Excess stress can wreak havoc on the body, and pose a major threat to your health and happiness as you age. The “crisis management” solution to chronic and acute stress may come as a long overdue vacation, or perhaps even a breakdown. But to maintain stress levels long-term and make sure you are taking control of your health and happiness on an ongoing basis, you may want to consider these natural, everyday ways to keep your stress at bay:
Time for Tea
Drink tea. Any kind! It’s soothing, relaxing and can boost your antioxidant levels if you make it green tea, ginger tea or dandelion root tea. Of course chamomile is a bedtime staple, but don’t forget to give other herbal teas a whirl. Citrus, spicy and floral teas can replace that morning coffee for a bit of a wake-up call. Mellow and mild teas with a smooth finish can help you wind down from the day and sleep better. But whether it’s herbal, black, green, red or white, tea is always a good choice.
Music can elevate your mood and help you feel jovial. Music can even change your brainwaves, helping you sleep and think better. Popular music, instrumentals and collections of sounds of the world may do the trick. Even if you don’t like listening to the sounds of nature, non-musical audio like hemi-sync and crystal/singing bowl meditation recordings may work to balance your internal climate. Himalayan or Indian chanting and prayers may work for you. Or ethnic drums and instruments could be just what you need to relax and vibe. Try a few and pick your favorite.
Smiling and laughing has a significant positive impact on your health and mood. The neurotransmitters that fire in a brightened mood instruct your facial muscles to contract into a smile or laugh. But it works the other way, too. The more you smile and laugh, the more those brains signals fire. It’s also the same for frowning, that works upstream as well; and an excess of sulking can make you feel even worse. So find the time to smile, even if there doesn’t seem to be anything to smile about. And give yourself a reason to laugh, you’ll feel better in no time.
Having an animal companion adds joy to your life, helps improve your mood, and can even help you live longer. If you can’t take the daily responsibility as a fulltime per own, just visiting with an animal friend at the local zoo or aquarium could be a great pick-me-up. Nature programs are a nice comfortable, mess-free third option. But if you need a hands-on experience, fostering animals in shelters or providing pet sitting services is a great alternative to having one of your own.
Leisure activities meant to relax and rejuvenate, rather than exhaust, are great for relieving stress. Take up fishing, scenic walking, sewing, crafting, cooking, art, model building, woodwork, or some other hobby you’ve always been interested in. Learning new skills keeps your mind sharp. Perfecting old skills keep you feeling valuable and accomplished. Pick something you truly enjoy, and feel calmed and comforted once completed.
L-Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid found in plant and animals sources, and is not produced by the body. It is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, key chemicals in the brain responsible for mood, sleep and feelings of stress and worry. Taking these chemicals directly in supplement form can have adverse affects, as the natural processes of the body may be overridden. But taking a precursor such as L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP puts a barrier between what you’re taking and how your brain utilizes the stimulus, preventing overuse and overstimulation. This means you cannot overdose because your body cannot produce more than its natural cap. Ask your primary physician about how L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP may help you and your stress levels.
These natural stress reducers are a great addition to any lifestyle, and compliment the stress levelers in “6 Great Ways to Ease Your Stress.” Anyone can experiment with or participate fully in these activities. They are healthy, holistic and help with you daily happiness.