Reduce cortisol and release oxytocin
Each of us regularly experiences stress and anxiety at work and in our personal lives. We cannot control some of the sources of anxiety, but we can well control our response to them.
Tips for relieving the pressure we feel periodically often involve taking the mind away from the source of the stress. Here’s how exercise, meditation, music, physical intimacy, and 12 other tricks can help lower cortisol and stimulate oxytocin production.
While it may sound strange to advise your body to stress from physical exertion during times of mental stress, it is one of the most powerful ways to deal with anxiety. Moreover, the more regular your workouts are, the more noticeable the effect will be. There are several science-based explanations for this: stress hormones. In the long term, exercise lowers levels of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, in the body. In addition, physical activity promotes the release of endorphins, also known as “joy hormones”, which improve mood and in some cases even work as pain relievers.
Exercise can improve the quality of sleep “spoiled” by stress or anxiety. However, it should be borne in mind that intense loads should be completed 3-4 hours before bedtime, otherwise they can have the opposite effect and prevent you from falling asleep.
Regular exercise increases confidence in yourself and your body – a definite plus for mental health.
Keep track of your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found not only in coffee, tea and energy drinks, but also in chocolate. Moreover, each person has a different tolerance to caffeine.
Despite the fact that many studies indicate that coffee can be beneficial in moderation. On average, five or fewer cups of coffee a day are considered “moderate”, but each case is different. That is why you need to monitor your own condition and adjust the amount of caffeine in accordance with it.
Keep a diary
Another way to reduce stress is by keeping a diary / private Twitter account. You can write down things that cause you stress so that you can “know the enemy by sight,” or list something for which you are grateful. The second approach helps you focus on positive thoughts and life events, which in turn improves mood and reduces stress.
Incredible, but true: the easiest, most affordable and fastest way to reduce stress is with chewing gum. One explanation is that chewing gum triggers the same brain waves that we experience when we relax.
Another study showed that the harder a person chews gum, the faster the anxiety will go away (from ourselves, we add that this method is worth practicing alone).
Learn to say no
Not all, but some stressors are within our control. Manage those areas of life that you can influence. For example, learn to say no when someone asks you to take on one more assignment on top of the ones already on your to-do list.
Using scents to lift your mood is called aromatherapy. Essential oils, aroma lamps, diffusers and candles are good for these purposes.
Some scents have the most soothing effects:
- Rose flower
- Roman chamomile
- Orange or orange blossom
Spend time with family and friends
A recent study found that people with underdeveloped social connections are more prone to stress and increased anxiety. The banal advice to spend time with friends and family actually has a very scientific explanation. At this time, people (women to a greater extent than men) produce oxytocin, a hormone that brings us into a benevolent state of mind.
It is not known if laughter prolongs life, but it certainly can reduce anxiety. First, laughter will be a response to stress. Secondly, it relieves tension by relaxing the facial muscles.
In the long term, laughter will improve your mood and even your immune system.
Procrastination can lead you into reactive actions, forcing you to struggle to catch up. This, in turn, causes stress, which negatively affects health and sleep quality.
This can be avoided by making a habit of making a to-do list organized in order of priority. Set realistic and gradual deadlines.
Reducing anxiety, increasing mental resilience, developing genes that affect DNA stability are just a few of the findings from a study in which Google employees participated.
For those who have never tried meditation before, experts recommend starting with at least a minute spent alone. It’s not as easy as it sounds. If you feel like you need outside “support”, download the app to act as your practice guide. We tried and loved Buddo for its simple design, hot topics (from Stress to Addiction), and a helpful theory section.
The goal of many types of yoga is the same – the harmonization of body and mind. This is achieved through practice thanks to the awareness that appears at the moment of concentration on a particular asana, as well as on breathing.
Several studies have examined the effects of yoga on mental health. Overall, research has shown that yoga can improve mood and may even be as effective as antidepressants.
In some cases, yoga has helped lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate and, conversely, increase gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that decreases in mood disorders.
Hugs, kisses, sex are your faithful companions on the way to get rid of stress. Physical contact like this, like time with friends, can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. All of the above can lower blood pressure and heart rate, which are signs of stress.
Fun fact: Humans aren’t the only ones using hugs to reduce stress – chimpanzees do the same.
Listen to soothing music
Slow instrumental music can induce a relaxation response, helping to lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as stress hormones.
Certain types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be especially soothing, but listening to your favorite songs can be just as effective.
Nature sounds can also be very soothing. This is why they are often included in relaxation and meditation music.
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into fight or flight mode. During this time, the body produces stress hormones, and they provoke a strong heartbeat, constriction of blood vessels and rapid breathing.
Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your relaxation response.
There are several types of deep breathing exercises: diaphragmatic, abdominal, and rhythmic. Model Gisele Bündchen practices alternative breathing.
Whichever type you choose for yourself, the goal remains the same – to focus your consciousness on the breath, making it slower and deeper.
Spend time with your animal
Having a pet can also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing friendships – all qualities that help reduce anxiety.
Use natural remedies
Of course, no vitamins or dietary supplements should be prescribed for yourself: the need, frequency and dosage should be determined by the doctor based on the prescribed tests. However, you may well be able to combat anxiety with green or chamomile tea, herbal teas, lemon balm, and valerian root.
Anxiety symptoms can be affected by a deficiency of vitamins D, B12, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and magnesium, which are replenished from salmon, green vegetables, beans, oatmeal and nuts.