Who doesn’t face stress? It’s seemingly everywhere, at home and in the workplace. We did a post earlier on how to get rid of anxiety. A lot of people use the terms anxiety and stress interchangeably. We used the terms interchangeably a few times ourselves, though at the core stress and anxiety denote slightly different conditions. This piece will show you how to get rid of stress drug-free and have a more positive outlook on life.
The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety
Stress is generally a short-term reaction to an undesirable situation. In some ways, a little bit of stress is good for you. Being slightly stressed about the upcoming deadline for your term paper pressures you to complete it on time. However, over-stressing about it results in unwanted symptoms, such as insomnia, diminished concentration and unproductive worse-case scenario thoughts. Sustained symptoms eventually lead to anxiety.
Anxiety is a symptom of prolonged stress. It’s a sustained mental health issue and is an official medical diagnosis. Anxiety disorders fall into these five categories:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
An estimated 40 million Americans experience anxiety at some point in their lives. In summary, stress is a short-term response to an undesirable situation. The exact length varies in duration. Prolonged stress with worsening symptoms turns into anxiety, which may require medical intervention in severe cases, though we personally advocate natural treatments.
IN-DEPTH: How to Lower Cortisol Naturally
Let’s take a look at some ways of natural stress relief. Some of the methods overlap with the methods we outlined for doing away with anxiety.
1. Go Outside
You don’t have to plan an extensive weekend hiking trip. Just spending a few minutes on your lawn suffices. There is scientific evidence that spending time outside de-stresses the body. In one study1, subjects that spent time in a forest exhibited reduced cortisol levels and stronger immune function.
What’s so beneficial about the outdoors? Sunlight exposure aids your body’s natural production of vitamin D. Studies2 show this vitamin is helpful in treating acute stress.
If you have immediate access to a natural setting like a beach or forested area, then spend time in those spots. If not, a local park or even your own patio will do the trick.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
While breathing is an automatic process, the breaths we take are very shallow and far from making full use of our lung capacity.
Take time out of the day to take full, deep belly breaths. We personally recommend the 7-7-7 breathing technique. Inhale, hold, and exhale for seven seconds each. That is one cycle; do a total of seven cycles. It takes less than four minutes, and it really charges your body and helps you relax.
In one study3, students that partook in a deep breathing regimen reported less stress and an improvement in mood. Their heart rate also slowed and cortisol levels reduced.
Ok, we admit that this method is more on the metaphysical lines, especially since it involves activating the chakras. Even if you chalk this up to hokey pokey and spiritual mumbo jumbo, you have nothing to lose by trying the method. It’s really simple, all you do is tap your fingers five to 10 times on the following spots:
- Third eye (above and between your eyebrows)
- Halfway down your nose
- The area below your nose and above your lip
- Underneath the collarbone on either side
Some people swear by this method, others feel it does absolutely nothing. Try it and see if it does anything for you. It takes less than two minutes.
4. Eat the Right Foods
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Unfortunately, most foods in western countries do not promote optimal health. You have to be a conscious shopper at the grocery store. We listed some anxiety-reducing foods in our previous post on eliminating anxiety. That list pretty much applies to stress elimination.
To learn to get rid of stress and keep it away, we suggest making these foods a mainstay in your diet:
- Turkey breasts: contains tryptophan, which has a calming effect
- Yogurt: the probiotics in yogurt may reduce brain activity in the areas that regulate emotion
- Blueberries: the blue rounded goodness is an antioxidant powerhouse and fights free radicals. The phytonutrients also aid in white blood cell production for better stress-countering immunity.
5. Give Back
Get involved with a charitable cause. This can be any cause you’re passionate about whether it’s helping mistreated animals or providing company to an elderly retiree. You can give your money, time or your expertise.
Getting rid of stress starts with altruism. Studies4 do show a correlation between charity and stress and mortality.
You have so much leeway on how you can give back. You don’t even have to be involved with a charity. You can do something nice for a relative or friend. Heck, you can even stand outside and hold a sign that says “free hugs.” Altruism is a surprisingly effective form of natural stress relief that is almost always overlooked.
6. Take a Supplement
GNC shelves are lined with depression supplements. While you may certainly take a pill, be selective about the product you choose. Stick to proven and all-natural compounds, such as the ingredients in Cortigon. These are all compounds found naturally in foods like the ones we just listed. It provides the much-needed ingredients for your brain and body if you’re having trouble obtaining them from whole foods. Depression supplements aren’t a be-all end-all solution, but they certainly help progress when combined with other de-stressing methods.
Learning How to Get Rid of Stress Boosts Your Well-Being
Knowing how to destress not just improves your mindset, but improves your overall health. Studies are increasingly showing an association between your mind and physical health. Keeping stress at bay ultimately keeps the more serious symptoms of anxiety from rearing its ugly face.