HOW TO RELIEVE STRESS? 4 STRESS RELIEVERS THAT HELP ME STAY ON TOP OF MY GAME
High levels of stress may bring a wide range of adverse reactions that we may not even realize have anything to do with stress. The list is long and includes headaches, back pain and muscle tension, feeling worn down emotionally and physically, difficulties falling and staying asleep, weakened immune system, exhaustion, weight gain, difficulties conceiving, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, irregular menstrual cycle, etc.
MOST STRESS RELIEF ADVICE: INEFFECTIVE OR DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT
I started a high stress job after graduating in 2003 and it did not take long before it started taking a toll on my health and well-being.
Searching the internet for ways to relieve stress naturally, I found a huge number of stress relievers including yoga, meditation, reducing caffeine, breathing exercises, journaling, aromatherapy, diet, gratitude journal, spending time with close people, getting enough sleep, etc.
Over the years, I tried every single stress relief advice I could find only to discover that most of them were either ineffective, difficult to implement or stick with or took too much time. For example, meditating when my mind was racing turned out to be impossible for me. When I slept longer, I felt my stress resilience went up, trouble was I could sleep longer only when I was not stressed and anxious.
4 STRESS RELIEVERS THAT REALLY WORKED FOR ME
- A great movie. My stress and anxiety are often caused by a difficult problem that I can’t stop thinking about. Watching a great movie helps me take my mind away from the problem and experience positive emotions that last even after the movie.
- Running. Nothing helps me deal better with people-related stress as running. At the beginning I alternated running and walking for no more than 15-20 minutes, but even that helped me feel much better. Now, the more I run, the longer I feel the calm.
- No screen time at least 2 hours before sleep. TV, computers and phones keep my mind very active and as a result I can’t fall asleep and wake up early, feeling tired. Avoiding them for at least 2 hours before going to bed helps me calm my mind.
- Adaptogens. Discovering food supplements revolutionized my world in many ways including stress and anxiety relief. Watching a great movie, running and turning off all devices 2 hours before sleep help a lot but their influence is fairly short lasting and they could be done before or after work. I needed something to help me during the day, when stress was most intense. I discovered this help with adaptogens – potent herbs and extracts that when taken regularly helped me a lot.
ASHWAGANDHA, RHODIOLA ROSEA AND L-THEANINE
I started with Ashwagandha, considered to be the King of Ayurvedic herbs (300mg root extract with 5% withanolides taken twice daily) and L-Theanine, an amino acid naturally occurring in green and black tea (100mg taken twice daily). I read that chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol are at the heart of the problem and that Ashwagandha helps lower them, while L-Theanine promotes relaxation. Minor positive effects occurred fast, but the real benefits came after a few weeks. My life remained stressful, but I was calmer and the anxiety I felt was not that intense and usually lasted less. Occasions when I couldn’t fall asleep easily became rarer and I could sleep longer.
I added Rhodiola Rosea (200mg twice daily) to the stack to fight fatigue and boost energy. I could feel a marked difference in just a week. Many of my stressed friends tried my approach and experienced the same great effects.