Stress is something that affects us all, but for most people, stress and anxiety come and go. For some others, they can experience near-constant anxiety and stress (chronic stress), or get a sudden attack when the right triggers are present (acute stress).
There are ways to help relieve the feelings of both anxiety and stress, but first, you must learn to recognize the symptoms of stress and anxiety. The symptoms can vary from person to person, though there are some commonalities.
- Feeling easily irritated, frustrated, and moody
- Having difficulty relaxing and calming the mind
- Avoiding others
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Constant worrying
- Inability to focus
- Changes in appetite: binge eating or starving yourself
- Nail biting, fidgeting, pacing
These are all symptoms of stress and anxiety. Once we have recognized these symptoms, what are some ways that we can alleviate them? Here are a few suggestions, from using a dry herb vaporizer to a simple laugh.
Get Some Sleep
Lack of sleep can really affect the way you feel. On average, many of us get less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep recommended for adults a night. In fact, many adults who get fewer than 8 hours of sleep per night report higher stress levels than those who get at least eight hours a night. Getting fewer than eight hours of sleep a night can lead to increased feelings of irritability or anger and feeling overwhelmed. Good sleep is essential for stress management because it’s our part of our body’s natural defense mechanisms against it. Fix this first!
This millennia-old practice is great for relieving stress and anxiety through the use of stretches, breathing, and meditation. Yoga, when practiced regularly, lowers tension and promotes relaxation. It teaches us to be mindful of our breathing. The exercise can give us something different to focus on besides our worries. It grounds us and teaches self-acceptance. All of these can go a long way towards relieving stress and anxiety.
Take a Breath
In times of anxiety or stress, you might want to take a five-minute break simply to focus on your breathing. While sitting up straight, take a slow inhale through your nose. Hold the breath for a few seconds before exhaling slowly through your mouth. This helps to counter to primary symptoms of stress – heart rate and blood pressure. First responders often use a rhythm of four seconds in, hold for four, breath out for four, then immediately inhale again. Do this for 3-5 breaths.
Laughter has been known to reduce tension. It also reduces the stress hormone cortisol. So, the next time that you feel overwhelmed or anxious, stream a stand-up comedy special on Netflix. Or, tune into your favorite sitcom. Go visit a friend that makes you laugh. It may seem like it’s too simple, but it’s more powerful than you might think!
We all know cannabis became legal last year in the US and the medical benefits of it became a highly discussed topic. Though, in high doses, some strains of marijuana may provoke increased anxiety, there is a lot of evidence that cannabis can help people suffering from chronic anxiety if you use the right strain and dosage. Science backs this up. A 2014 study from Vanderbilt University showed that smoking or vaporizing marijuana can increase the amounts of endocannabinoids in the brain, chemicals that may be reduced in times of stress or in people who experience chronic anxiety. For best results, try a mellowing indica strain over a sativa strain and start with a lower dose. A dry herb vaporizer will allow you to get the most effect out of the smallest amount of product.
Crank Up the Tunes
Music soothes the savage beast, or so the saying goes. However, you might want to pay specific attention to the kinds of music. Soothing music lowers blood pressure and heart rate and can reduce anxiety. Nature sounds are great for this purpose. However, don’t discount more upbeat music – dancing is a form of exercise and belting out those tunes yourself can relieve stress, too. Let your feelings guide you on this by paying attention to how you feel after listening.
There are certain scents which have a calming effect. Lavender is one of the most widely used, but lemon, ylang ylang, jasmine, and bergamot are all good choices to put in a diffuser or dry-herb vaporizer and just relax and enjoy the scents. Again, let your feelings be your guide for which ones work best for you.
These are all ways in which a person can reduce their anxiety and stress. Also, don’t forget the importance of eating right – too much junk food or simply skipping meals (especially breakfast) can lead to feelings of stress or anxiety. A balanced diet is important as is regular exercise, which is a natural stress-buster.
Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points