Easy ways to lower stress + anxiety naturally

At some point in our lives we all get anxious or feel stressed. And to some degree we need some 'stress' in our lives - it helps to motivate us. The problem can be when we have on-going stress that can affect our lives (and health). It’s not my intention to diagnose or take away from the importance of seeing a medical professional when needed, but I do think it’s important to talk about some quick and easy things that you can do every day to help relieve your stress and anxiety naturally.

When you’re stressed or anxious it can have some serious effects on your daily activity and mood. We’re all busy and we want to do anything that can help us with our day to day activities and improve your mood. If you’re stressed, it can cause muscle tension, headaches, over or undereating, fatigue, lack of motivation, sleeplessness...and honestly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So now you see how important it is to do anything within your power to help relieve your stress and anxiety so here’s my top tips of things that you can easily do at home to help you:

1. Stay active. We all know that regular exercise is good for your physical and emotional health. It’s been proven that regular exercise works just as well as medication for some people. And it’s not just a short-term fix; exercise naturally increases the endorphins in your body which can help with anxiety relief for hours after working out. Even if it's a quick walk - it will still release the feel good hormones.

2. Limit alcohol. Alcohol is a natural sedative. Drinking a glass of wine or a small glass of whiskey when your nerves are shot may calm you at first. But once the buzz is over, anxiety may return with a vengeance - and this can last well into the following day until you've detoxed the by-products properly.

3. Be careful with caffeine. Caffeine can cause nervousness and jitters, which isn’t good if you’re anxious. There have been a lot of studies done that show caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety disorders. It may also cause panic attacks in people with panic disorder. In some people, eliminating caffeine may significantly improve anxiety symptoms. Around 50% of us metabolise caffeine quickly and 50% do so slowly - you'll probably know which you are; if you find you get a bit anxious on your second cup but one is ok then you're a slow metaboliser - meaning the caffeine stays in your body for longer causing symptoms of anxiety. If you are fine after drinking a few cups then you are probably a fast metaboliser - in which case, caffeine can help with exercise and your performance.

4. Make sleep a priority. If you’re not sleeping, it can make your anxiety and stress worse throughout the day. If you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for sugar and carbs throughout the day, which won’t help either. Which brings me to #5...

5. Eat a healthy diet that is low in refined carbs. Rollercoaster blood sugar levels, dehydration, or chemicals in processed foods such as artificial flavourings, artificial colourings, and preservatives may cause mood changes in some people. A high-sugar diet may also impact your mood. If your anxiety worsens after eating, check your eating habits. Stay hydrated, eliminate processed foods, and eat a healthy diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.

6. Meditate. Research from John Hopkins suggests 30 minutes of daily meditation may alleviate some anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.

The main goal of meditation is to remove chaotic thoughts from your mind and replace them with a sense of calm in the present moment.

7. Take slow, deep breaths. Have you ever noticed when you’re extremely anxious or nervous that your breathing becomes shallow and fast? When you’re breathing fast, It may lead to a fast heart rate, dizziness or light-headedness, or even a panic attack. The deliberate process of taking slow, even, deep breaths, can help restore normal breathing patterns and reduce anxiety.

8. Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses fragrant essential oils. The oils may be inhaled directly or added to a warm bath or diffuser. Studies have shown that aromatherapy helps you relax, sleep, boosts your mood and can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.

9. Drink Chamomile tea. A cup of chamomile has been known to calm the nerves and promote sleep - try a cup after your aromatherapy bath 😊

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