In modern-day hectic life, stress and anxiety is something that affects all of us. Some people may cope with stress and anxiety more effectively or recover from stressful events more quickly than others. Health problems can occur if the stress response goes on for too long or becomes chronic.1
Many people become victims of alcoholism and drug addiction when they’re unable to deal with stress. Research shows that stress is an important factor in the development of addiction and in addiction relapse, and may contribute to an increased risk for obesity and other metabolic diseases.2 Here are easy ways to beat stress and anxiety without using medications, which are often accompanied by its side-effects.
1. Ensure That You Sleep Well
Lack of sleep is a major factor that increases stress. Sleep is the time when your body recovers from stress and repairs the damage. So, good quality sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day is crucial for overall health. Many studies have shown that inconsistent sleep can have serious health consequences.3
Inadequate sleep not only affects your physical health but can also contribute to anxiety and stress. Many times, it becomes a vicious cycle as stress and anxiety often result in sleep disruptions.
2. Clear Your Brain Of Its Clutter
When your head is full of worries and thoughts about various things in your life, it is difficult to achieve sound sleep. Too many thoughts clutter your mind and ruin the peace of mind. Get the unwanted and trivial matters out of your head and allocate some quiet time for yourself.
Certain practices such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can help you achieve this inner peace and calm. Not just your brain, even your living spaces should be clutter-free to reduce anxiety and stress.
3. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a holistic Eastern technique that has been practiced for thousands of years. Many people meditate to reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. Researchers have found that meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain essentially by rewiring the body to reduce stress.
Many recent studies provide evidence about the positive effects of meditation on anxiety, mood, and stress symptoms.4 Meditation also enables you to look within and make those internal changes that make life easier.
4. Eat Healthy
Food is an important factor that causes or cures stress. Most junk foods and packaged commodities contain artificial additives, which are bad for your health and cause stress. A healthy balanced diet comprising fresh foods that contain essential nutrients can prevent stress and anxiety.
Even drinking black tea or green tea can lead to lower post-stress cortisol levels and greater subjective relaxation. Black tea also has health benefits in part by aiding stress recovery.5
5. Perform Breathing Exercises
Breathing is one method how your body flushes out toxins and prevents its accumulation. The human brain requires fresh oxygen supply to perform optimally. Deep-breathing and breathing exercises called pranayama helps you to cleanse your body internally and leaves your brain rejuvenated and relaxed.
Experiments have shown that breathing exercises can lower cortisol levels in subjects who were stressed.6 Deep-breathing exercises can be combined with good nutrition and regular exercise for best results.7
6. Laughter, The Best Medicine
Laughter is probably the easiest and the most inexpensive form of stress-buster. Children are easy-going and can laugh very easily, which is why they do not experience extreme stress. As we grow older, we become more serious in life and the child within us is suppressed. Research has found that laughter can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.8
Studies also indicate that laughter therapy has a positive effect on decreasing postpartum fatigue.9 Other studies have demonstrated that laughter can improve mood directly and moderate negative consequences of stressful events on psychological well-being.10
7. Socialize With People
Being with people you love and those who care for you can help you relieve stress. Research shows that social relationships have a huge impact on mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk. Social support may also have indirect effects on health through enhanced mental health, by reducing the impact of stress, or by fostering a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
Social support in adulthood reduces physiological responses such as cardiovascular reactivity to both anticipated and existing stressors.11 If you feel stressed, talk to people you’re close to and take your mind off the cause for your stress. People who have ample social support tend to react less negatively to stress than those who prefer being alone.
|↑1||5 Things You Should Know About Stress. National Institute of Mental Health.|
|↑2||Yau, Yvonne HC, and Marc N. Potenza. “Stress and eating behaviors.” Minerva endocrinologica 38, no. 3 (2013): 255.|
|↑3||Sleep Disorders. Anxiety And Depression Association Of America.|
|↑4||Meditation: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 2016.|
|↑5||Steptoe, Andrew, E. Leigh Gibson, Raisa Vounonvirta, Emily D. Williams, Mark Hamer, Jane A. Rycroft, Jorge D. Erusalimsky, and Jane Wardle. “The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial.” Psychopharmacology 190, no. 1 (2007): 81-89.|
|↑6||Cea, Ugarte JI, Arrillaga A. Gonzalez-Pinto, and Gonzalez OM Cabo. “Efficacy of the controlled breathing therapy on stress: biological correlates. preliminary study.” Revista de enfermeria (Barcelona, Spain) 33, no. 5 (2010): 48-54.|
|↑7||Relaxation Techniques for Stress? News In Health. 2013.|
|↑8||Lebowitz, Kim R., Sooyeon Suh, Philip T. Diaz, and Charles F. Emery. “Effects of humor and laughter on psychological functioning, quality of life, health status, and pulmonary functioning among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a preliminary investigation.” Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care 40, no. 4 (2011): 310-319.|
|↑9||Sook, Shin Hye, and Ryu Kyung Hee. “Effects of Laughter Therapy on Postpartum Fatigue and Stress Responses of Postpartum Women.” Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing 41, no. 3 (2011).|
|↑10||Fonzi, Laura, Gabriella Matteucci, and Giuseppe Bersani. “Laughter and depression: hypothesis of pathogenic and therapeutic correlation.” Rivista di psichiatria 45, no. 1 (2009): 1-6.|
|↑11||Umberson, Debra, and Jennifer Karas Montez. “Social relationships and health: A flashpoint for health policy.” Journal of health and social behavior 51, no. 1_suppl (2010): S54-S66.|