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4 key ways to relieve stress naturally
These days, we are all living busy lives and they seem to be getting busier! Unfortunately many people turn to alcohol or prescription drugs when the stress of life begins to become overwhelming, but good news is at hand – there is a healthier alternative.
There are many ways to relieve stress naturally, these are 4 of the best:
Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever. Almost all kinds of exercise can boost your endorphin levels – your natural ‘feel good’ hormones. The benefits of exercising continue for long after you’ve finished that walk or run – you can feel energized and more relaxed for up to 12 hours afterwards. It doesn’t have to be hard work – dancing, kicking a football around with the kids, a long walk with the dog… as long as you are getting your pulse rate up a little, it counts!
Meditation is becoming much more common in the western world and the many benefits are being studied widely. Contrary to common belief, meditation is not difficult, and almost everyone can do it. The benefits of meditation are wide ranging and can affect almost all areas of your body.
Just the simple act of stopping what you are doing for 5 minutes, sitting calmly and focusing on your breathing can help bring your stress levels down and help bring balance to your life. Of course, the benefits increase with the amount of time you spend meditating, with experienced meditators reaping extraordinary health rewards.
Meditation works on a number of levels in your body – increasing good hormones and brain chemicals, changing and deepening your brainwave patterns, and improving your psychological state so you become calmer and more accepting. The act of meditation is in itself pleasurable, and can help peel away the layers of stress and anxiety that have been building up for years, leading to long term benefits that can simply be life-changing.
A diet full of processed food and stuffed with sugars is a sure way to increase your stress load! The more you can cut out highly processed and decrease or reliance on fast, refined sugar hits, the better your body is able to function the way nature intended. Eating sugary foods causes a large spike in blood sugar and an insulin surge that can leave you feeling flat and depleted, as well as setting you up for major health problems in the future.
There are many foods that can help with natural stress relief. Foods containing C and B group vitamins, especially folic acid, can greatly help to stabilize your mood. These foods include asparagus, tuna, almonds and blueberries.
Play and laugh
Do you remember how to play? If you have kids, forget about the housework and turn off your computer for 20 minutes and go and play with them. Make sure you play their games though – try not to fall in the adult trap of ‘taking over’. Just get down and be a kid with them!
Kids are great at managing their stress if they are given the time and space to do so. They can teach us a lot about being in the moment and finding the joy in everyday things.
If you don’t have kids try putting on some re-runs of your favorite old sitcom and laugh out loud!
According to recent studies, kids laugh about 300 times a day, while adults only manage a chuckle around 15 times a day, on average. A good ol’ belly laugh increases circulation, releases endorphins and can boost the immune system – worth smiling about, indeed!