Overwhelmed beyond belief? Not sure how to deal? These 5 tools are not only natural, but easy to implement for a lower-stress lifestyle!
Stress is something we all deal with to different degrees, but keeping it in check doesn’t always come easy – especially when it’s related to circumstances out of our control.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your “normal.” Stress CAN be managed in healthy ways.
Don’t worry about trying to master all of these at once. Start with one of these tools that would be the easiest for you to implement, then work your way into the others! Some may work for you, some may not. But hey – it’s worth trying them all if it means finding a way to improve your health and wellness!
Time to say “goodbye” to the heavy burden of stress on your shoulders:
Meditation or Yoga
The art of meditation has grown in popularity over the last few years, but what you may not know is that mediation is a practice that has been around for centuries – and there is more than one style of mediation, too.
Mindfulness meditation is probably the type that you’re familiar with. The idea is to pull your focus into the present moment by noticing only your breath as you inhale and exhale. Learning to remain in the present moment and block out all other distractions or thoughts has proven to be highly effective in lowering stress levels.
If mindfulness meditation is new for you, know that it may be difficult at first, but don’t let that discourage you. Try for 1-2 minutes of sitting completely still and only focus on your deep breaths. Another bonus? You can do it right from the comfort of your own home, and at any time!
Walking / Low Impact Excercise
It comes as no surprise that the stress in your brain impacts your body, thanks to our network of nerves. However, the good news is when your body feels good, it can improve your mood and decrease stress and tension. How do we get our bodies to feel good?
You guessed it – endorphins from exercise!
A study done on young adults (mean average age of 21) showed that bouts of walking for 10 minutes (along with meditation) improved stress levels significantly . Another study suggests a 20-minute walk outside to reduce stress hormone levels . As they say, “nature is the best medicine” – and also free!
Improve Your Eating Habits
Food can either be your friend or your worst enemy when it comes to your overall health. Most people are concerned about the quantities of their food, and while calories in, calories out does matter for weight loss or weight gain, the quality of your food is something else to consider.
If improving your eating habits is one of your goals, trying to overhaul your entire diet at once is stressful in itself, which is obviously the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Try focusing first on eating whole foods, meaning lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein sources that are NOT processed.
Serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate our moods and appetites, and 95% of it is made in the GI tract. The production of it is influenced by the “good” bacteria in your stomach, and these bacteria activate the neural pathways between the brain and your gut. The amount of good bacteria can impact inflammation in your body and even your mood/energy .
Moral of the story: A healthy gut = happier body and happier you. And you can help keep that good bacteria in balance by eating healthy foods.
No, processed foods won’t kill you if they’re consumed every once in a while, but making them a less frequent part of your daily meals will help decrease inflammation and thereby stress on the body.
Relaxation and Wellness Supplements
There are many products on the market that promote stress relief and relaxation, but few live up to their promises. How do you know which will work for you and which won’t?
Unfortunately, it takes a process of trial and error, but many have found great success with hemp products, as hemp extract has been shown to promote overall wellness and relaxation. Many favor it because of its natural properties, rather than deferring to prescriptions for stress and anxiety or other synthetic supplements.
While writing in a journal may not appeal to everyone right off the bat, you may change your mind once you are aware of just how impactful this practice can be for lowering your stress and processing emotions in a healthy way.
This shouldn’t be just a dump of negative emotions without an attempt to dig deeper into what’s going on. The most benefit is seen when you actually write about the emotional or stressful problems with a perspective of seeking out the lessons, noticing patterns in your thoughts or behavior, and looking for solutions.
You can start by carving out a set time each day, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes, or write when you can. Consistency is always best though, as it is with most health-related habits!
- Edwards, Meghan K, and Paul D Loprinzi. “Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults.” Health promotion perspectives vol. 8,3 171-178. 7 Jul. 2018, doi:10.15171/hpp.2018.23
- Frontiers. “Just 20 minutes of contact with nature will lower stress hormone levels, reveals new study.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2019.
- Selhub, Eva. “Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food.” Harvard Health Blog, 31 Mar. 2020.
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