Updated: Aug 2, 2019
For our ancestors, stress was a good thing. The stress of being in physical danger for example, is what enabled humans to survive. Stress causes the body to release hormones like adrenaline and cortisone which are part of the “fight or flight” response. (1) But modernly, our overly packed schedules and fast-paced lives are putting constant stress on our bodies. And chronic stress has a whole host of negative ramifications for our health.
Chronic, or ongoing stress, can increase the risk of (2):
If your high-powered job, ongoing to-do list, or financial situation has you constantly feeling stressed, you need to find ways to find relief and bring your body back into balance.
It may seem counterintuitive to try and add another thing onto your already full plate, but exercise is a game changer. Getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes can release feel good hormones and endorphins that lift your mood and release stress. (3) Bonus points if you skip the gym in favor of working up a sweat amidst nature. Spending time in nature can also reduce stress and increase positive feelings, which will take your workout benefits to the next level. (4)
The act of focusing on one thing, and breathing slowly can help the stress of your day melt away. Even just five minutes of sitting still in a quiet room, focusing on deep breathing can help your body reset its nervous system and relax. Learn how to get started here.
Add magnesium bath flakes to a warm bath, and give yourself 20 minutes to soak. Warm water helps release tension in your body that you may be holding onto. The magnesium will absorb into your skin and help replenish any depleted magnesium levels that may have resulted due to stress. And the combination of heat and magnesium will help your mind calm down so that you can tackle the next task at hand.
Green tea contains theanine which is commonly touted for reducing stress symptoms. Chamomile tea relaxes muscles and calms nerves. The scent of lavender can almost instantly reduce stress, and adding lavender essential oil to a bath or diffuser can prove to be immensely helpful. Lemon balm, kava, and valerian root are all additional herbal options that can help you naturally reduce stress. (5)
Occasional stress can be beneficial, it motivates us to get things done.
But chronic stress? It’s doing much more harm than good.
Try to make time for yourself to combat stress so that you can manage your day to day in a calmer way.