Reduce Stress Using only Natural Remedies
Learning to deal with and reduce stress during addiction recovery can often be a very steep learning curve.
You may be eager to get out into the world and make your mark, taking on more and more commitments as you go.
Saying: “yes” to everything, rather than pausing and saying, “Let me come back to you”. This can then easily lead you to feeling overwhelmed.
Often, we can feel distressed when a proverbial wheel unexpectedly falls off a well oiled cart, or, when life throws one of its inevitable curve balls at us.
Thankfully, there are some natural remedies that can assist us during times of acute stress. Obviously, taking preventative measures is helpful, but we cannot control what life throws at us, only how we respond.
Here, we look at 6 hacks that can be used to immediately reduce feelings of stress, using only natural remedies.
1. Calm your mind and body
This is possibly the most important of all to consider when we are trying to reduce stress levels. In stressful situations, our sympathetic nervous system is predominantly in play, preparing the mind and body for ‘fight or flight’ responses. However, it is the parasympathetic system that we need to activate in order to reduce our stress levels. This system is responsible for repairing, restoring and maintaining healthy bodily systems.
In order to relax effectively with any technique, it is important to look at how we breathe.
Diaphragmatic, or deep focused breathing, is an easy yet effective way to reduce stress. It has been shown to activate the relaxation centres in the brain. Diaphragmatic breathing involves deep and focused breathing. You inhale deeply through the nose, then pause and hold the breath for a few seconds before exhaling slowly through the mouth. Focused breathing methods are commonly practiced during many meditation techniques as they help to soothe the body and mind.
Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress levels. Regularly practicing as little as 5 minutes, twice daily, has been shown to lower levels of stress. Meditation can help to slow racing thoughts and clear the mind. It is an effective tool for managing stress, depression and anxiety. There are many different meditation styles and techniques you can try, including mindfulness and focused meditation. All forms of meditation can help to reduce stress when practiced with consistency.
Mindfulness-based meditations are being used more and more as evidence based therapies for relieving symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness is all about focusing on the here and now, being aware of your breath, your bodily sensations and your surroundings. Just being present stops the negative chatter within the mind and helps to promote feelings of relaxation and wellbeing.
3. Exercise is an effective weapon to reduce stress
Exercise is a simple and natural remedy that works quickly and effectively to reduce stress. As everyone is different, and has different capabilities and preferences, it is important to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Again, consistency is key to relieving and reducing stress levels on a regular basis.
If you exercise regularly you will be much less prone to suffering from anxiety or depression. Try to get your blood pumping as this releases endorphins in the brain. Even a short-brisk walk around the block can help to clear your mind. Endorphins are mother naturals feel good chemicals, they help us to feel relaxed and calm and they immediately reduce feelings of stress.
Exercise has many benefits to the body and the mind. It helps us to sleep better, improves our metabolism and gives a helping hand to both our immune and digestive systems.
Yoga is amazing for reducing stress as it incorporates stretches, poses, mindfulness and breathing techniques. Practicing yoga daily before and after work can help to clear your head and promote feelings of inner peace and contentment.
4. Herbal teas
Herbal teas aim to support health and ease sleep disorders, and there are many different varieties to choose from. Many people find even the process of drinking a warm cup of tea to be soothing.
If you are looking for a particular herbal tea that can help to reduce stress, then Camomile tea should hit the spot. In studies, Camomile was found to be particularly effective in calming cortisol levels within the brain. Cortisol is the hormone our bodies produce in response to stress. Anything that can help in reducing this hormone will help you to feel less agitated and more at ease.
Healthy hydration levels are also a very important part of how we feel and perform, and cannot be emphasised enough. Healthy hydration levels are key to our body’s converting food into energy, maintaining healthy blood levels, keeping joints lubricated, removing waste and so forth. You can stay better hydrated by eliminating or reducing caffeine intake to a minimum, and instead opting for herbal teas and water.
5. Acupressure helps to reduce stress
Acupressure is an effective tool for managing and reducing stress. Learning EFT tapping therapy will provide you with many benefits, one of which is reduced cortisol levels. Once you have learned tapping therapy, you can practice it whenever you need.
EFT tapping therapy involves tapping parts of the body and head that have energy ‘hot spots’. We have another article dedicated to this method within our knowledge hub, free for you to read
Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution shares the following simple, introductory, three-minute EFT tapping technique. This simple yet effective therapy can be practiced anywhere, to help instantly reduce stress levels whilst bringing comfort and calmness to the body and mind.
EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique is effective in relieving the following conditions:
- Stress levels
- Panic disorders
- Chronic pain
- Sleep disorders
- Depressive symptoms
6. Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself means different things to different people. It can be as simple as sharing your day with someone you trust, taking a long hot bath with candles and soothing music, or snuggling up with your trusted pet. Whatever method of self care you choose, it is about having some relaxation and down time just for you.
After a stressful day, there is nothing more soothing to the soul than taking some time to just be and to breathe. Let go of the day that is behind and just being present.
Interestingly, animals have shown to be very helpful in the de-stressing process. Caring for a pet, petting or playing with a pet or just sharing simple companionship, have all shown to be helpful in reducing stress levels and increasing feelings of wellbeing. If you do not have a pet of your own, you might want to visit a friend or family member who's pet you enjoy spending time with.
Not every person connects with animals, so how you choose to spend your time caring for yourself is completely up to you. The important part is that you dedicate that time doing whatever it is that is therapeutic for your soul. It may be that you find cooking or writing therapeutic, or even just relaxing and watching your favourite box set.
Down time is critical to maintaining your wellbeing and is a valid investment in yourself. So, to reduce the effects of stress, do more of what you enjoy!
You can find many natural and proven ways of addressing stress within our Wellness Hub. This is a hub that offers classes delivered by professionals on mindfulness, nutrition, breath work, exercise, yoga, meditation and more.
Authors - Sam/Debbie
- The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2010-05835-004
- Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
- An exploratory study of salivary cortisol changes during chamomile extract therapy of moderate to severe generalised anxiety disorder. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395617307434
- Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6381429/
- The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm