situation, this hormonal reaction is too often overactive in modern society.
When stressors become a part of everyday life, cortisol and similar stress hormones are continuously secreted, which can lead to anxiety, digestive issues, heart disease and a whole host of other health problems.
With this in mind, it's important to take a proactive role in relieving the stress in your life. Natural stress remedies are more gentle on your body than over-the-counter drugs, so here's a quick list of ways that you can relieve stress naturally:
1. Use Lavender
Identified by its small purple flowers, lavender has been used as a natural anxiety remedy and sleep aid for centuries. It's known for lowering blood pressure, decreasing your heart rate and calming the mind. Try sleeping with dried lavender petals in a bowl next to your bed or using a lavender-infused lotion throughout your day.
2. Drink Chamomile Tea
Warm and soothing, chamomile tea has compounds in it that bind to certain brain receptors. These are the same receptors that determine whether you are wired or calm, and chamomile has a tranquilizing effect in the same way that Valium does. If you're not a tea person, there are plenty of chamomile supplements on the market that can give you the same soothing results.
3. Try Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs are a special class of healing plants that give you the ability to better handle stress by regulating certain physiological functions and hormones. They include ancient herbs such as maca, ginseng, ashwagandha root, holy basil and more. These herbs tend to be more potent in the form of a liquid tincture, but capsules will work too.
4. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
We all love our colas and coffee, but caffeine is a stimulant that sparks your adrenaline, which is exactly what you don't want if you're trying to de-stress. Consider decaf coffee, limit the amount of chocolate you eat and try to drink no more than 2 cups of tea a day.
5. Take Epsom Salt Baths
A warm bath is always calming, but you can take that tranquility a step further by adding some epsom salts. This type of salt contains magnesium sulfate, which has been shown to relieve anxiety and lower blood pressure.
Living in a world with stressors around every corner, it's important to take steps every day toward a less stressful lifestyle. Simple and even enjoyable, these 5 tips to relieve stress naturally are easy to accomplish on even the busiest of days. What are some of your favorite natural stress relievers?