Stress, whether we like it or not, has become a part of our daily lives. From minor stressors to overwhelming anxiety, stress is a small word with extra large meaning. The stress response is a natural function of our bodies, but its negative effects can make us feel drained — both mentally and physically.
Additionally, this problem is incredibly common. Over one-third of Americans experience severe anxiety and stress, while three-quarters of the population report consistent anxiety and stress-related symptoms. If you find yourself as a part of this statistic, you’re far from alone. Keep reading to learn how to relieve stress and anxiety with simple methods, plus the best supplements for stress!
Signs and Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety
Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways. You might experience it physically or mentally, and often both at the same time. Symptoms can last as long as the stress does, and sometimes even longer. It’s common to feel exhausted even after the source of your anxiety has passed, as it takes time for the body to recover from the spike in adrenaline and cortisol. Here are a few ways you might notice your body reacting to stress.
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Physical Symptoms of Stress
- Trouble breathing
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle soreness
- High blood pressure
- Sudden weight gain/loss
- Muscle spasms and tics
- Tightness in your chest
- Muscle tension or jaw clenching
- Stomach or digestive problems
- Low libido or loss of sexual desire/ability
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
Mental Signs of Stress
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Experiencing fear, anxiety, or nervousness
- Inability to enjoy yourself
- Feeling apathetic or uninterested
- Difficulty focusing or maintaining concentration
- Forgetfulness and poor recall
- Change in appetite
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Change in emotional responses to others
Our Stress Response and Why It’s Important
Now that we know some of the symptoms of anxiety and stress, it’s important to know why our bodies work this way! While these symptoms can be bothersome and even harmful, our stress response is an essential bodily function. When a perceived threat arises, we begin to feel the symptoms of stress — it’s our bodies way of preparing us to react to a potentially-threatening event! Here’s how the stress response works.
Our brains determine whether the situation we’re experiencing is stressful. This is based on our senses of the experience (like the sounds and sights) as well as what has happened in similar past events. Next, our hypothalamus is activated and signals for the pituitary and adrenal glands to begin producing hormones as a reaction to the stressor. This is known as the “fight or flight” response.
The hormones involved in the fight or flight response are cortisol and adrenaline, and their production leads to the symptoms of acute stress such as sweating, increased heart rate, and nervousness. At the same time, this pauses functions like digestion and the immune response.
It’s normal for our fight or flight response to be triggered when we experience threats like a looming deadline, relational conflict, or a dangerous situation. In these cases, our fight-or-flight response typically helps us react effectively. But prolonged exposure to stress and anxiety can become harmful to our bodies. This is known as chronic stress.
What is Chronic Stress?
When our stress continues after the perceived threat has ended, it becomes chronic. Chronic refers to a recurring and/or constant sensation. With chronic stress, we may experience a sense of dread or be overwhelmed for a long period of time. It can lead to aches, pains, insomnia, and difficulty focusing on a regular basis.
Over time, chronic stress can result in negative long-term health effects on our bodies. We might suffer from increased heart rate and blood pressure in addition to recurring muscle aches and soreness. Now our body has to work extra hard to function at a normal level. If we regularly struggle with stressful situations, we’re more likely to experience chronic stress.
How to Relieve Chronic Stress
Cultivating a stress-free life is the key to avoiding chronic stress! A few methods to relieve long-term stress include eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and taking part in daily stress-relieving activities.
- Exercise to relieve stress: Exercise might sound like the cure for everything. In the case of stress, it definitely can be! When we regularly get our heart rates pumping in cardiovascular workouts like running, swimming, or biking, our bodies produce fewer stress hormones and more “happy” hormones (endorphins), which act as natural painkillers and stress relievers.
- Eat a nutritious diet: A balanced diet goes a long way! Foods like fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains help our bodies fight inflammation that leads to higher cortisol levels. Plus, we can add an anti-inflammatory supplement to our daily diet for even more support. Lively Vitamin Co. CuraHealth is a potent curcumin supplement that relieves inflammation and supports healthy stress levels.
- Manage daily stress: Imagine your daily stress as a snowball rolling down a mountain. If you don’t stop that snowball, it’s on its way to becoming an avalanche of chronic stress. So, how can we manage daily stress? We can include natural stress relief methods in our everyday routine such as CBD for stress. Try Wild Theory Breathe – Broad Spectrum CBD Stress Blend to assist your body’s natural stress response and stop the snowballs before they occur! We also love Natural Factors Stress Relax Pharma Gaba.
Implementing healthy habits like these into our daily routine can help us avoid stress before it becomes chronic. This is important because our bodies experience a slew of negative effects associated with chronic stress — one is adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Our adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones. In particular, the production of cortisol and adrenaline cause symptoms of stress such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. Eventually, our adrenal glands become depleted over the course of constant stress hormone production, leading to adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
- Feeling fatigued, sluggish, or crashing throughout the day
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Salty and sweet food cravings
- Higher energy levels at night
- Poor response to stress
- Weakened immunity
- Slow brain function
Once our adrenal glands reach the point of depletion, our bodies can no longer properly respond to stressful situations. This is when we experience these unpleasant symptoms. Fortunately, we can support our stress response by nourishing our adrenal glands with the help of adrenal support supplements!
Supplements To Support Adrenal Glands
- Lively Vitamin Co. Adrenal Boost is an adrenal health formula that combines adaptogenic herbs like black maca, Schisandra, Panax ginseng, and Rhodiola for natural stress relief, enhanced brain function, and higher energy levels.
How To Relieve Stress and Anxiety
We can’t stress enough how important it is to reduce chronic stress! Don’t let stress and anxiety get the best of you. Try these natural methods instead, like helpful lifestyle changes, easy relaxation techniques, and beneficial supplements!
