Highly Effective Ways to Lower Stress Naturally

Stress is remarkably damaging to our mental and physical health. Even though we know how serious it is, most of us can’t seem to find an effective way to get rid of it (or at least reduce it). Here are six all-natural, healthy, and highly effective ways to reduce chronic stress in your life.

1. Exercise
You’ve probably heard this one before, but exercise is a marvelous stress reliever. Exercising releases endorphins, which are natural compounds in your body that reduce stress and pain. You don’t have to do strenuous or intense workouts to experience this benefit. Try to be physically active every day, whether it is a brisk walk in the sunshine, swimming, or weightlifting at the gym. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel.

2. Natural Adaptogen Supplements
Adaptogen supplements are natural herbs that help your body adapt to stressors in your environment. A common adaptogen is Ashwagandha. Although the stress response might feel as though it’s limited to your mind, your entire body responds to stress. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, you might have difficulty focusing, and you start breathing rapidly. Adaptogens help calm the nervous system down and are completely natural.

3. Schedule in “Me-time”
Although life can get overwhelmingly busy, don’t forget about yourself. Scheduling in “me time” is equally as important as that business meeting or lunch with friends. Take time at least once a week (or as often as your schedule allows) to relax and do things that calm you down. Read a book, have a bath, meditate, or watch a funny movie, and don’t cancel on yourself!

4. Get Enough Good-quality Sleep
I can’t stress how important getting enough sleep is for your overall wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep is proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress significantly. You probably know how irritated, frustrated, and upset you can get when you feel exhausted and haven’t slept enough. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

5. Eat Healthy, Whole Foods
The foods you eat can have a tremendous impact on your stress levels— both positive and negative. If you eat processed, sugary junk foods, you will notice that your feelings of stress will only get worse. A diet full of real, nutrient-dense, whole foods can counteract the damaging effects of stress on your body and can help you feel significantly better. Healthy fats (especially omega-3 fatty acids) found in salmon, avocado, nuts, and seeds can help regulate levels of cortisol, your stress hormone.

6. Calming Essential Oils
Essential oils are powerful and natural remedies for numerous health problems, from indigestion to stress. Lavender essential oil is well-known for its calming properties. You can put this oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or apply it topically to help you relieve stress and sleep better. Rose oil is also a powerful calming oil that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, be careful as essential oils are very potent, and you don’t want to use too much.

Are you an early riser or do you struggle in the mornings?

I want to invite you to try an experiment.  First of all, you can pick the time frame — but I suggest picking 3, 5, or 7 days.

For whatever time frame you pick, rise with the sun those mornings.

It may be uncomfortable to get up that early at first, but this is simply an experiment to see what shifts in you as you take this extra time in the morning for yourself.  There is one crucial thing: no electronics.  Use this time to bundle up outside on the porch (if you have one) to see the colors the sky displays as the sun rises.  Use it as a little recharge for yourself in the morning.

That’s my challenge to you. Do you accept?!

 

I find it so helpful to do regular check-ins to see how things are going internally and logistically in my life.  Have you ever done this before?

It can be as simple as putting a reminder in your phone for a specific day every month to have a small check-in.  Ask yourself how you’re feeling, what’s working and what’s not, what could take some improvement or extra attention — and devise a game plan from those questions.

Set a reminder on your phone right now that can reoccur every month for your monthly check-in dates.  Pour a cup of tea, have a notebook handy, and see what comes from it.

 

What’s tugging at your attention today?

I’d love to invite you to be mindful of what’s on your mind today. Pay attention to what’s swirling inside of you — dig into what’s filling your mind and find the lesson in it.

Being mindful of our patterns helps to reveal underlying thoughts, worries, and hopes.  Try to pay attention to what fills your mind this week and notice any patterns that arise.

So tell me… what’s on your mind today?

Now that Summer is wrapping up, let’s take a moment to look back on your experiences and share what you’re most grateful for from the last few months.

One of my favorite Fall practices is reflecting, so share a reflection with me in the comments below. What’s something you’re grateful for from the summer months?

 

Why You Might Have Brain Fog

and How to Clear it Up

Brain fog can be characterized by a lack of concentration, an inability to make decisions, frequent headaches, and nausea, to name a few. Is this something you struggle with regularly? A few common causes of brain fog could range from a nutrient deficiency, lack of proper sleep, ingesting an abundance of sugar, a thyroid condition, or even depression. Inactivity and chronic stress can also unleash brain fog, so there are a lot of factors at play when nailing down what’s causing your brain fog.

Luckily, you don’t have to keep your head in the clouds for too long. Here’s what you can do about it.

Try intermittent fasting
It’s well-known for helping you lose stubborn weight, but intermittent fasting can also improve your neurological well-being. You can ease into it by extending the timeframe between the last meal you eat in one day and the first meal you eat on the next day. A popular intermittent fasting method is 16:8, which means you’re fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. For example, this would pan out by eating dinner at 7 pm and not eating again until 11 am the next day.

Avoid sedentary behavior
Through no fault of our own, many of our jobs require us to log long hours behind a desk. Increased activity levels are known for boosting your mental acuity, so even if your schedule truly is packed, there are still things you can do to get moving. Take a 10-minute walk around the office a few times a day to stretch your legs and get your blood moving, or spend your lunch break getting some activity in. You can even invest in a DeskCycle, and you can even get a workout in AT your desk. It’s a small under the desk bicycle that allows you to “ride” a bike while seated at your desk.

