Eighty-four percent of people in the Indian workforce believe they experienced more stress and anxiety at work this year than before. May is Mental Health Awareness Month in India. Keeping this theme in mind, let us explore tried and tested ways of naturally preventing and reducing stress and anxiety.
We are all aware that the aftereffects of stress and anxiety can be detrimental to our overall health and well-being, especially in the long term. Stress and anxiety compromise our mind and body. They not only affect our everyday lifestyle such as our healthy eating, drinking, physical fitness, and sleep quality but also affect our body internally. Many people experience tension headaches, mood swings, hair loss, and weight gain in addition to internal body changes such as poor digestion, bloating, inflammation, and decreased immunity. Natural remedies can act as a preventive healthcare modality and help in reducing stress and anxiety levels while increasing health and vitality.
Knowing your stress leads to less stress!
It is important to address all factors of stress for a healthy balanced life
Most people associate stress only with emotional discomfort, which is not true. Stress is the condition of excessive strain on your body due to adverse circumstances. When a person cannot adapt to stressful events, it creates a harmful reaction in the body.
There are four main types of stress:
- Physical Stress
- Psychological Stress
- Psycho-Social Stress
- Psycho-Spiritual Stress
Physical stress affects your body due to surgery, injury, exhaustion, pollution, hunger, substance abuse, and toxicity. In fact, any factor that negatively impacts your natural and normal body function is a source of physical stress.
Psychological stress is primarily on account of emotional factors. These can vary from excessive anger or depression, harmful perceptions, high expectations, and being judgmental. Other such stress can come from the need to control outcomes, information overload from the news/internet, or anxiety caused by excessive thoughts about the past or future.
Psycho-Social stress can affect us due to social challenges or stigma, any sort of loneliness, loss of loved ones, financial problems, or social bullying.
Finally, psycho-spiritual stress arises out of a level of dissatisfaction tied to spiritual beliefs. Examples of this includes inner conflict, unhealthy fasting, situations that go against your core beliefs and values, broken moral boundaries, a religious crisis, or a resulting social backlash.
Nurture and create balance in your body
A balanced body is an optimal body
It is only natural that the antidote to stress in the body is to eat healthily and manage dietary deficiencies in alignment with what works best for your own individual body.
- Eat fresh, seasonal, nutrient-rich foods
- Be conscious and mindful while eating – chew slowly; savor the flavor, aroma, texture, and feel of every meal
- Get good quality sleep
- Make physical activity a part of your life – yoga, dancing, walking, hiking
- Use calming, balancing aromatherapy oils, and sprays like lavender
- Cut caffeine, instead, drink herbal teas such as chamomile, dandelion, or an anti-inflammatory turmeric latte to improve digestion and calm exerted nerves
- Add nutritional supplements – vitamins like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Iodine, and others. Stress is known to deplete important minerals such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium so extra care is best during times of anxiety and stress
- Explore eastern remedies – naturopathy treatments, massage, acupuncture
- Work to stabilize your blood sugar to cut food cravings
- Support your gut health
Manage your mind
Change your thoughts, change your life
- Stress and anxiety are the products of a mind that needs more strength and conditioning. Just as we exercise to keep our body fit, we must exercise our mind to keep it healthy. Do regular breathwork to calm the mind like pranayama
- Develop a positive mental attitude
- Journal – understand and list out what causes you stress, anxiety, worry
- Learn skills to manage your thoughts and emotions better
- Practice gratitude and forgiveness daily
- Meditate every day – studies show that regular meditation practice has the power to modify neurochemistry
- Practice mindful relaxation techniques such as PMR (Progressive Muscular Relaxation)
- Invest in hobbies that give you joy – reading, gardening, creating art
- Spend time around like-minded, supportive, joyful people
- Engage in daily spiritual practice – such as listening to discourses, contemplation on divine truths, and other
Effective stress and anxiety management is only possible if we are taking the initiative to do something about it. We not only need to prepare our bodies to deal with stress and anxiety but also prepare our minds for what is to come.
An antidote to Stress and Anxiety:
Develop healthy physical and mental habits to prepare and support you in times of abnormal stress and anxiety.
This is your chance to be proactive – choose yourself over the stress and anxiety in your everyday life.