5 Ways to Reduce Stress Naturally
Bernadette Woolcock, Acupuncturist & Nutritionist
Exercise helps to relieve stress by releasing endorphins otherwise known as the ‘happy hormone’. Regular exercise helps you to tolerate stress better. Any kind of exercise is good if you enjoy it and can see yourself doing it regularly.
Breathing is very important at controlling our body’s response to stress. Focussing on breathing deeply can help in moments of stress, but also to build up tolerance to stress. Not sure if you are breathing deeply enough? Try this technique. Lay down with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Slowly breathe in through your nose and feel the hand on your stomach rise. The hand on your chest shouldn’t move too much. Breathe out allowing the hand on your stomach to lower. Slowly repeat for up to 10 breaths. Try to incorporate this deep breathing technique into each day.
Massage has been shown to reduce stress by causing deep relaxation, reducing the release of stress hormones and increasing the release of hormones that improve mood. Massage also helps to relieve muscle tension which can be caused by and contribute to feeling stressed.
A healthy diet can help the body process stress hormones more efficiently. The liver is our body’s detoxification centre. A diet of food full of chemicals and preservatives puts extra load on the liver to try and eliminate them for the body. This reduces its ability to process and eliminate excess cortisol. Try to reduce processed foods, coffee, alcohol, sugar and salt in your diet.
Acupuncture treats the body wholistically. Many patients will come with symptoms of stress such as insomnia and hormonal issues, but are unaware that stress may be a factor. Acupuncture may help to regulate the release of the stress hormones. It helps to bring the body back into balance by assisting the body to turn off the fight-or-flight response.