When suffering from stress and anxiety, your first instinct may be to check into the nearest dispensing chemist and procure an antidepressant prescription.
However, taking conventional stress relief medications should be a last resort. That’s because, while these drugs may be somewhat effective, they’re notorious for their high risks of adverse effects.
The good news is that there are numerous stress relief interventions you can explore before considering conventional anxiety treatments. Below are the most effective natural ways to alleviate stress.
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1. Try Kratom
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia, widely touted as a potential remedy for various diseases. The herb is probably most famous for its ability to relieve pain, fatigue, and inflammation. However, studies indicate that it might also improve the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
According to one piece of research, self-medicating with kratom may help address anxiety and depression.
Additional findings suggest that the herb may be effective against mood swings and many other anxiety symptoms.
Even better is that while kratom is illegal in several jurisdictions worldwide, the converse is true for Canada. You can legally get your hands in kratom Canada, provided it’s not sold as an edible.
2. Increase Water Intake
The significance of staying hydrated has been inculcated in most people since elementary school. But one of the little-known benefits of drinking water is its ability to combat stress and anxiety.
High-stress levels stimulate the overproduction of cortisol.
A degree of cortisol is necessary during intense moments of agitation, as it aids fight-or-flight responses. However, too much cortisol can exert undue pressure on your adrenal glands, affecting your electrolyte balance.
Studies have established a relationship between high hydration and low sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol. Increasing water intake can mitigate anxiety at both the psychological and physiological levels.
3. Consume Serotonin-boosting Foods
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mental health. The chemical is noted for its anti-anxiety benefits. It’s also involved in other physiological functions, including pain signaling and maintaining circadian rhythms.
Countless studies have observed low serotonin levels among people with chronic anxiety and depression. In fact, some of the most effective conventional antidepressants are a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
While the body secretes serotonin naturally, numerous foods might help stimulate your brain’s sensitivity to this ‘feel-good’ chemical neurotransmitter. Examples include;
- Seafood, such as salmon and pilchard
- Poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Leafy vegetables, including spinach and broccoli
- Fruits and nuts
- Eggs and dairy products
- Soy-based products
Seafood is especially recommended for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help improve serotonin sensitivity while also slowing down oxidative damage to cells due to free radicals.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is integral to overall health and wellness. Most of the body’s self-healing mechanisms take place during sleep.
Unfortunately, sleep disorders affect millions worldwide. Sleep deprivation is particularly a problem for shift workers.
But as elusive as sleep may often be, it’s imperative to strive for the recommended daily sleep duration (7 – 9 hours for adults and up to 16 hours for infants). Adequate sleep is especially critical if you’re already battling chronic stress and anxiety.
Research has established a nexus between stress and insomnia. Studies have shown that well-rested people tend to stay calmer and react more rationally to stressors than their sleep-deprived counterparts. Getting a good night’s sleep has also been shown to reduce mood swings, a leading stress symptom.
5. Follow a Robust Workout Plan
Working out offers numerous physical health benefits. Most notably, it strengthens the muscles and bones. People who follow regular workout routines are less susceptible to muscle wastage and degenerative bone diseases.
Exercise may also support your mental health. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, another type of ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter noted for its powerful stress-busting abilities. High amounts of endorphins in the bloodstream correspond with low-stress levels.
Exercise also increases heart rate, consequently stimulating blood flow to various body parts. Efficient blood circulation delivers nutrients to all the vital organs, including the brain. This might help lower stress symptoms resulting from nutritional deficiencies.
So, now may be the right time to develop a robust workout routine if you don’t already have one.
6. Take a Break From Monotonous Routines
Humans are habitual creatures. A subtle disruption in our routines can throw us way off balance.
However, sticking to monotonous routines might also offer a breeding ground for stress and anxiety. That’s why medical experts recommend trying out new routines as part of dealing with the negative symptoms of stress.
Routine changes allow your brain to discover more exciting things in life. It also provides a break from stressful activities, thereby achieving emotional stability.
One way to change your routine is by incorporating yoga and meditation. This combination fights stress by banishing racing thoughts while also improving blood circulation.
You could also adjust your routines by scheduling more self-care practices during your day, such as massage therapies.
All the above techniques can go a long way in alleviating stress and anxiety. However, note that the efficacy of any treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Therefore, it’s best to adopt interventions that address the cause and not merely the symptoms of stress. Remember to consult a licensed healthcare provider if the symptoms persist for several weeks.