You probably can’t escape all the stress in your life, but you can find more natural ways to combat its effect on you. From the scents of essential oils to massage, discover some natural ways you can easily reduce your feelings of stress.
Mellow out with a massage
Massage is a great stress buster. Clinical studies have shown that one 90-minute session can lower your heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels significantly. Massage also lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, relaxes your muscles and increases your endorphins. When you don’t have time for a full massage, certain acupressure points can ease stress and even keep a headache from developing. Apply gentle pressure to the two points on the back of your neck, just below the base of your skull. These spots are known as the “gates of the mind.”
Sweat it out
You know exercise helps you manage your weight, but it can also do wonders when it comes to your stress levels. Some researchers believe that aerobic exercise increases your levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps the brain deal with stress more efficiently. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week, to achieve the maximum affect.
Stop and smell the relaxation
The smell of cookies baking may take you back to your childhood, but scents can also help relax you and ease stress. Aromatherapy and the use of many essential oils have been shown to offer relief from headaches. Rosemary has been shown in one study to reduce stress and anxiety, while anecdotal evidence supports the use of sandalwood for relieving tension and eucalyptus oil for clearing nasal congestion and easing headache pain.
An herb a day
There is also a class of herbs, adaptogens, which can help keep the pressure and stress of everyday life from upsetting your immune system. Often referred to as the “king adaptogen,” eleuthero or Siberian ginseng has been shown to bring blood pressure and blood-sugar levels back to normal ranges, as well as keep your adrenal gland’s supply of vitamin C from being depleted by stress. Other herbs that fall into this class include Asian ginseng, American ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha, and schizandra.