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5 Ways to Naturally Relieve Stress

Stress is a part of life, much to our chagrin. Our kids might decide the walls be improved by marker lines, or our boss might throw us a deadline we know will require a long night to accomplish. Every day we reach new challenges, which create new opportunities to grow and learn how to overcome different obstacles we find before us. Obstacles will always be a part of our lives, and they should be! Luckily, our obstacles are not as pressing as the caveman times, where it may be how to avoid the hungry jaws of a lion. Nonetheless, our body responds to our stressors the same, even if it’s just running late for work and not running from predators. Cortisol shoots through your adrenals, telling you it’s time to go, go, go! And with it repeated enough times, your body becomes accustomed to always having yourself on high alert. We become restless, distant, and snappish. Chronic stress leads to inflammation in the body, increasing our rates of cancer, autoimmune issues, and anxiety.

If everything were the same each day, we would quickly grow tired and bored. Instead of learning how not to be stressed, which is often unrealistic (unless you are a monk in a monastery), it’s better to learn how to cope and manage our stress. The lion might be proverbially after you, and it’s time to learn how to stop running, and become it’s tamer.

1. Set up your day.

While this sounds simple, having a plan in place, a pattern, helps the brain feel that life is going predictably even when you get thrown a curveball. Always try to keep this consistent, and start your day with something relaxing to set the tone right from the start. Wake up a few minutes early so you have your coffee while looking out the window, instead of pouring it to-go and running out the door with it. Practice some yoga, a calm guided meditation, or even just a few minutes sitting quietly to think. Avoid looking at your phone, or scrolling through facebook. Though very tempting, this is a form of escapism. The goal is to become more present and calm in the moment, not to distract from it. Just a few extra minutes each morning can easily change the mood of your day.

2. Grounding

When stress overwhelms you, it’s tough to get out of the mentality. Your brain is wired to focus entirely on what the problem is, where the change in routine is bothering you. This is a survival mechanism from days of old, and has served the human race well until our modernized century. You have to rewire your brain from focusing on the negative, to going towards the positive. This will not be a quick change, but will happen with consistency and time! And the easiest way to get out of that panic, stressed out mode, is to “ground yourself”. This involves looking around at your surroundings, and bringing yourself back into the present moment. Start with a deep breathe. Release it, and as you do, let your mind focus within. Feel your essence reaching down into the earth, and being healed by an amber energy. You can go as far as picturing yourself having roots going down, or that your bare feet are planted in the grass. Whatever works for you! If you don’t have the time to close your eyes, or are too stressed to visualize, you can look around you and start naming things you see. Count the number of post it notes on the wall. Observe their color, how filled some are, and some aren't. Avoid reading, or making judgements, you’re only an observer right now. Continue deeply breathing as you count, notice, or observe. Soon you’ll find yourself back to calm, where you can approach the situation again, without the stress. Soon, you’ll have deactivated the instant cortisol trigger!

3. Supplements and Herbal Remedies

The plant world has much to offer us in the way of soothing and calming remedies. STart your day with a few drops of lavender essential oil on your wrist. Lemon balm, as a tea or extract, also has calming effects. Theanine, which can be found in black or green tea, is very effective in focusing and taming your wild stress thoughts. Camomile can help combat insomnia brought on by stress, and help unwind after a long day. Newest research suggests taking CBD Oil, a non psychoactive hemp supplement, can help stress, anxiety, and chronic inflammation. As always, consult your doctor or physician before starting any supplements or herbal remedies. Adding just a few plant remedies to your daily routine may be just the thing you need to help tip the scales away from a stress filled day.

4. Exercise

I know, everyone’s least favorite tip, exercise! However, at least 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily or at least a few times each week, helps release hormones responsible for calming and centering effects. This could simply mean taking your dog for a walk each night, or even putting on a yoga video that the kids can join in on too. Double up on this one by making it an outdoor activity, even when you’re not feeling like going outside. Fresh air and a change of scenery has a huge impact on the mind, helping it to feel restored, and also to disassociate with what was causing the stress. This allows your body time to “reboot” from the cortisol in your system.

5. Change Your Diet

Probably the most difficult of these tips, but most natural, is to make your food your medicine. Our meals make up far more of what goes through our bodies than any supplement or tea, and though those additions will help treat the inflammation that naturally occurs from stress, limiting triggering foods will help you build up your tolerance threshold before your body becomes overwhelmed. Limit sugar intake by slowly detoxifying it from your system. Going cold turkey will lead to cravings and candida die offs that could upset your system from the sudden change. Eating a balanced diet of vegetables, healthy fats, and reduced sugars will limit your inflammation, which directly affects your brain health. The body is one, whole system, and so neglecting part of it deteriorates the overall health, especially when it comes to the link between the gut and the mind.

These tips are not good to implement all at once, as it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the changes and regress into old habits. Try adding just one at a time over the new year, and set a resolution to be less triggered by your stress! Remember, you can’t control everything in your world, but you can control your reaction to it!

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