I don’t mean to imply that we’re all stressed….no no …..not at all:) Stress is an unavoidable aspect of our daily lives and we’ve accepted that, however we should not accept becoming victims of stress that becomes chronic and eventually starts to interfere with our daily routines. We all know what chronic stress does; it basically negatively affects all aspects of our health and we should all learn how to manage stress in a healthy natural way. Below is a fail-proof list of natural ways you can beat stress at its own game; many tips you will have already figured out on your own but we guarantee you a few others that you haven’t!
1 || Hemp Oil
We seem to be talking about hemp oil a lot lately. Hemp oil and CBD oil have been gaining steady popularity in recent years. Scientifically explained; hemp oil helps induce a sense of calm in us by supporting the activity of the parts of our brain that are involved in stress; the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. To clear the confusion surrounding the differences between hemp oil, CBD oil, and cannabis please check out our article below.
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2 || Learn About Adaptogens
Coming from the word ‘adapt’; adaptogens are herbal supplements that support your endocrine glands that produce cortisol. Among the best-known adaptogens is ashwagandha, and research found that people who regularly took 300 milligrams of full-spectrum ashwagandha reported great improvements in their stress symptoms and their overall quality of life. Other adaptogens to look out for include; rhodiola rosea, Asian ginseng, and eleuthero.
3 || Meditate
Again, another obvious point for all of you spiritual gurus out there. Meditation helps you lower your cortisol levels; and for those who don’t know, cortisol is the hormone that is released when you’re stressed and it’s responsible for inflammation and weight gain….yikes!! In small amounts cortisol is needed to help us survive however. It was found out that meditation has the most effect on cortisol levels when compared to exercise and music therapy.
4 || Kava Kava
Even though research on this herbal supplement has only been made on generalised anxiety disorder patients (GAD), but there is growing evidence that says that Kava Kava induces feelings of calm by interacting with neurotransmitters in our brain, and it can also be used as a muscle relaxant. One study claimed that Kava Kava has similar results to taking medical antidepressants (SSRIs). Always consult with a physician however.
5 || Hops
Hops is perhaps better known as a main ingredient in beer, but for centuries it has been touted as an herbal remedy for stress and sleep disorders. Hops can also interact with the neurotransmitters in our brain (GABA) which is responsible for brain signalling and the nervous system. And since Hops promotes good sleep, it will in turn affect cortisol levels.
6 || Yoga
Because obviously! Yoga not only stretches and strengthens your body, it also calms your mind, regulates your nervous system, balances your hormones, and improves nerve impulses. Not only that, yoga can also lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce inflammation and cortisol release, and it’s beneficial for healthy brain function! Need we continue??
7 || Aromatherapy
Your sense of smell has a huge impact on your parasympathetic nervous system. The olfactory nerve that runs from your nose to your brain is able to send signals to your brain that affect the limbic system and the amygdala (thus affecting your emotions and moods). Some compounds in essential oils work by shutting down this signalling process which induces a sense of calm in our brains, and our whole body. Lavender essential oil does that best, in addition to ylang ylang, frankincense, chamomile, jasmine, bergamot, and sweet basil among others.
8 || Exercise
Yes this is obviously a point you already know by heart but did you pause to think why exercise is important for managing stress? In addition to its great health benefits, exercise makes us happier by releasing endorphins; those brain chemicals that are responsible for improving our sleep, moods, and self- esteem. Some research also proves that exercise improves our emotional resilience and it helps us become better at managing our time, because seriously who has much of that anymore.
9 || Tea & Coffee
The obvious point would be to cut down on coffee. I hear ya! But knowing that caffeine spikes cortisol levels and our bodies barely adapt to this; meaning caffeine will continue to increase cortisol levels throughout the day, cutting down is the best we can do. And since caffeine also influences the quality of our sleep we should aim to stick to less than 200 milligrams of coffee per day or else switch to caffein-free.
Tea on the other hand works on lowering cortisol levels, whether you take regular tea like black tea or herbal teas such as lavender or chamomile. Other herbal teas that help lower stress include peppermint, ginseng, catnip, turmeric, and lemon balm.