Most of us experience stress at points in our life caused by disturbing situations or circumstances, however, if stress becomes a persistent, overriding concern, it can have serious consequences for both your physical and mental well-being.
Indeed, if stress isn’t managed and treated, in more serious cases it can cause a range of much more serious problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Stress is also known to contribute to mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
It’s estimated that around 70% of US adults experience feelings of stress daily, so it’s clear these issues are far from isolated. Many experts believe today’s hectic, always-on society is contributing and exacerbating the problems of stress. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the problem.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce the stress in your life, below are some tried-and-tested tips you might want to consider.
Take more exercise
Exercise doesn’t just give you a physical workout, it’s also tremendously good for clearing the head and providing a sense of vitality. Evidence proves that those who take regular exercise are far less likely to experience problems with stress, so try to set some time aside for sport or other forms of exercise. Exercise brings several additional benefits including:
Better sleep: Exercise tires the mind and body meaning you’ll sleep better
Improved confidence and a better body image: Doing exercise will put you in better shape giving you a better body image and improving your overall confidence levels
Hormones and endorphins: Taking exercise is proven to reduce stress hormones (for example, cortisol), while also releasing endorphins that improve mood and also act in a similar way to painkillers.
Try alternative products
You could try taking supplements that are believed to reduce stress. The most common include:
Green tea: If you drink green tea, you’ll also ingest polyphenol antioxidants, which are believed to reduce stress levels.
Omega-3 supplements: Experts suggest omega-3 can be a great way to reduce stress. Indeed, in a recent study of medical students, it was found that 20% of the survey reported having reduced feelings of anxiety after taking omega-3.
Kava kava: Kava kava has long been used as a sedative by locals in the South Pacific region and is a psychoactive pepper. Studies show it can be very effective at reducing stress levels.
Valerian: Valerian acts a little like a tranquilizer and is often prescribed for those suffering from sleep problems. One of the key ingredients of valerian is valerenic acid, which can reduce stress by changing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the body.
CBD oils: The new kid on the block in many ways, CBD is sometimes prescribed by doctors to help lower stress in patients. Although more research needs to be done and some quarters remain skeptical about the benefits of CBD, many users report a feeling of calm after taking CBD. CBD stands for cannabidiol and can be found in marijuana. However, unlike pure marijuana, CBD isolate doesn’t contain any of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) component – the part that gives a high from marijuana.
Note: You should seek medical advice before taking any of the products listed above as they can sometimes have side effects or have a damaging impact if taken in conjunction with other medications.
Cut out the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in chocolate, tea and coffee as well as some of the more popular energy drinks and has been known to increased anxiety – particularly if taken in large quantities.
Everyone is different, and some people can handle more caffeine than others. However, if you find yourself getting on edge or jittery when you take it, consider cutting back. When it comes to coffee and tea, most would consider five cup or fewer a day to be acceptable, so think twice if you find you’re consuming more.
Writing down and documenting your anxiety can be a very effective way of releasing the negative thoughts from your mind. Also, many people suffering from stress find that writing down a list of what they’re grateful for can help them focus more clearly and think more positively.
Another approach that can be helpful is listing everything you need to get done that day, then working through the items one by one. One of the most common causes of stress is having an over-active mind, but listing your tasks in terms of priority will let you see what needs to be done and add structure to your day, allowing you to relax more.