Stress is a natural biological response. When we face stressful situations, our brain releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to help us “show up.” But too much of these chemicals can become a major impediment. The chronically stressed among us know the side effects of too much fight-or-flight state, including:
- Digestive problems
The good news is, you can implement some simple lifestyle tweaks to manage the effects of stress naturally. Here are four ways to reduce stress starting now.
1. Discover Your Optimal Relationship With Cannabis
Cannabis consumption has proven to be an effective method of managing stress when consumed in the right quantities. According to research from Washington State University, cannabis products with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) were shown to promote immediate and significant reduction in stress symptoms.
The study concluded that the most effective marijuana products to ease stress contained 26.5% THC and CBD levels of above 11%.
Whether you start or end your day with a smoke, prefer a mid-day cannabis break or like to medicate multiple times a day, discovering your optimal relationship with cannabis could mean the difference between getting on with your day and having a meltdown. Just remember to go low and slow to find out what truly works for you.
A good place to start may be with these seven marijuana strains that can help alleviate stress.
RELATED: CANNABIS CAN RELIEVE STRESS
2. Incorporate Adaptogens Into Your Diet
Adaptogens are naturally occurring plants and herbs that work to restore homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Adaptogens come from sources including:
- Holy basil
- Neuroprotective properties
- Anti-fatigue effects
- Antidepressive benefits
You can consume adaptogens in powdered form mixed into drinks or in a capsule like a vitamin. Some companies are also starting to make adaptogen-rich topical preparations like creams and lotions.
To reduce the effects of long-term stress, consider taking ashwagandha, an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. This herb has been found to contain rejuvenating properties as well as help ease several health conditions such as:
Another adaptogen you could try is reishi mushrooms. This mushroom has actually been referred to as nature’s Xanax for its proven ability to help manage stress and relieve insomnia.
3. Commit to Better Sleep Hygiene
Stress can make a good night’s sleep feel like a distant memory. According to research, there are short- and long-term health consequences of disrupted sleep, including:
- Increased stress responsivity
- Emotional distress
- Cognition problems
- Memory issues
Keep your sleep habits healthy, and commit to proper sleep hygiene. In other words, follow a relaxing nightly routine that sends cues to your brain to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Ways to make a difference in your sleep quality include paying attention to things like:
- Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol intake
- The time you go to sleep
- Noise and temperature levels in the bedroom
- Use of electronic devices in bed—the blue light coming from your phone suppresses natural melatonin
4. Move Your Body Daily
If you find yourself in a heightened state of stress too often, you may have tense muscles, jaw pain and headaches. But as the saying goes: Motion is lotion when it comes to treating a stressed-out body.
Exercise has proven to reduce levels of the body's stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. It’s also been shown to stimulate the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
Make a habit to get your heart rate up and so that your body releases those feel-good chemicals that make stress feel far away. Just be sure to do it in the a.m., as exercise close to bedtime may impede your ability to catch some good zzz.
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