Here we are well into the 21st century, and the world is more prone to be stressed than ever before. We imagine that a good number of you feel similarly that you’re always being yanked in a hundred different directions and it’s harder than ever to just take a deep breath, let it slide, and prevent yourself from feeling tight all throughout your body.
You’re experiencing, and that may be the least of your worries if in fact you’re extremely stressed out. Stress prompts the brain to inject cortisol into the bloodstream. Now it is true that cortisol is beneficial in limited quantities, but it is decidedly harmful when you’re experiencing too much of it. While the harmful effects of this stress-related hormone are so extensive that we could easily dedicate an entire blog discussing them on their own, we won’t here.
Instead, let’s take on the subject by focusing on 4 alternative and natural approaches to dealing with stress, as recommended by Molly Alpsbird, a health consultant at Vitamins Canada who strongly recommends a quality B complex vitamin as being beneficial to boosting your mood.
When practiced effectively, meditation channels your brain into a functional state that’s similar to sleep where you get many of the same rejuvenative, relaxing, and calming benefits – without actually sleeping. In fact, regular meditation actually equips you for a natural resistance to stress over time. Meditation also coaxes you to focus on the present more inherently, rather than ruminating on what may go wrong in the future – which of course is a long-established predisposition of people who are under much stress.
If you’re alive, you’re breathing every second of the day, but learning to be able to do it with a certain rhythm and slower sequential nature can be very effective means of counteracting the stress reaction. One technique that warrants particular mention is vagus nerve breathing. It really is excellent for providing relief from the intensity of stress and anxiety.
The appeal of any type of breathing exercise is that they give you the option to be proactive in dealing with stress, rather than doing so reactively. Plus, just being equipped with this knowledge makes it so you’re more likely to be more resilient to stress in the first place knowing you’ve got the tools to combat it at your disposal.
Yoga is firmly established as a powerful approach to reducing stress with the way it combines breathing, movement, imagery, and meditation. Different yoga techniques promise to relieve stress by keeping the body healthy and releasing endorphins – natural hormones that will make you feel better. Yoga is also particularly well suited for relieving stress by means of all of the stretching it involves. As mentioned, stress creates tension in the body and you will feel tightness, often in the neck.
Look for a yoga for beginners class in your neighbourhood or a nearby location, and do be aware that they are very accommodating of people who are entirely new to the practice. Feeling stressed – try yoga!
Guided Imagery is definitely more challenging in comparison to other techniques listed here, but it’s great for those who are willing to put in a little more effort. With guided imagery, you’ll focus your mind to the extent that you are actually imagining yourself immersed in a wholly enjoyable experience. That could be a particular location, activity, or otherwise that brings you enjoyment and/or a very calming, therapeutic experience.
Some people are totally shocked at how effective this can be for significant stress reduction benefits, including physically relaxing the body and even helping people access deeper levels of subconscious wisdom for better managing their lives in ways that would reduce stress.
Further, a way to enhance the effectiveness of guided imagery is to give yourself verbal reinforcement. This involves actually speaking to yourself as if you were actually there. And for those of you who are very motivated, you can add sounds that you will associate with that location and the experience of it.
Being hypnotized can help people manage stress in their lives, and it doesn’t automatically involve someone waving a pendulum in front of your face – as is the stereotype with hypnotists. Effective hypnotism creates a deeply relaxed which enable the person to fight their tension and trigger the relaxation response. Doing so in turn counters the stress response that’s the root cause of all this disturbance.
All the more intriguing to learn, however, is that hypnosis is most effectively applied in treatment of stress when it is undertaken in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes that reduce your exposure and receptiveness to stress in the first place. One example would be hypnotizing yourself to be more regimented with regular, vigorous physical exercise – a superb way to combat the effects of stress! This leads well to our next and final point. Exercise.
Exercise is beneficial for pretty much every aspect of human existence, but as it relates here exercise reduces stress via the production of the endorphins that were highlighted above. Regular strenuous exercise also serves to promote the brain’s production of BDNF, which stands for brain-derived neurotropic factor. This wonderful neurochemical is the equivalent of fertilizer for the brain and body, and it works to promote effective and balanced production of the chemical neurotransmitters that balance mood and make your mind much tougher in the face of negative influences like stress.
We’ll offer you one – and only one – simple rule with this. Do whatever type of exercise you like, but be absolutely certain you’re breathing hard and sweating. If you are, you’re burning calories and doing what it take to generate these benefits.
It’s recommended to pair these techniques with natural anti-stress supplements manufactured by reputable providers. Valerian root and Kava Kava are two such excellent choices as natural products that relieve stress. Supplement with them along with practicing any or all of the techniques listed above, and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised with how much better equipped you are to not let stress take over your life.
Sponsored by Amy