In today’s fast-paced world and with the added pressures of COVID-19, many of us are dealing with some level of stress in our lives. Stress can manifest in many different ways; difficulty sleeping, concentration issues, loss of appetite, overeating, physical tension and headaches. The good news is, there are some really effective ways to help relieve stress naturally!
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils are fantastic for relaxation and restful sleep. Their effects have been scientifically studied and proven to work in the brain, helping to relieve stress and anxiety. Lavender oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils for stress and through a vast range of studies, has demonstrated the ability to positively affect the nervous system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Ylang ylang, valerian, roman chamomile, cedarwood and neroli are also great essential oils that can have powerful effects on stress levels.
2. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas have been used for centuries as a natural aid to help relieve stress. Chamomile has been scientifically proven to naturally increase levels of serotonin and melatonin, leaving you calm and relaxed without feeling too drowsy. It can also help soothe muscle aches and headaches, commonly associated with tension held in the body. Other teas that are fantastic for reducing stress include valerian root, lemon balm, rosehip, peppermint, liquorice root and green tea (to name a few!).
Similar to meditation, mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to take yourself out of ‘fight or flight’ mode when stress and panic take over. Using a few simple strategies, you can quickly centre yourself back to the present moment and calm your racing mind in moments of anxiety. Here are 3 simple mindfulness methods you can use in less than 60 seconds to quickly reduce stress:
- Take a big deep breath, focusing all your attention on the sensation of the coolness of the air as it enters your nose, feel your belly rising as it fills with air and slowly breath out through your mouth. Repeat 3 times.
- Close your eyes and focus your attention on the different sounds around you. Try not to judge or analyse them, just observe. Can you hear cars? Birds chirping? Simply observe these sounds for a few moments to help ground yourself back to the ‘now’.
- Close your eyes and scan your body by bringing your awareness to each part of your body as you slowly move your awareness from the tips of your toes, right to the top of your head. Again, don’t judge anything you feel. Simply observe the sensations as you can.
The simple act of picking up a pen and paper and writing down your thoughts and feelings is a fantastic way of de-stressing. Many psychologists recommend journaling to their patients due to the countless studies that demonstrate its effectiveness for health, stress-management and overall happiness. When you take your racing, jumbled thoughts from your mind and put them onto paper, you are better able to examine them in a more healthy and constructive way. This will give you a ‘third-person perspective’ on your issues so that you can work on them one by one, rather than feeling overwhelmed by having to solve everything once.
Blog by: Karina Stone
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