Sleep on it
I don’t need to tell you your body needs enough sleep to function properly. Rest is one of the most crucial aspects of your overall health, so get that sleep you need by going to bed a little earlier every night until you’re getting more Zzz’s. If you have trouble sleeping soundly, investigate some natural ways to get a proper nights sleep, and see what works best for you.

Get into meditation
It can be hard to shut off the noise in your head, which is why many people feel like giving up when they first try meditation. Instead, download some healing frequencies that help you tune into your mind. There are also some fantastic apps you can download on your phone, such as Headspace and Calm, which can help you become a meditation pro.

Make the food you eat count
Food really is the way to balance your health. You need to make sure you are getting enough of the food your brain needs to work optimally. Eat omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and whole foods loaded with vitamins and minerals for your best brain health. Try adding some MCT oil into your morning coffee or taking it a step further for some “bulletproof” coffee (google it, it sounds strange, but it wakes up your brain in a snap!)

When most people focus on their health, they often put more emphasis on their physical aspects. But well-rounded health comes from balancing both physical and mental. Give some of these tips a shot and see what helps lift the brain fog for you.

Turning Your “To Do” List List Into a “To Be” List

for improved productivity

Are to-do lists daunting to you? For me, staring at a to-do list can be extremely overwhelming and lead down the road of procrastination. See, the thing with those “to-do” lists is that they usually contain a not-so-effective word. Should. It’s not that it’s a bad word, but when you’re trying to make goals and stick to them, “should” feels more like what others expect of us rather than what we genuinely expect of ourselves.

Instead, we “should” be putting the focus on what we desire. That’s why making a “to-be” list is best, which will lead you right down the alley of the “to-do” you’re after. Once I made this shift into writing “to be” lists for myself, a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Personally, I think we focus too much on what we need to DO, instead of who we need and desire to BE. We’re so much more than a worker bee sailing through to-do lists every day of the week, and acknowledging that is huge.

So, what is this “to be” list I speak of, and how do you do it?

First, start by writing it down.

Take a moment to yourself to think about what you want to become. Do you want to be a better parent? An artist? More focused on your health? Whatever it is, think about what would bring you the most joy.

Compare it to your “to-do” list
Next, hold that “to-be” list up next to your “to-do” list. If your “to-do” list doesn’t support the things you want to be, you need to make some adjustments.

Make it tangible
What is it you want to become? Your “to-be” list and “to-do” list should mirror each other. Perhaps you want to be more organized. Then your “to-do” list might instruct you to take on an organizational project, like clearing out the garage. Perhaps you want more spirituality. Then your “to-do” list would include time for you to explore that.

Always keep your lists at hand
Both of your lists should always be near so you can refer to them in times when you need more inspiration to stick to your goals. When you set clear paths to your goals, it’s so much easier to become what you dream of being.

Shift your focus
So many times, we zero in our focus on the things we lack. Instead, we need to think of where we intend to go without bashing ourselves. No matter the goal, you must focus on enriching your life and filling it with purpose.

It’s essential to keep on the right path to accomplishing your goals. Set your priorities about who you want to become, and you’ll have an easier time on the journey to getting there. And really, isn’t that where all the fun is? Go for it!

Have you heard of the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a method of assigning a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar levels.

There are three categories that food is placed in:

  • Low GI (55 or less) – Choose these most often
  • Medium GI (56-69) – Choose these less often
  • High GI (70 or more) – Choose these least often

Regulating your blood sugar is important, even if you don’t suffer from blood sugar troubles.

Here are some examples of foods that fall within these categories:

Low GI foods: apples, bananas, strawberries, carrots, chickpeas, cashews.

High GI foods: watermelon, potato, cereals, white bread, white rice.

Highly processed foods fall on the High GI list, and a great place to start is avoiding highly processed foods.  Have you found it difficult to kick the processed foods?  What’s been the hardest to ditch for you?

 

What is Intuitive Eating?

If you’ve never heard the phrase “intuitive eating” — listen up, because it’s life-altering.

Intuitive eating proposes breaking free from the on-and-off cycle of dieting and learning to eat mindfully and without guilt. There’s no calorie counting or restrictions on certain foods — alternately, you learn to make peace with food and use it for nourishment instead of comfort.

At its core, intuitive eating is learning to tap into your intuition and honor your body.

–  Eat nourishing foods when you feel hungry without overdoing it.

–  Learn how to feel satisfaction from other areas of your life, without using food for comfort, satisfaction or a feeling of belonging.

–  Learn to respect your body for all it does for you, and you’ll naturally become more gentle and mindful with your choices.

It’s quite radically different than the yo-yo dieting our society is used to, but learning to eat intuitively is a lifestyle that will carry you through your years with ease.

What self-help books have been on your bookshelf lately?

I’m a big fan of reading, especially inspirational, motivational, and self-help books. I’m always looking for new recommendations, so let’s create a great resource here in the comments below.

Let me know what your favorite inspirational/motivational/self-help book(s) are!