Natural Ways to Alleviate Stress: Tips and Techniques

How to Reduce stress naturally

In this second blog post of our series on managing stress through a Naturopathic approach, we explore the role of food and aromatherapy in reducing stress and promoting a healthier lifestyle. It may surprise you to learn that certain foods can aid in stress reduction and management. To learn more about these remedies, read on! And if you missed the previous post on stress and simple lifestyle habits that can help, start here for an introduction.

The body’s reaction to stress

When faced with stress, the body responds within minutes by releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream, triggering a specific response in organs. This process leads to an increase in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, providing the body with rapid energy. Unfortunately, the body also loses important amino acids and minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, while storing less calcium in the bones. Nutrient absorption is also reduced, particularly for B vitamins, which are essential for proper nervous system function. The body’s secretion in the digestive system also decreases, leading to issues like constipation and IBS. Overall, stress weakens the body, compromises the immune system, and impairs its ability to heal.

  • Within a couple of minutes during a stressful situation, adrenaline is quickly released into the blood, sending impulses to organs to create a specific response.

  • The body increases the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to gain rapid energy.

  • The body loses amino acids and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and stores less calcium in the bones.

  • In this situation, the body absorbs fewer nutrients, especially the B vitamins, an essential part of the nervous system’s proper functioning.

  • Also, the body lowers the digestive system’s secretion, which causes problems like constipation and IBS.

  • Stress weakens the body, the immune system, and reduces its healing power.

Coping with long periods of stress through diet

  • Start with a healthy diet that includes sufficient vitamins, minerals, tryptophan, and antioxidants.

  • Aim for a balanced and varied diet to help restore lost minerals and vitamins in the body.

  • Increase your serotonin levels to support your mood during stressful times. Natural ways to do this include consuming tryptophan, an amino acid that’s converted to serotonin in the brain, found primarily in high-protein foods.

  • Serotonin is essential for stabilizing mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness, as well as helping with sleeping, eating, and digestion.

  • Lastly, a diet rich in antioxidants can have a positive impact on mood and cognition. (1)

Foods to add to your diet when feeling stressed

  1. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help reduce stress hormones and improve mood.

  2. Berries: Berries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help reduce stress and boost the immune system.

  3. Leafy greens: Leafy greens are rich in magnesium, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

  4. Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and magnesium, which can help reduce stress levels.

  5. Fatty fish: Fatty fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve mood.

  6. Avocado: Avocado is rich in healthy fats and potassium, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

  7. Whole grains: Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, are rich in fiber and B vitamins, which can help reduce stress and improve mood.

  8. Herbal tea: Herbal teas, such as chamomile and lavender, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

  9. Fermented foods: Fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, contain probiotics that can help improve gut health and reduce stress levels.

  10. Water: Staying hydrated with water can help reduce stress and improve overall health.

Aromatherapy for relaxation

Indulge in a relaxing bath to soothe your tired muscles and escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Enhance your bath experience by lighting some aromatic candles and reading an inspiring book. For added relaxation, you can use essential oils by mixing a few drops with sweet almond oil to nourish your skin and dilute the oils. When added to warm water, the oil molecules evaporate, providing a calming influence on your body. The aroma of essential oils can also uplift your emotions and calm your mind and body naturally. To maximize the benefits of your bath, consider adding bath salts that promote relaxation, particularly for those who suffer from tension or muscle cramps.

Essential oils to add to your bath for ultimate relaxation

  • Rose absolute: This oil is renowned for its ability to calm the mind, especially when you’re overthinking or feeling anxious. It restores a sense of security and well-being.
  • Frankincense: Frankincense helps induce feelings of peace, relaxation, and satisfaction. It can fight anxiety and promote relaxation. From a spiritual perspective, it can also increase intuition and spiritual connection.
  • Bergamot: With its sweet, citrus aroma, bergamot can uplift your emotions, relieve stress, and promote energy.
  • Lavender: Lavender is a classic choice for inducing calmness, alleviating symptoms of anxiety, and reducing headaches and muscle pain.
  • Ylang Ylang: This oil can ease your mind, release nervous tension, and promote overall relaxation. It’s also frequently used to help retain moisture in the skin and hair.

Additional tips for feeling more relaxed and positive

Here are a few more helpful tips to help you feel more relaxed and positive. First, try going for a jog or a leisurely walk outside on a nice, sunny day. Breathing in the fresh air can work wonders for your mood. Second, consider talking to a trusted friend or family member about any worries that are weighing on you. Sometimes just voicing your concerns can help alleviate some of the stress. Finally, make a conscious effort to focus on the positive aspects of your life. It’s easy to get discouraged by what goes wrong, but intentionally shifting your perspective can make a big difference.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll introduce you to adaptogenic herbs – a natural way to manage stress.

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