Some folks are born worry warts. They tend to overthink every little thing. And they’re certified pros at seeing the many ways things can go wrong.
Others are typically just the opposite. They’re cool as a cucumber. And they let the chips fall where they may, figuring everything will be okay in the end.
But these days it’s getting tougher to tell the difference between the two.
Anxiety levels are skyrocketing in the United States. And it’s really no wonder. Because somewhere between the contentious politics, the financial insecurity and the natural disasters more and more of us are feeling overwhelmed.
In fact, according to a recent study more Americans than ever are finding themselves stressed out and full of anxiety. And if that sounds like you, you’re not alone. An estimated 8.3 million American adults are in the same boat.
Worst of all, all the worrying doesn’t just make you feel bad. It can really start to take its toll on your health. Scientists say ongoing stress triggers chronic inflammation. And it can do a real number on your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to getting sick.
Which is why, according to experts, stress contributes to all kinds of health problems and illnesses including…
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep disturbances
- Heart disease
- Back pain
And that’s just to name a few.
Now, more than ever we need to find ways to decompress, destress and help take the edge off.
Relieve stress, axe anxiety and feel better fast
Following are 6 quick and easy, drug-free solutions that can help you overcome worry and relieve stress FAST.
1. The one-minute meditation:
You don’t have to be a Zen master or some kind of “new-age” guru to experience the benefits of meditation. In fact, all it takes is simply being aware and present in the moment, and a few deep calm breathes.
In times of stress and worry, just stopping for one minute to focus on your breathing, feeling the oxygen flow in and out will have IMMEDIATE benefits. You will feel instantly calmer and more in control. And that will translate into you being better equipped to handle the situation at hand, or make better decisions.
Find a spot where you can sit undisturbed for a minute. Many folks find closing their eyes helps, but you don’t have to. Clear your mind of anything but your breathing, refocusing when you need to. Take deep breaths in through your nose, and release them though your mouth.
Open your eyes after a minute and you’ll notice the difference right away.
2. Soothe your soul with music:
Music is a potent force. It can trigger every emotion from sadness to joy. And we can use that power to help overcome worry and relieve stress.
Next time you’re feeling worried, overwhelmed, anxious or just plain scared use music to escape. Turning on your favorite tunes will comfort you, and provide just the momentary distraction you need.
But don’t stop there. Grab your hairbrush and sing along. Or better yet, get up and dance. It’s nearly impossible to hold onto worry and anxiety when you’re belting out a tune and cutting a rug.
3. Strap on your walking shoes:
Physical activity of any sort can do wonders for your mood. And one of the easiest exercises there is, is a brisk stroll.
The movement and fresh air alone are a great way to distract yourself. But that’s not where the benefits end. Our bodies naturally release endorphins—feel-good hormones—when we exercise.
For even better results dial up some tunes on your smartphone or music player and walk to the beat. Exercise and music are a nearly unbeatable anxiety buster.
Relieve stress with soothing nutrients
Are you finding you need a bit more help to bust through the stress and stay healthy? Nutritional supplements could be just what you’re looking for.
4. B vitamins:
Your body uses the B vitamins—known collectively as B complex—to convert the food you eat into fuel to keep you moving all day long. But when you’re under stress, you burn through the B’s like a wildfire.
As a result, you’re left feeling fatigued and nursing a compromised immune system. And a dip in certain B’s can mess with your mood, too.
Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, for example helps produce sex and stress linked hormones. And B6, or pyridoxine, plays a major role in our mood and sleep patterns. Your body requires pyridoxine to make serotonin and melatonin, as well as the stress hormone norepinephrine.
You can raise your levels of the B complex vitamins by eating more fish, chicken, beef liver, eggs, beans and dairy foods. And taking a B complex supplement can help support energy and mood.
5. Valerian root:
It’s 2 AM and you’re staring at your bedroom ceiling again, worrying about work, family or finances. You feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you’re too anxious to sleep.
If that scenario sounds far too familiar, you’re going to love valerian root. A centuries-old herbal remedy, valerian helps relieve stress and restore normal sleep patterns in folks who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious.
Studies have found the stinky root can work as well as prescription meds for some folks… without the drug side effects. In one placebo-controlled study, valerian significantly improved sleep quality in users. Volunteers fell asleep more quickly and woke up less than folks who took the placebo.
And in another study, nearly 90 percent of the participants with insomnia slept more soundly after taking the herb. And 44 percent rated their sleep as “perfect.”
Experts believe compounds in valerian affect receptors for the calming neurotransmitter GABA, easing anxiety and helping you slip off to sleep.
There’s a reason grandmothers the world over recommend a warm cup of chamomile tea to soothe frayed nerves and relieve stress. It works!
And if you ever took your own grandmother’s advice, you might have already experienced the calming benefits of this herb. The chamomile plant is rich in the bioflavonoid apigenin, which experts say is a natural anxiety reducer.
In a University of Pennsylvania study chamomile significantly slashed anxiety levels in 57 percent of volunteers. In fact, researchers say the herb was so effective it sliced their anxiety in half, reducing it by 50 percent.
You can take your chamomile the old fashioned way, as a comforting tea just like grandma used to make. Or opt for a supplement instead.
No matter whether you’re usually a worry wart, or cool as a cucumber, stress can sometimes get the best of you.
Don’t suffer in silence. Try one of these six simple solutions for tackling worry and stress, and chill out.