Relieve Stress and Anxiety Naturally – Healthy Living is the Key…

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of everyday life, and stress in small amounts can actually be a good thing. But when these two common mental health issues start to get so bad that they affect your overall well-being and every day mood, they can result in all sorts of  health and life problems.

Too often doctors just automatically prescribe medication to women who are suffering from them , rather than also offering them counselling and showing them how to relieve stress and anxiety naturally.

Don’t get me wrong medication can be highly effective in helping manage some symptoms, but it will not cure these horrible disorders. This is one of the reasons why a healthy lifestyle is equally important for both our body and our minds.

stressed female
Many women suffer from bad bouts of stress or anxiety at one time or another, when everything just seems to get on top of you and feels like you just have too much to handle in life. Yet often it can feel like you are the only person in the world that is suffering that way.

Sometimes it can get so bad you can see no escape from the darkness, no light at the end of the tunnel and you just want to hide under your covers. Yet you can start to relieve stress, anxiety and the effects of them naturally by just taking small steps in the right direction.

 

Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for the body but did you realise that it can also provide some awesome mental benefits too. It can clear your mind, improve your cognitive skills, relieve stress, fight anxiety issues and even help with depression.

When you just want to hide under those covers though the thought of starting a structured exercise routine can often seem a bit overwhelming.

Try and just begin by doing a little bit each day though, as even as little as a 15 minute session can make you feel so much better. It can also help you fight that constant fatigue, give you more energy and improve the quality of your sleep at night.

woman stretching on a hill

Anxiety and Depression

As exercise releases those happy chemicals ‘endorphin’s’ in your brain it can greatly increase your sense of well-being, boost your self confidence and help calm you down when suffering from anxiety.

Whilst exercising if you try and concentrate on how each of the parts of your body feels as you are moving, it can distract you from those constant disruptive worrying thoughts that keep running your head. Studies have even shown that in some cases exercise is just as effective as anti-depressants for those suffering from depression.

By gradually increasing the amount of exercise you do each week and benefiting from the side effects, you can fight off these common yet horrible mental illnesses and eventually lose the need for any pharmaceutical help.

female happy at the beach

 

Stress

When you’re really stressed out you often end up from suffering from headaches, neck pain and back aches. In fact your whole body just aches and feels tense which can increase your stress levels even more. Exercise can help relieve that tension by getting the blood flowing to your muscles and relaxing your body. Also it releases a chemical in your brain that can help control how your body responds to stress.

 

So whether you go for a walk, play in the garden with the dog or put on a song that normally makes you just want to dance, just try to make that first effort to get up and start doing some type of exercise to improve your mood.

Also try to get outside and do something active in the sunshine as much as possible if you can as studies have shown that those with low levels of Vitamin D are more likely to develop depression.

woman-walking-her-dog-outdoors and getting the benefits of vitamin DNutrition

When you are feeling down you often just want to reach for the biscuit tin, candy bar or eat other junk food, yet these types of food can actually make you feel worse in the long run. You will a get a major sugar high after eating them followed by a low, so will soon want to consume even more which will lead to eating way too many empty calories.

Not only will this get you into a viscous circle that is bad your health and make you feel worse, but will also soon add inches to your waistline and other parts of your body which isn’t going to help how you you feel…

 

healthy fresh produce at vegetable market

The brain needs foods that are rich in B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, iron and omega 3 fatty acids for optimal mental health. Below are some of the foods that are a healthier choice for your body, can help reduce inflammation of the brain that leads to depression, as well as improve your mood by releasing those happy chemicals.

Bananas

These are a great source of B vitamins and tryptophan and are therefore considered one of the best foods to ward off depression.

bunches of bananas

Asparagus

Asparagus is another food that will raise your serotonin levels and can help with depression and anxiety.

Chicken and Turkey

Both of these are high in protein, vitamin B and tryptophan all of which can increase your energy, fight stress and help keep a clear mind.

Oily fish

Foods such as salmon and tuna are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids which is good for energy and increased brain activity. Omega 3 foods also increase the brains serotonin and dopamine levels.

salmon fillet a great food choice for protein and our brains

Eggs

These are rich in omega 3’s, minerals and vitamin B plus are a great source of protein and iron so everything that a healthy brain needs.

