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ways to relieve stress naturally

Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally

July 28, 2021

In this fast paced world, we're encountering more stressful situations than ever before. It can range from things like navigating gridlock traffic, trying to do too much, being constantly 'on' or 'connected' thanks to phone and social media to life-related stressors like money troubles, job worries and health woes. It can really take its toll on our body and our mental health so it's incredibly important to try and manage it. Today we're taking a look at some ways to relieve stress naturally, from watching what you eat to stress-busting supplements.

The Central Nervous System

The Central Nervous System is divided out into various sections, and two very important sub-divisions are the Parasympathetic Nervous System and the Sympathetic Nervous System. These two systems are where all stress is dealt with.

The Sympathetic Nervous System

The Sympathetic Nervous System is known as ‘fight or flight’ response. We usually revert to this state when in danger. However, in modern times we seem to be in this state more often than not. Stressors such as impending bill payments, high pressure jobs and family demands all lead to us living in this unfavourable state.

There are more and more physical stressors on the body now than ever before too. These are pollution, increased toxins, poor diet and lack of proper nutrition and lack of sleep.

What the Sympathetic Nervous System is doing in reality is preparing us for high energy activity, which is why it is referred to as ‘fight or flight’. This causes a range of changes in the body, for example:

  • Release of cortisol, the stress hormone
  • Release of glucose from the liver into the blood
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • The disruption of normal bodily functions such as digestion and excretion

Stress manifests itself in many different ways, and usually targets our weakest points. Examples of this would be flare ups of eczema, IBS, migraines or even bouts of low mood.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System

The parasympathetic nervous system is often referred to as the 'rest and digest' side. Its job is to manage the body's rest and digestion response when it is resting, relaxed or feeding. It also undoes the work of the sympathetic system after a stressful situation. It does this by decreasing heart rate and respiration and increasing digestion.

Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally

The goal is to shift from parasympathetic nervous system to the sympathetic system so you're more relaxed. There are a number of ways to relieve stress naturally to help you make the switch, from diet and exercise to supplements. Here, we're taking a look at changes you can make to your diet as well as some supplements that can help tackle stress. 

Eat Well, Stress Less

There is no better way to nourish our bodies and control our stress levels than starting with what we choose to eat daily. The modern world in which we now live in is a fast-paced, high-energy, grab and go kind of world. We are so preoccupied by the mental and emotional stressors in our lives that we forget that incorrect nutritional choices we make are causing the most stress to our bodies. Here is a list of foods and diet changes that can help.

Breakfast

At breakfast time, swap that sugary croissant for something more nutritious yet equally as easy to grab and go. Sugar blasts energy levels through the roof. At first, you may feel on top of the world waltzing into work greeting everyone with a chirpy “Good morning!” But you won’t be long falling into that well known slump wishing you could roll back into bed.

Avocado toast is an excellent alternative. Avocados are high in potassium, good fatty acids which are extremely beneficial for the heart, and full of fibre which reduce blood sugar spikes. When mashed onto a slice of wholegrain toast you are providing yourself with good, wholesome energy which will get you through until lunch time.

While you’re standing there toasting your bread, boil the kettle, and make yourself a cup of green tea. Initially, the swap over from coffee to green tea will be difficult but it will be well worth it. Green tea contains L-Theanine which relaxes you whilst keeping you focused, energised and ready for your busy day at work.

Lunch

Dust off your lunchbox the night before and prepare lunch. This will avoid that rushed morning frenzy which certainly does not help with stress levels.

Homemade burrito bowls are delicious and nutritious if you make all the right choices. Throw in some brown wholegrain rice as your base, providing your digestive system with some more fibre. Add some beans which contain yet more fibre, protein, B vitamins and magnesium. Finally, add some tomatoes, spinach, onion, peppers and a serving of cooked chicken and you are ready to go.

Dinner

Forget about calling your local takeaway and make your own stir-fry at home from scratch in under half an hour. You will feel better after eating it and your pocket will too.

Fry up all the vegetables you like, onions, peppers, garlic, mushrooms, beansprouts, broccoli, the more the better. Cook your meat of choice, or simply keep it vegetarian. Make your wholegrain noodles and add your soy sauce. A lovely guilt-free, stress-free alternative to a takeaway.

These are just simple, quick ideas for people on the go. The main thing to remember is to include:

Fruits and vegetables

They contain antioxidants needed to fight off disease and boost our immune system.

High fibre and carbohydrate-rich foods

Nutritious foods such as sweet potatoes and wholegrains are known to produce more serotonin and are more filling. This can then prevent late night bingeing as it provides us with the slow release energy.

Take things like sugar, caffeine and alcohol in moderation

All these things put extra stress on the body therefore excessive consumption is not advised.

Avoid processed, fatty, ready-made meals

These contain very little nutrients and do contain high amounts of artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Supplements to Relieve Stress Naturally

A healthy diet is best for your body. But there are some supplements that can help too. Here are some tried and tested supplements that we recommend in order to reduce stress and promote our ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic nervous system.

Viridian L-Theanine and Lemon Balm

Viridian L-Theanine and Lemon balm not only alleviates symptoms of anxiety and stress, but it also improves mental clarity and performance. L-Theanine is derived from green tea and is an amino acid which helps support a sense of calm, possesses anti-stress properties, all the while maintaining the ability to think clearly and even boost mental performance.

It is rapidly absorbed and easily crosses the blood brain barrier allowing it to quickly reach brain cells. Lemon balm, a nervine herb, specifically helps support the nervous system. It improves brain levels of the neurotransmitter GABA which has anti-anxiety and calming effects without being a sedative.

This particular product is ideal for customers who have very stressful jobs but need to remain focused. Or students with looming exams who are suffering with anxiety and also need help boosting mental clarity.

Solgar Balance Rhodiola Complex

This product is a beautiful blend of herbs and essential vitamins and minerals known to relieve symptoms of stress. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb meaning its adapts to your body's needs. Things that need to a boost, will be increased and things that are too high will be decreased.

For example, if there is too much of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, it will be decreased with the help of Rhodiola. If the body is tired and you are suffering with fatigue, the adaptogenic nature of this herb will increase energy levels. Rhodiola also stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, the ‘happy hormones’.

Rhodiola is ideal for combining with other stress-reducing supplements. This is why it works so well in this particular Solgar product. With the help of fellow adaptogen Siberian ginseng, and the lovely relaxing chamomile, magnesium and pantothenic acid, this truly is a perfect product for those of us who need extra support through stressful times.

Pukka Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is another adaptogenic herb which works brilliantly alongside Rhodiola. Apart from improving wellbeing, its main function is nourishment of the nervous system, reduction of stress symptoms and improvement of stress responses.

It is a more calming herb than Rhodiola which is why they work perfectly alongside each other, again ideal for students who need help keeping calm but need to stay razor sharp for exams. By helping calm the system, it sways us in the direction of the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Therefore, allowing us to rest, recover and become stronger within.

Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.

It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.

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