Like many of us, you may have noticed that the frequency and severity of your anxiety episode increase greatly when you’re under a lot of stress. While we can’t eliminate or control all stressful situations, there’s a lot to be said about reducing stress. That in turn reduces your overall anxiety, eliminating even more stress. You see where I’m going with this.
When it comes to anxiety and stress, you have two choices. You can allow the two to enforce each other and keep spiraling up to make it worse and worse. Or you can break the vicious cycle by actively working on calming down and distressing. This in turn will start to lower both your level of stress and your level of anxiety.
The good news is that what you do to lower your stress will likely also start to lower your anxiety at the same time. Much of what I’ve shared and will continue to share throughout the rest of the challenge to relieve anxiety, will also do wonders when it comes to reducing your stress. Start with the simple breathing exercises I’ve shared. Going for daily walks will also help with stress.
Of course, tackling what’s causing you stress in the first place is another good strategy. When you notice that you’re feeling more stressed than usual, take a moment to sit down and think about what’s causing it. It’s not always comfortable to dig deep and figure out what’s stressing us out, but once we know, we can start to take a proactive approach toward changing things. If your bills piling up are stressing you out, sit down and come up with a plan to pay them down. Start cutting your expenses so there’s more left of your paycheck. You may even want to seek professional help to figure it all out and make a plan.
If something at work is stressing you out, talk to your boss, supervisor, or human resources to see what can be done about reducing or removing that stress. If all else fails, consider finding a different job. No matter what’s causing you stress, there’s almost always a way to reduce it. Sometimes it’s simply facing your fear and figuring out exactly what’s going on. Removing the element of the unknown alone will help cut down on how stressed you feel.
By cutting back on how stressed you are, using the coping techniques I’m sharing to de-stress, and making small changes like eating healthier and making sure you get enough sleep, you can start to break that vicious cycle of stress and anxiety. You’ll feel better and be ready to tackle life, no matter what it throws at you.
Healthessentials shared that when we are “[f]eeling stressed out and exhausted? You might be tempted to blame the infamous “stress hormone” known as cortisol. There’s a lot of information and theories about cortisol floating around. For instance: You can lower cortisol levels with a nice cup of tea or — even better — chocolate.” Although this may be true, it is important to note that tea and food alone will balance cortisol levels. So the next question would be, “Are there herbs or supplements to reduce cortisol,” levels? Here is what Healthessentials reported on August 27,2020:
The supplement aisle at the natural foods store is hardly a one-way ticket to a stress-free life. But some items may help keep cortisol levels in a healthy range, Dr. Lin says. Research suggests these herbs and natural supplements might lower stress, anxiety and/or cortisol levels:
While some herbs might help lower cortisol levels naturally, you don’t want to swallow everything in sight, Dr. Lin says. “Teas like lemon balm and chamomile are quite safe. But if you’re thinking about trying herbs in supplement form, talk to a trained provider first.”
How to reduce cortisol naturally
Dr. Lin stresses that a big-picture approach is key to maintaining healthy cortisol levels and feeling less stressed. These go-to strategies are good for the body and the mind.
Exercise benefits health from head to toe. So it’s no surprise that it helps with stress relief, too, possibly by reducing cortisol levels. Studies show, for instance, that exercise can bring down cortisol levels in the elderly and in people with major depressive disorder.
Almost nothing beats a good night’s sleep. “When you’re not sleeping well, you tend to be more anxious, irritable and stressed,” Dr. Lin says. Like exercise, sleep is important for health in all sorts of ways — including managing stress and keeping cortisol in check.
Sleep deprivation may increase cortisol levels. The increased cortisol can impair memory, contribute to weight gain and even accelerate the aging process. In other words: Don’t skimp on shut-eye.
Spending time in the great outdoors is a great way to lower cortisol and calm your brain. The practice of “forest bathing” — essentially, hanging out in the woods and breathing the forest air — can reduce cortisol levels and lower stress. (Just pack your bug spray, so the mosquitoes don’t stress you out.)
While they might not be something you’ve ever considered, practices like yoga, tai chi, qi gong, mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises can be great stress busters — and a lot of skeptics have turned to converts. Research has found, for example, that mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy can lower cortisol and feelings of stress. And yoga can bring down high cortisol levels, heart rate and blood pressure.
When it comes to de-stressing, cortisol is just one piece of the puzzle, Dr. Lin adds. No one food or pill can deliver you to blissful calm. But healthy choices can set your body up for low-stress success.
Gratitude for what we have comes when we give. Need a gift idea?Visit RefreshedandBlessed.com or check out some special gift ideas below!
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