No matter how difficult anxiety can be, there are many simple ways of keeping it at bay or at least reducing its effects. These methods consist of physical and nutritional habits you can integrate into your daily life. Once they become part of your routine, it won’t be long before you notice their relaxing effects, some subtle, others more impressive. Above all, they are natural solutions to reducing stress and helping you enjoy every day to its fullest. Learn what each of these ideas has to offer, try them out and decide which you’d like to make permanent.
This is the number one advice for improving your mood and physical health. To save you time rifling through the countless types of exercise available, aim for activities that promote the following attributes. Also, since everyone’s tastes are different, pick those you’ll enjoy and happily turn into habits.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s physically stimulating. A brisk walk, pilates session or HIIT class will all have the effect we're looking for: the release of positive neurotransmitters. Endorphins ease stress and pain. Serotonin is especially important as it improves your mood, appetite and sleeping patterns. The discipline each activity requires also gives you focus and purpose, not to mention pride when you see and feel the physical benefits.
Another aspect you want to work on is your breathing. This affects your body’s oxygenation, heart rate and blood circulation, all of which also boost brain activity. Just like with more active exercise, neurotransmitters like endorphins are released to make you feel happier. Meditation is the best way to learn how to regulate your breathing and use it to relax after a stressful day or just before bed. You’ll be surprised by how quickly five deep breaths can ease you into sleep.
Staying active can help manage stress, but nutrition is no less important. And it’s not just about food. Nature is full of soothing solutions. Whether you prefer to simply smell these herbs or turn them into tasty brews, they can be instant mood changers. Here are some popular options and how they work.
One of several cannabinoids available today alongside tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Products like CBD are natural extracts with relaxing qualities. Extensive tests are still underway to determine the exact positive effects of hemp and cannabis on the brain and body. What we know so far is that a drop or two in your tea could calm your nerves enough to deal with the day ahead without getting anxious. Pairing this herb with plenty of exercise could result in all the motivation you need.
The health benefits of this beverage are numerous and recognised by consumers and scientists alike. One study, for example, found that, in certain doses, the combination of caffeine and L-theanine improves alertness and cognitive abilities without leading to the jitters of coffee. And both of these compounds are in green tea, one of nature’s healthiest stimulants. Its antioxidant effects are also key to greater wellbeing as toxins are flushed from the body.
Want to add a bit more flavour and benefits to your tea? Try chamomile, a natural relaxant that could improve your overall health at the same time. While there’s no conclusive evidence of the plant’s greater healing properties, it’s already very popular as a sleeping aid. About an hour before bed, try some chamomile tea or essential oils followed by breathing exercises. If you make sure to put all stressors aside, this routine should bring each day to a perfectly calming close.
Another plant with helpful yet not entirely proven effects. They are similar to chamomile’s, so you could alternate between the two, depending on your mood. Lavender does have a more interesting scent and is often used with oil burners to create a pleasant environment. But you’ll get a more direct boost to your mood through tea or mixing lavender essential oils with a carrier, like cream or almond oil, and rubbing it into your skin. A gentle massage of your temples can do wonders.
In addition to mild natural relaxants, there are herbs with slightly more potent abilities. Every part of valerian is used for its anxiolytic effect, but research has focused more on its roots, which have a larger concentration of helpful compounds, like antioxidants and valerenic acid. Regular consumption of valerian root is believed to ease problems with sleep and stress. Once again, experiences are subjective, but the overall consensus is that you can trust valerian to keep you calm when you need it the most.
These seven natural ways to relax are hardly the only solutions the world has to offer, but they are a great place to start. Keep exploring their properties and what fits your lifestyle the most. A crucial part of improving your daily mood, however, is being consistent. Follow a schedule of active and unwinding activities until they become second nature. Your mind and body will thank you for it.