MASSIVELY Reduce Your Stress with these Natural Stress Relievers
Stress – what causes it and why?
The chances are that everyone reading this has at some point or another felt periods of stress, or had stressful times that they have had to go through.
The causes of stress really are varied. What might cause stress to one person wouldn’t even bother another; however, that said, big life changes are often the cause for stress, whether these are happy events or not. This can include, moving house, having a baby, or even planning a wedding.
People are also likely to feel stress if they feel like they are not in control of certain events in their life; for example, if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, or getting made redundant. These are beyond your control, but will no doubt have massive effects and impacts on your life.
Stress really can be found in all aspects of your life; your work – unemployment, a high workload, or even retirement can all be stressful; your family life – whether you are going through a divorce, or just having relationship difficulties, or if you are a sole carer for a loved one; housing – moving house, or experiencing problems with your neighbours are all massive causes for stress; or your personal life – whether you are coping with an illness, going through a bereavement, or a really common one, if you are trying to deal with financial problems.
Although it is not always possible to avoid or even change a stressful situation, it is important to tackle the causes and learn how you can cope with them, or how you will try and refocus your energy onto something else if they cannot be avoided. Avoiding the problem completely will only make things a whole lot worse for you, which is why we have some great ways to help you deal with stress, and tips on how to make a stressful situation slightly easier for you.
What are the symptoms of stress?
Identifying the causes are a really great step in learning how to deal with them, but knowing how to recognise that you are stressed is the first step in this. Not only will recognising the symptoms help you to identify what is going on, but it will also help you to recognise it should you start feeling like it again.
Stress has physical, emotional and mental symptoms, and can also have an effect on how you behave in your everyday life.
Emotional symptoms might include; feeling overwhelmed; being irritable and feeling like you are ‘wound up’; feeling anxious or even fearful, or you might feel generally down about yourself and lack self-esteem.
Mental symptoms can include; having racing thoughts, where your mind is constantly going and you feel like you cannot switch off; constantly feeling worried about something, even if there is nothing to be worried about; you might have difficulty in concentrating, or even have difficulty in making even the easiest of decisions.
Physically, you might experience; headaches; muscle tension or pain; feel dizzy; have trouble sleeping, or generally just have sleep problems; feeling incredibly tired the whole time, no matter how much you were able to sleep; eating too much, or going the opposite way and not eating enough.
Like we said, stress can also affect how you behave as well, so you might find yourself drinking or smoking more, or even losing your temper with people at snapping at them unnecessarily. You might also find that you are avoiding things or people that you are having problems with.
Like we have previously said though, stress will affect people in very different ways, and you might not experience a lot of these symptoms, but this does not mean that you are not suffering from stress. You should take your symptoms seriously, but it is not always something that you need to go to your GP about straight away, as there are a number of different self-help techniques and natural remedies that you can try first.
However; if you have tried these and do not feel that they are working, make an appointment with your GP, who will be able to discuss different options with you. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is often used, and this is available for patients on the NHS as well.
How to deal with stress
DRINK PASSIONFLOWER TEA:
Passionflower has long been used to treat both insomnia and anxiety, but some studies have suggested that it could be used to treat stress as well, as it has a similar effect to benzodiazepine, which is a drug that is commonly used to treat stress.
It is believed that passionflower works by increasing levels of the chemical, gamma-aminobutyric in the brain, which lowers the activity of some brain cells, which will make you feel more relaxed than you were, and therefore could reduce some stress levels.
It is really important though that you consult your doctor before introducing it to your diet; particularly, if you are taking any other medication as well. It should also be noted that it is not suitable for children, pregnant women, or women who are breastfeeding.
DO SOME EXERCISE OR YOGA:
Exercise can really work wonders at reducing your stress levels, due to the endorphin chemicals that get released in the brain and will act like a natural pain killer and will instantly lift your mood as well.
In fact, research has suggested that those who are inactive or who do little or no exercise actually experience more stress than those who are active.
Like we have previously said; stress is often caused by big life changes, and regular exercise will help to regulate your metabolic and psychological processes in the body, with will reinforce our natural circadian, our sleep cycles, moods and blood sugar levels.
On top of this, exercise will help us to stop you from overeating, as it will make you more aware of your hunger levels, thanks to the improvement in insulin sensitivity, it will improve your confidence and self-esteem, and will lower your chances of developing depression. On top of this, regular exercise will also help you to sleep well. All of the above are symptoms of stress, which exercise can help you to deal with.
Yoga offers similar benefits as well and can help to improve how people feel about their bodies, help you to have a better quality of sleep, and help yourself to control your anxiety. A number of studies have shown that regular yoga will offer significant improvements in a number of physical and psychological ways for most people who participated.
To help even more, listen to uplifting music whilst you are exercising as well, as research has indicated that listening to music will positively impact the psycho-biological stress system, which will help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, improve recovery time, and will benefit your hormonal balance and brain functionality.
Acupuncture is often used to treat a number of different stress-related conditions, including psychiatric disorders, autoimmune or immunological-related diseases, infertility, anxiety and depression.
Studies have suggested that acupuncture treatments can actually cause changes in the cardiovascular and immune systems, which increase the protective T-cell proliferation and help with cellular immune responses.
In fact, research has suggested that acupuncture is actually one of the best stress relievers for those who are recovering from heart disease, as it can help to regulate the nervous system, which in turn will have a positive effect on blood pressure levels, circulation, hormones and other factors.
KEEP A JOURNAL:
Try and keep a note of your emotions, whether they are positive ones or negative ones, and if you can, try and write down what has caused you to feel that way. This will help you to look back and help you try and identify what has caused you to feel stressed.
This is one of the easiest and effective ways for you to monitor how you were feeling throughout the day. Really try to think about what is bothering you at the time you are feeling unhappy, and be sure to make a note of them.
A journal in itself can help you to stay organised as well, which will immediately reduce stress. You can list any appointments that you might have, things that you need to do around the house, any work deadlines that you have to keep. Doing this means that you are not going to feel frantic and like you are going to miss important deadlines.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP:
Sleep is one of the best things that you can do when you are feeling stressed. Like we said, it can have a massive impact on your quality of sleep, but it really is one of the best things that you can do when you are going through stressful periods of your life.
Because our bodies are programmed to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light, the optimum time to regeneration with sleep is between the hours of 10pm and 2am. If you are not sleeping during this time, it will cause a back up of toxins and hormones in the body. This will then result in you feeling groggy during the day, yet restless at night, which can then cause additional stress on the body.
REDUCE YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE:
If you know that anxiety is one of your stress symptoms, try and take appropriate steps to reduce this from becoming a problem. One of the easiest ways that you can do this is to reduce your caffeine intake.
Caffeine is a stimulant, most commonly found in tea, coffee, and is the main ingredient in energy drinks, but scientific research has found that high doses of caffeine could actually be increasing the anxiety that you are feeling.
Although everyone has a different threshold for how much caffeine they can tolerate, and how much is too much. The bottom line is that if caffeine tends to make you jittery, or will increase your anxiety, it is vital that you cut the amount you are having down.
Studies have shown that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it is important not to overdo it. In general, although we must state that this is not the case for everyone that five or fewer cups every day is considered to be a moderate amount. Any more than this is likely to be too much and can cause more harm than good.