Quick Stress Relief
Quick stress relief methods are best for short bouts of overwhelming stress. This could include — and is definitely not limited to — the time leading up to a big presentation, during a fight with a loved one, or on a turbulent flight. The minute you begin to feel the nervousness creep in and attack, try these quick methods for relief!
- Breathe deeply and slowly: This common calming technique is simple and highly effective! By focusing your breathing into slow, deep breaths, you’re bringing more oxygen to your brain. This helps relax your mind and body so you think clearly. Here’s an easy one to remember:
- 4-4-4 is a well-known breathing technique that you can use when you feel stressed. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for another 4 seconds, and slowly exhale for the final 4 seconds. Repeat this until you feel the tension begin to release.
- Bonus for aromatherapy! Lavender essential oil is one of the best herbs for stress! This calming herb brings a relaxing sensation to your mind and body, and you can pair this with a soothing breathing technique to quickly relieve your stress and anxiety.
- Hug/cuddle someone you love: Just the smell of your favorite person is enough to put your mind at ease. Plus, hugs are known to trigger the release of oxytocin (literally known as the “cuddle hormone”) which allows for less stress and more happiness. (P.S. Yes, pets count!)
- Take a Chill Pill! In this case, it’s literal. Lively Vitamin Co. created a supplement that acts as a quick and natural stress reliever. Named fittingly, Chill Pill combines chamomile, L-theanine, and magnolia bark to swiftly calm tense muscles and a busy mind. It’s one of the best supplements to relieve stress quickly! Terry Naturally Anxiocalm is another excellent choice for rapid relief from stress.
Cultivating a Stress-Free Life
Want to learn how to stay stress-free all the time? A healthy body is the best place to start. As we mentioned earlier, getting regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and managing daily stress help protect against the buildup of unnecessary stress. Plus, there are additional ways to continue living your life without the worries of stress creeping in. Here are some of the best long-term methods to relieve stress.
- Develop healthy habits: This technique is underrated because it may seem like small changes don’t make a big difference, but it offers effective results! Here are a few healthy habits to consider:
- Spend a portion of the day outdoors for fresh air and vitamin D straight from the source.
- Set aside time to spend with friends and loved ones — and just by yourself too!
- Put the phone down, close your computer, and turn off the TV. Pick up a book or spend some time meditating instead!
- Give yourself small goals to achieve daily. Maybe it’s reading for 10 minutes, trying a new recipe, or fitting in some yard work. Your stress will diminish when it feels like you’ve accomplished something.
- Maintain a work-life balance: If you’ve had a hard time learning how to balance work and life, you are definitely not alone. In fact, this can be a major source of stress. Let’s say you work from home and your desk is in your bedroom. Our bodies struggle to differentiate between work mode and sleep mode if your bed and desk are just feet apart. Try these methods to balance work and life:
- Create a clear distinction between when you’re working and when you’re relaxing. Set a schedule for when you work each day and don’t work outside those hours.
- If you can, work in a different room than your bedroom so you don’t feel stressed while you’re trying to sleep. Unable to move your desk? Create a corner in your room that you only use for work.
- Enjoy your time off. Try not to think about work when you don’t have to! That way, you can make the most of time outdoors or spent watching your favorite movie.
- Try to include natural stress relievers in your daily routine: Supplements are a great way to balance your mind and body to stay ahead of stress. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies might inhibit our bodies from a healthy stress response. Maintaining optimal levels of essential nutrients can alleviate these issues, plus herbal ingredients can bring our bodies the balance it desperately needs during stress attacks. Read Stop Your Stressing: The 4 Best Supplements for Stress & Anxiety to find which supplement to take first!
CBD for Stress Relief
CBD (cannabidiol) is somewhat of a buzzword but it’s far from “just a trend.” This powerful substance is widely known to help relieve pain and sleep troubles, plus it has another amazing effect — it can reduce stress!
Here’s how it works. Our bodies all contain an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that assists in the regulation of our mood, sleep, pain, immune, and stress responses. Receptors for the ECS are located throughout the entire body, reaching from deep in the brain to the skin’s surface layers!
CBD comes from the cannabis plant but it’s not like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the substance that produces a “high” feeling. Instead, CBD is perfectly safe, legal, and only works to support the body’s natural functions. When we ingest CBD, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors that are located throughout our body.
CB1 and CB2 make up the cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. When CBD enters the body, it enhances the function of these receptors. Because CB1 and CB2 directly impact the production of serotonin, CBD is able to effectively support healthy serotonin levels to ease anxiety, brighten mood, and protect against high-stress levels.
So, what are the best CBD products to relieve stress?
- Wild Theory Black Label Hemp Extract Extra (1000mg): CBD oil is great for fast-acting relief. This oil contains a whopping 1000mg of CBD, a potent amount to knock out your worries and help you feel calm, cool, and collected. Plus, it’s a full spectrum formula, meaning it contains whole-plant compounds that synergistically support your stress response and relax your mind and body.
- Medterra Gummies Keep Calm: Want a fun way to ease your worries away? These gummies provide 25mg of soothing CBD combined with L-theanine and turmeric to calm inflammation and “busy-brain.” Now stress won’t cloud your mind, and you can take this CBD for anxiety too!
Natural Stress Relief for Brighter, Happier Days
Our Guide to Natural Stress Relief is designed to help you effectively navigate your stress and anxiety so you don’t suffer from debilitating nervousness, chronic stress, or endless anxiety. With natural supplements for stress and anxiety, we can restore the balance between our minds and bodies for brighter, happier days to come.
Need more help finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety the natural way? Check out a local health and wellness store near you to ask some friendly experts for their input!