Restlessness and stress is something all of us deal with. De-stressing is vital to your overall health. Stress causes a slew of ailments including weight gain, insomnia, aging, acne, depression, anxiety, and even cancer. Yes, your health depends on your ability to decompress and take care of yourself, so you must absolutely make it a priority. Regardless of your work schedule or other obligations ,your health should always come first. Because, guess what, you can’t work or genuinely enjoy your life if you’re unwell. No matter how much money you make, how many promotions you get or how many fancy things you own, none of it matters if your body is in distress. Here are several natural ways too soothe and relax your mind and body, so you can live a truly healthy lifestyle.
Yes, we’re sure you’re already aware of the many benefits of yoga. Yoga not only keeps your body in excellent physical condition, but it helps ease the mind and de-stress the body. Just 20 minutes of yoga each day can help relieve daily stress and help you sleep better. Yoga also improves posture, strength, and helps relieve joint and back pain. Yoga comes in many forms, but we love a quick 20 minute session. This Ronald Yee video on YouTube is one of our favorites for a quick de-stress session:
Natural Supplements & Caffeine-Free Teas
There’s a reason Eastern medicine is renowned by many -it works. Several homeopathic herbs often used in Eastern medicine including, camomile, calendula, lavender, valerian root, lemon balm, and kava kava have been used for centuries to soothe and relax the mind and body. Even the scents around you can affect your well-being. For example, lavender has been used for centuries for relaxation and a study at the University of Miami School of Medicine found lavender to “slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state.” It’s no secret that synthetic pharmaceuticals can be addictive with terrible side effects, so it’s worth experimenting with natural supplements to see if they can relieve your symptoms. Here are a few of our favorites:
Go For A Nature Walk
If you’re feeling anxious and uninspired, get out of your current environment and go for a walk. If possible, walk in an area with greenery and trees. Green is a soothing color which helps inspire creativity and clarity. I use this technique regularly, and yes, it really does work. Fast Company also recently covered this topic and found positive results as well. A study done by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a leading scholar in forest medicine in Japan, found stunning results on the healing power of walking in nature:
“As a result of studies involving 288 volunteers at 24 different sites, the group of volunteers looking at natural surroundings while sitting down showed the following endpoint decreases compared to the urban control group: a 13% decrease in cortisol level, an 18% decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 2% decrease in blood pressure, and a 6% decrease in heart rate. Parasympathetic nerve activity was enhanced by 56%, indicating a relaxed biological system.Results compiled from several related studies (3,4,5) show a wide range of positive benefits from a walk in the woods.” The benefits include:
- decreased blood glucose levels in diabetic patients
- decreased stress hormones
- decreased heart rate
- decreased blood pressure
- general relaxation of the human body (increased parasympathetic nervous system activity)
- possible boost to the immune system (reduced cortisol is associated with increased immune function)
- decreased depression
- decreased anger
- decreased fatigue and confusion
- increased psychological vigor
When I was a kid, I used to wake up in the middle of the night with abdomen pain. After several visits to the doctor, it turned out to be large intestine cramps. When it first happened, I would panic, my breathing would shorten and the pain would intensify. As an adult, I experienced the problem a few more times and realized that when I just calmed down and starting taking deep breaths, the cramping would stop. The moral of the story: never underestimate the power of breathing! Here’s a quick video on breathing for instant stress relief. Next time you’re feeling anxious, just breathe:
Meditation also uses breathing as a primary stress reliever. The difference is that you do it for a longer time (usually 10-20 minutes) and the focus is on clearing the mind. The reason yoga is so amazing is that it combines breathing, fitness, and meditation. However, if you just want to try meditation, here is a great guided video that will teach you how to effectively meditate. Keep in mind that meditation takes practice, so don’t get frustrated if your mind wanders -it’s totally normal.
Avoid Excessive Caffeine, Alcohol & Sugar
We’re sure you’re aware that caffeine, alcohol and sugar exasperates stress and anxiousness. Reducing your intake of caffeine, alcohol and sugar will help ease your tension and stress. I love my coffee as much as the next person, but I limit myself to one 10 oz. cup in the morning and never consume caffeine after 4pm. Alcohol is another culprit of restlessness. While one glass of wine may help put you to sleep initially, anything beyond that can lead to waking up in the middle of the night. Consumption of too much sugar also increases cortisol (stress hormone) levels and can cause anxiousness and the dreaded insulin crash. Paying attention to your intake of these substances can immediately help improve stress levels and well-being.