By Andrea Watson
If you are like most people, you are no stranger to stress. Your job, family, goals, and bills can all add stressors into your day-to-day life. Some stress is good for us. It reminds us of our needs and prompts us to take action. However, if stress levels get too high, it can start to affect your health and your sanity. Sleep, work performance, relationships, immune system, and physical appearance can all suffer when stress levels are too high. Here we will go over strategies to reduce stress and win back our health and vitality.
Surprised? It’s true! Singing and humming reduce stress and anxiety in a scientific way. Singing stimulates your vagus nerve. We’ll start at the beginning here. Your vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body, connecting to your brain and a bunch of important organs. It influences breathing, heart rate, and digestive function. The tone of the vagus nerve is a biological process that represents the activity of the nerve itself. When you increase the vagal tone by singing, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, making it easier for your body to relax after stress (Jordan Fallas). You don’t have to be a good singer for this to work; everybody can do it. So when you are riding that adrenaline wave that comes after a stressful situation, remember to open up and belt out the first song that comes to mind. You will calm down faster and get back to normal in an all-natural way.
Here we have another scientifically proven and totally awesome way to de-stress. Meditation is an ancient practice that is believed to have started in India, although now it is practiced all over the world. There are different types of meditation that help us to increase mindfulness and relax. Relaxation meditation involves focusing on an object, mantra, or your own breath or visualization to bring you to a calm state of being. Sometimes it helps to chant or use a singing bowl. The best solution may be to find some calming music or a Tibetan healing soundtrack to play softly in the background. You may want to shop around for your meditation sounds. Sometimes a track with a continuous “om” chant can be very peaceful too. It can take some time to develop our meditation skills (yes, it is a skill) because it can be difficult to clear our minds, visualize one thing, or focus on a single object or mantra. The practice is worth the benefit, though, so don’t give up if you don’t get it right away. Daily meditation can help improve our overall mood, help us get better sleep, increase our focus and productivity, and train our minds and bodies how to relax on cue.
Take A Bath
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised to know that science has something to teach us here. Taking a bath can calm the nervous system, reducing levels of stress and anxiety and can improve our mood. Better than that, bathing helps our heart health, it helps us breathe easier, balances hormones, and kills bacteria to improve our immunity. It gets even better. While you take a bath you can add other relaxation techniques for super stress reduction, You can meditate in the bath, or even sing, combining methods for maximum results. Plus, there are so many ways to spruce up bath time! Candles, lavender, herbs, citrus, not to mention the huge variety of bath products you can add to your water. You can check out some of the best products here.
Yoga is another practice developed in India. It was first mentioned in the sacred texts of the Rig Veda over 5,000 years ago. In the beginning, yoga was primarily just for mystic seers and priests, teaching sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action, and wisdom. Today yoga is used as exercise and as a way to reduce blood pressure and heart rate and to relax. Don’t be fooled by it’s tranquil look and nature. Yoga is a physically demanding practice; however, unlike other strenuous exercises, yoga relies on the mind-body connection and utilizes meditation, controlled breathing, and relaxation techniques.
Walk it Off
Walking has great benefits. It improves our heart health, helps us to lose weight, gets us from point A to point B. Walking also can help our minds to let go of persistent or bothersome thoughts, especially if we have a nice route to take. You may need to drive for a while to find a nice walking spot if you live in an urban area. Consider researching places to walk or hike around where you live. You can also use a combination meditation/walking technique to help you relax as you walk. Just make sure that you don’t walk so far you are too tired to walk back, and remember to walk safely!
So there you have it-the top 5 ways to reduce stress naturally. One of the best things about these top five is that they can be used in different combinations to make your relaxation time extra effective. Even if you only choose one or two to try, you will still benefit. Self-care is important, and finding ways to reduce stress without using anything external can be difficult. Give some of these techniques a try, and see which ones suit you best. You will be less stressed, have more vitality, and enjoy life more when you are relaxed.
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