Stress causes all kinds of physical problems in our body: heart irregularities, acne, weight loss or gain, hair loss, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, stomach issues, and even cancer. I don’t want any of those issues, do you? No, I’m sure you don’t!
I think that learning to control and reduce stress is the biggest factor in living your healthiest life. I talked about how mindset matters in a recent post and this topic compliments what I said in that. How we think impacts our stress level more than anything else but there are also environmental stresses, physical stresses and stimulation stresses.
How to De-Stress Naturally
While there are some popular prescription drugs that help you reduce your stress level, I prefer a more natural approach. Please speak with your doctor about your best options.
- Talk it out: I am a huge fan of therapy. I believe we all should be in therapy. Its just good to have a non-involved third party to speak with about issues that come up in life. Insurances cover at least a portion of the visit because they understand mental health is so important. If you aren’t ready to take that step, confide in a trusted friend.
- Float Therapy: this is less mainstream way of treating stress but I hope it catches on as I think more people would benefit from it. Float therapy is a gravity-free healing therapy where you float in pods of salt water to slow your mind, ease discomfort in your body and reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. It helps you learn the art of relaxation because there is an absence of space, time and sensation.
- Essential Oils: Oils are ancient medicine (the Bible has almost 200 references of essential oil) that many people are using today for various reasons. Oils can help elevate your mood, soothe your muscles, aid in sleep, help with PMS, and reduce stress. Essentially, oils promote wellness in a holistic way. When shopping for oils to use look for Therapeutic Grade Essential oils. Therapeutic Grade Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and fruit of plants. They are potent and a little goes a long way.
- Exercise: Nothing clears your mind like a brisk walk, a hike in nature or a high-intensity spin class. Sweat out that stress. Every day. Exercise is my best defense against anxiety.
- Drink water. I know that may seem like an odd one for stress, you might even be thinking you wouldn’t mind a glass of wine to reduce stress, but water?? Yes, water. When your body is dehydrated, it causes stress on your body. When you are stressed, you are causing dehydration. It’s kind of the chicken and the egg concept… which came first? To make sure you are not causing your body any unnecessary stress, make sure you are drinking the minimum required amount for your body size.
- Eat whole foods. Stop pumping chemicals into your body with processed foods, sodas and sugar. Just stop. We are killing ourselves with that junk. Educate yourself and start reading the food labels. I know, oh-boy do I know, that there is a lot of conflicting information out there. You may have to do some trial and error to find what works best for your body but here’s a tip: controlling the ingredients in your food by making your food from scratch is best for your body.
- Prayer, Meditation and/or journaling: Connect with God every day by setting aside time to quiet your mind, be grateful and breath deep.
- Laughter: Watch a funny series on Netflix, go to a comedy show, have coffee with your funniest friend, just keep the laughter coming!
- Music: Crank up your favorite feel-good tunes or chill to something relaxing
Other Ways to Reduce Stress
There are many other ways to de-stress, including getting enough sleep, owning a pet, removing toxic relationships from your life, getting organized, breathing exercises, rhythmic activity, unplug from all devices, stay off social media, take a bubble bath and as the water drains imagine your stress going down with it and so much more. Start with the ones that you feel may reduce your stress level the best and add in the others as needed. Not only will your stress level decrease, your overall wellness will improve so you are both happier and healthier!
I know life is stressful. We all have our things. I shared a few of mine here but I want to encourage you to get to a place that you are being proactive about reducing the stress in your life. You often can not change circumstances (I wish I could take away the cancer and diabetes!) but you can absolutely change your reaction to them. You can absolutely change your self-care strategy to help you more effectively deal with the stress that comes from life.