Changing lifestyle and constant everyday hustle have made stress an unavoidable part of everyday life. Financial concerns, struggle to maintain work-life balance, health issues, and several other factors contribute to increasing stress and anxiety in an individual. According to India Fit Report 22-23’s survey titled “Game Changing Health and Wellbeing Revolution in India”, 24% of Indians are struggling with some kind of stress.
Moreover, Rakuten Insight’s survey conducted in May 2022 indicated that 50% of the Indian respondents between 24 to 34 years of age had faced more stress and anxiety in the past 12 months.
Experiencing stress at some point in life is common and we all go through some extremely overwhelming phases. Thankfully, there are ways to manage stress and improve the quality of life while finding solutions for our problems. Let us understand what is stress and dive deep into knowing how to manage stress naturally.
What is Stress and Effects of Stress on Mind and Body
World Health Organization (WHO) defines stress as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. It is a natural human response that drives us to address the threats and challenges of our life.
Studies have found that stress affects the mind and body negatively, making a significant impact on their normal functioning. It causes several symptoms like headache, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, tense muscles, dry mouth, sweaty palms, brain fog, dizziness, upset stomach, appetite issues, decreased libido, amongst others.
Chronic stress can cause several serious physical and mental health conditions, that would require professional assistance. Here are some ways to de-stress naturally in times of stressful situations!
How to De-Stress Naturally?
Living in high-stress situations can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health, thus disturbing your overall well-being. With effective stress management, you tend to learn how not to let stress have a strong hold on your feelings, behaviours, and actions. While stress management looks different for all, it is important to consider some of the most common ways to de-stress and choose what suits you best. Try the following stress management tips to manage everyday stress.
Deep breathing helps the body relax naturally. It not only creates a state of deep rest to alter stress response, but also lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Traditional yogic breathing techniques like pranayama helps relieve anxiety and establishes a balance between the mind and body.
Physical activity and movement have shown to significantly improve the symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression. Exercise or mere movement like walking, running, or swimming stimulate the body to burn off stress hormones. A quick 10-minute walk when you are feeling overwhelmed can help you clear your head, counter muscle tension, and release the body’s relaxing chemicals.
Find the sun
Sun exposure is a great way to ward off anxiety and stress. Sunlight increases serotonin in the body that helps cure depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) along with other conditions. Heading outside on a sunny day helps lift your spirits and mood. Natural light is one of the fastest and easiest ways to alleviate everyday stress naturally.
Journaling is an amazing way of channelizing thoughts and emotions by providing them a positive outlet. Studies have found that journaling can be a therapeutic form of writing that manages mental health conditions and other chronic diseases. Regular journaling has been linked to proactive self-care and higher quality of life that aids in maintaining mental and emotional clarity as well as reducing the impact of stressful situations.
Socializing and connecting with friends, family, and supportive individuals play a significant role in managing stress and coping with it healthily. Having a sense of community offers a strong support system to fall back on, in times of need. It also helps lighten up on a daily basis and de-stress from daily stress naturally. Moreover, in times of stressful situations or negative feelings, sharing your emotions with a close friend or confidante becomes highly effective in stress management.
Relax and have fun
Hobbies are a great option for relaxing and if you want to reduce stress naturally. They offer an effective channel to unwind and take a break. Doing something you love, something as simple as listening to music or reading a book helps relieve the stress built up in an entire day. Research shows that people engaging in a hobby of their choice on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from stress, depression, and feeling low.
Another highly effective and crucial way to manage stress is to manage time and learn to prioritise. In today’s fast-paced life, multitude of tasks at the personal and professional front can easily make you feel stressed and frustrated. People are more likely to procrastinate or feel burned out in such situations. Learning to manage time and tasks effectively with a proper plan and to-do list can be helpful in keeping negative emotions at bay and getting the work done successfully.
Consistent meditation is a practice in mindfulness that helps boost mood and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress. Meditation as a means to reduce and manage stress has been around for over 5000 years now. It lowers anxiety and stress, improves mood and sleep quality, and breaks the cycle of stressful thoughts by calming down the mind. Regular practice of mindful meditation can also help overcome overthinking and allows you to live in the present.
Sleep and stress are inter-related and go in a cyclic manner. Lack of sleep is one of the major aspects contributing to stress, while battling with stress leads to sleeplessness. In order to maintain your mental health, maintaining a healthy sleep cycle is essential.
Take a break
We are all a victim of the hustle and grind culture. There is hardly any day when we can skip the perils of a hectic life. But taking regular breaks to rejuvenate and unwind is important. Go on a family trip, spend quality time outdoors and with your loved ones. It is a great way to relax and de-stress so that you can bounce back with a fresher mind and lifted spirits.
Diet is the most crucial aspect that affects the overall health and well-being of an individual. There is a direct connection between human gut and brain which makes it especially important to eat healthy foods to feel healthy. Consuming a healthy diet not only reduces stress but also improves the immune system and mood. While you must reduce the consumption of sugary, junk, and ultra-processed foods, here are some nutritious stress-relieving foods and beverages you must consume:
- Citrusy fruits like oranges, pineapple, berries
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
- Whole grains
- Seeds and nuts
- Healthy comfort foods like warm oatmeal and dark chocolate
- Herbal tea or chamomile tea
- Turmeric milk
Manage Stress the Natural Way
Today’s, hectic lifestyle rarely allows us to be completely stress-free at all times. But you can always make some lifestyle alterations that can assist in managing everyday stress. Physical exercise and movement, sound sleep and diet, journaling, break and relaxation are a few of the most significant factors that help with stress management.
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