Nuts

These are high in magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids protein. Cashews are also a great source of tryptophan so are a good choice to help fight mild depression.

cashew nuts

Oats

These and other complex carbohydrates have a calming effect on your body as they can raise your serotonin levels.

Coconut 

Coconut water is full of magnesium and has been found to help improve your mood and help you feel more positive about life. Also just the actual smell of coconut has been found to lower stress responses and anxiety.

Dark Chocolate

Finally yes, dark chocolate is also actually good for your brain as it has anti-inflammatory properties, can help improve blood flow as well as being a great source of tryptophan – just try not to eat the whole bar!

slab of dark chocolate

Final Thoughts

So, if you are feeling down and are constantly hiding under the covers or lounging on the sofa and feeding your mood with sugary treats or junk food remember it’s not going to help in the long run. You will probably end up putting on weight as well and this is not going to make you feel any better.

Do try to make the effort to make some small changes in your life that will soon make you feel so much better. I know it’s not easy taking those first steps but you will thank yourself for it when you do and soon start reaping all the wonderful benefits.

If you would like to share any ways that have helped you to start making healthier choices in your life to deal with anxiety or stress then please leave a comment below, as others may also be able to benefit from them too.

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12 Responses

  1. Em says:

    Haha trying not to eat the whole bar of dark chocolate can be so hard! I always feel so much better after excising when I feel down.
    Thanks for this great article Emma!
    With Love + Gratitude
    Em || The Gratitude Butterfly

    • Emma says:

      Hi Em,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
      So pleased you liked the article and yes it can be hard not to finish off the whole bar! 🙂
      Exercise always makes me feel a lot better too even when it is just a short walk in the sunshine.

      Have a great weekend.

  2. Christina says:

    I love the detail you put into this!!! And increasing the amount of exercise each week is a great way to not overwhelm yourself with numbers like 5 days for 90 minutes, 7 days of 30…

    • Emma says:

      Hi Christina,
      So glad you enjoyed the article and Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.
      Yes, I think the last thing we need when we are feeling anxious and stressed out is to put more pressure on ourselves by saying we will commit to specific weekly exercise routines.The important thing initially is that we just actually get and start moving so that we can reap the benefits.

  3. Phil says:

    Hi there
    I have read this post with great interest, as I do a little exercise a few days per week.
    I like the effect that it has on my physical well being and it also reduces stress and anxiety levels, for sure.
    I have a nutribullit and I make a smoothie from various fruit and veg, which I have everyday.
    But my question is…am I getting more or less benefits from this method, rather than say consuming them in their whole raw state ?
    Thanks again for a great post
    Best wishes Phil Browne

    • Emma says:

      Hi Phil,

      Both ways are a good as there is not much difference between eating them in their raw state and blending. It has been shown that blending makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients and can slightly change the effectiveness of the different fibers. Really I think as long as you are getting the valuable nutrients into your body it is just a matter of personal choice.

  4. Derek says:

    Wow! I had no idea bananas and asparagus could help relieve depression and anxiety! It seems that when we choose to eat healthier, our stress levels go down. Thank you for all of this information, I found it super helpful! I’ll have to think twice before filling my cravings with junk food when I can just grab some fruits and nuts. I do love cashews 🙂

    • Emma says:

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you for your comment and I’m so happy you found the article useful. 

      Yes, by making healthier food choices we can also help fight these common mental problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression.

      Good to hear you are now going to think twice before grabbing the junk food and as you like nuts have a read of just how good they are for you!

  5. Connie says:

    You give great information and detail on your post about relieving depression, stress and anxiety with exercise that help to boost the release of endorphin’s, which will leave you feeling better. You have a good list of foods that help out with stress and depression. Thank you for writing an grate article I really enjoyed it .

    • Emma says:

      Hi Connie,

      So pleased you enjoyed the article and found the information useful.

      Yes, a combination of exercise and eating the right type of foods can have an amazing effect on your body!

  6. Chris says:

    I agree that stress and anxiety is a major problem if you are dealing with it all the time and getting rid of them as much as possible will drastically improve your life. ive had pretty bad social anxiety my whole life and this article definitely gave me some actionable tips to help me get over it.

    thanks for posting

    • Emma says:

      Hi Chris,

      Sorry to hear that you have social anxiety, it is a lot more common than a lot of people realise. I’m pleased you found the post useful though and hope some of the tips do help you.

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