If you’ve been feeling over-the-edge stressed, you’re not the only one. Stress is one of the most threatening silent epidemics in our society. According to the American Institute of Stress, 1 in 5 Americans experience “extreme stress.”
“There is a notable increase of stress-related illnesses in our society. It is important to realize that stress is a toxin that requires active attention in order to live a long, healthy and happy life.” explains Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center: A Place of HOPE, to Psychology Today.
It’s essential to carve out some time every day to taking some of that weight off your shoulders. If you’re not sure what are the best ways to do so, consider these ten natural ways to destress.
1. Surround yourself with greenery
Plenty of studies have shown the health benefits to having plants in any space. Not only can they boost your mood, but they can reduce your anxiety and stress levels up to 15%. Surround yourself with plenty of freshly potted plants for a noticeable increase in your energy, as well as lessened stress at the end of the day.
2. Eat mindfully
It’s possible to satisfy your sweet tooth while lessening your anxiety in a healthy way. “The connection between the gut and brain is huge — called the ‘gut-brain axis’ — and lots of interesting data supports the idea that the gut is a major mediator of the stress response,” Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, told The Huffington Post. Chew on some almonds the next day you’re feeling overloaded without any regrets. Consider making a lifestyle change if you wish to see immediate changes in your daily stress levels.
3. Turn off the screens
We spend so much time on our screens that we might even forget to focus on time without it. Consider turning off your phone for a couple hours every day to avoid any disturbances to your mental headspace. It’s easier to find some relaxation without buzzing notifications. This is especially worth taking note of if you’re trying to sleep better at night, as well, as most experts recommend you avoid any screen time at least two hours before bed.
4. Do some spring cleaning
Cleaning out your space can be one of the simplest ways to reduce your stress, as you declutter your mind in the process. It is easy to feel stressed if your surroundings reflect that through piled dishes and unfolded laundry. Consider some spring-cleaning time to throw out the old and leave room for the new. Sorting through your clothes could even leave you with pieces to consider donating to Goodwill or selling to Buffalo’s Exchange for some extra bucks.
5. Listen to classical music as you work
Classical music has plenty of health benefits you may not expect, like decreasing blood pressure, improving focus, and boosting memory. It’s also noted to highly reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Listening to Mozart while you work may actually make you healthier in the long run.
6. Visualize peaceful surroundings
Visualization is a powerful tool when it comes to reducing stress, according to researchers. Even the National Institutes for Health “recognizes the power of guided imagery to elicit relaxation response,” according to the Huffington Post. The best part is that you can practice visualization anywhere you are, at any time. Feeling overloaded? Just close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and picture yourself in the middle of a scene that relaxes you, wherever that may be.
7. Go on a walk
Going on a walk around the park is one of the simplest ways to ease up your anxieties. Numerous studies show that walking can reorganize brain neurons and exponentially boost endorphins. Walking can promote a sense of mindfulness by allowing yourself to focus on your surroundings. By taking a 10 to 15 minute walk every day, you could significantly reduce your stress levels by immersing yourself in greenery.
8. Do some deep breathing
You have control over one of the biggest natural tools to lower your anxiety: deep breathing. Practicing deep breathing techniques can alert your brain to refocus and shift gears in another direction. It combats our body’s fight or flight response, the adrenaline rush we get when we’re facing a great deal of stress. Luckily, the variety of deep breathing techniques are endless, so try different methods (like the 4-7-8 technique) until you find one that’s just right for you.
9. Incorporate CBD oil into your routine
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-pain remedy for many looking for alternative treatment. It’s known for its natural cannabis-derived properties that lets you enjoy all the relaxation from the plant, without the psychoactive THC. In other words, CBD oil helps you feel calm and collected without getting a high.
10. Make a cup of warm tea
It might be time to put down the caffeine and pick up tea instead. Studies have shown over the years that tea’s calming chemical properties can have quite a positive effect on your anxiety and stress levels. The next time you’re having trouble catching some Z’s, put the kettle on the stove and immerse yourself in a warm cup of chamomile for instant relaxation.
Vanessa Bermudez is the co-founder and editor of Modern Girls, a collaborative digital space featured in Girl Gaze Project and Teen Vogue.