In the pill-for-every-illness society that we live in, it is easy to think that anything and everything can be cured with the right medication – including stress. Before you reach for that child-proof bottle, remember that there are plenty of natural ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
Meditation has many benefits – helping people with depression, mood disorders, and even cancer. However, the most common benefit to come out of meditation is reduced stress. When people meditate, they are able to quiet their minds and shut out any external distractions. Without so many outside stimuli, the mind and body are able to de-stress and relax.
Regular exercise (and a balanced diet) is what keeps our bodies healthy and strong. But exercise can also help reduce stress. Many think that this is due to a release of endorphins when working up a sweat, but the true reason is because of an increase of endocannabinoids. These molecules attach to other particles in the nervous system, helping to decrease both anxiety and pain. This puts the body and mind into a state of heightened relaxation.
Studies on the effects of aromatherapy have been conducted for years with mixed results. Some say that it has no effect while others state that it does help when used in conjunction with other anxiety treatments. However, whether clinically proven or not, many people find the scent of essential oils like lavender and chamomile to be very soothing.
Time in Nature
Spending time outside in nature works wonders for stress. It helps by providing vitamin D, as well as by helping the body get more oxygen. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can lead to decreases in heart rate and blood pressure. It is also shown to increase parasympathetic nerve activity which helps reduce stress.
A scalp massage can be performed by a professional masseur or with a scalp massager. The benefits to this type of massage include the release of endorphins and serotonin. These are the chemicals associated with happiness and all-around good mood, which puts you in a better position to relax and relieve stress.
Floatation therapy, much like meditation, helps the brain eliminate surrounding distractions. It converts our brain waves from beta to theta waves, which puts floaters in a deeply relaxed state. The Epsom salt used in float tanks helps reduce pain and tightness in muscles. Floating, therefore, not only helps the mind relax, but helps the body relax as well.