Health And Wellness

11 Ways To Reduce Stress & Anxiety Using Holistic Healing

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How To Reduce Stress And Anxiety Through Holistic Health Care

By Eva Wexler

Do you suffer from horrible stress and anxiety in your day to day life? Are you looking for ways through which you can reduce stress and anxiety from your life?

Stress and anxiety are inevitable. That doesn’t mean living with them has to be. All you need to do is find your elixirs of tranquility. It’s time to say sayonara to dire straits by reclaiming your zen.

Here’s the thing about stress and anxiety: you can either allow it to dissolve any semblance of peace or you can conquer the inner demons by slaying them. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, I’m all too familiar with the disadvantages of mental calamity. 

Being someone who has never been one to resort to pills for my woes, I’ve managed to find some creative solutions to slay away the stresses and anxieties of life. I’m here to share those modalities with you today.

Let’s get started with 11 holistic hacks to reduce stress and anxiety, shall we?

RELATED: 6 Strategies For Taking A Holistic Approach To Treating Autoimmune Disease

1. Give a hug.

Hugging isn’t just limited to embracing someone you haven’t seen in a long time or your significant other as an act of endearment. There’s so much more to this simple gesture of affection on a psychological level.

For starters, it releases oxytocin, which is the antidote for depression, and just so happens to be responsible for increasing bonding and social behavior. Hugging also decreases the fear in the brain.

Because stress and anxiety are instigated through a lack of certainty about the future, all you need to do is hug it out. It also happens to give a boost to your immune system. 

Knowing you have the ability to become healthier through hugging, how can you not show a little affection? Don’t have family or friends to give a hug to? Hug your pet. Your little furry buddy will love it just as much as you do. Don’t have a pet? Hug yourself. When was the last time you took the time to embrace yourself?

If you take the time to authentically give yourself a hug and not just out of obligation, you’ll be getting those feel-good vibes in under a minute. Hugging your way out of stress and anxiety certainly reaps the benefits of increased self-love, but you also need to let go of uncertainty, which brings me to the next step.

2. Let go of control.

Anxiety and stress are influenced by the lack of control over an outcome in the future. While it’s certainly normal to dream off into the distant future, it isn’t healthy when your well-being is being compromised.

That’s not to say that you should be putting your ambitions and goals on hold. It means that you need to relinquish the outcome of what you’re expecting.

We all idolize our utopian beliefs of what quintessential is, but it can’t be at the risk of getting stressed and getting anxious. The minute you release the tight grip of your lack of control over the future is the exact moment your stress and anxiety ceases to exist.

Just for right now, focus on this minute. Nothing else. This is when it matters most. Not tomorrow or a year from now.

One day, you will look back and wish you could relive this very moment and tell yourself that you had absolutely nothing to worry about.  So let go of control now.

The more you control your emotions right now, the better your outcome will be. You can let go of control with the help of an energy exercise, which brings me to the next tip.

3. Do energy exercises.

I’m such a fan of holistic hacks, because they aid us to connect with our bodies on a much more intuitive level. I also happen to be a firm believer that the Universe has given us all of the tools and resources we need not to just survive, but to flourish and thrive.

This means that through preventive care and maintenance, we can learn to be self-sustaining rather than load our bodies with chemicals as an act of self-preservation. That’s where energy exercises can reduce your stress and anxiety.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and ankles crossed.
  • Place one or both hands on your heart to connect to it.
  • With your mouth closed, put the tip of your tongue behind the top set of your teeth.

Doing this exercise sends an automatic response to your nervous system, relaxing your body and mind. Soothe your soul with the help of your own body.

This energy technique is so simple and effective that you can do it anywhere and anytime you feel an attack on your psyche. Getting instant relief doesn’t get much better, especially if you’re too impatient to wait for an outcome.

RELATED: 10 Small Ways To Handle Anxiety When Your Brain Starts Spinning Out Of Control

4. Expressive writing.

We’ve already established that anxiety and stress is a lack of control of the future. Sometimes, that may not be the case though. There are those occasions when you’re not able to effectively articulate your feelings and emotions.

It can be out of fear against someone who you feel has inflicted pain and harm onto you or it can be yourself, which leaves you not really knowing how to convey your thoughts.

That’s where expressive writing comes in to help you out. Writing works serious wonders for your mood.

When you’re feeling stressed and anxious, take pen to paper. Write to the person who made you mad you a letter. Don’t send it though, unless you feel it would be an act of catharsis. Or write a letter to yourself expressing why you feel so distraught. Get everything out. It doesn’t matter if it’s not eloquent or your handwriting is sloppy.

This isn’t going to be a published masterpiece. It’s about you mastering yourself. Get those feel-good vibes going by expressively writing your way out of stress and anxiety.

5. Flirt your way to calm.

Getting out of your funk doesn’t have to be daunting. It should be exciting to live a little every so often. You’re entitled to have fun, which means that you can flirt your way to calm.

Yes, you read that right. Who knew that relieving stress and anxiety can be so sexy? Flirting increases dopamine and oxytocin levels in the brain. Those happy feel-good vibes are only a flirt away.

Spoken for? Flirt with your significant other. When was the last time you engaged in some innocent fun in a not so innocent manner with your partner? If it’s been a while, there is no time like now to flirt, especially if it’s going to diminish your stress and anxiety.

Single? Flirt with a random stranger, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It will take your mind off of all the crap you have going on in your mind. And did I mention how good it feels?

Flirting isn’t meant to be taken out of context and used as a means to validate your self-worth, but rather as an act of you connecting deeper with your primal nature. It’s about getting those feel-good vibes going again.

Tap into your inner sexy the next time you need to relieve stress and anxiety through flirting. 

Speaking of sexy, chocolate is such an awesome aphrodisiac and has the ability to bring you back to zen, which brings me to the next stress and anxiety-reducing hack.

6. Eat dark chocolate.

There is that certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to chocolate. It comes with this perfect dichotomy of being bewitching and comforting.

Chocolate just happens to be delicious in all forms whether it’s a hot chocolate, a truffle, ice cream, or a chunk of raw chocolate. It does, however, have to be dark chocolate and not the chocolate bars that are filled with preservatives and cancer-causing ingredients.

Next time you need a pick-me-up, consume some dark chocolate. Even if it’s just a tiny morsel, it will reduce your stress and anxiety.

At the very least, visit a chocolatier. It’s luxurious, probably something you don’t do often, and promotes a change of scenery. Did I mention that smelling chocolate causes the brain to relax, bringing you calm?

Well, now you have enough reason to reach for a piece of chocolate the next time you need a stress and anxiety-reducing hack to get those feel-good vibes going.

7. Connect with nature.

Just the word nature is so evocative of serenity. The world is filled with so many natural wonders.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to seek out an exotic off the radar locale to decrease your stress and anxiety. All you need is a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of your mind.

Pack a picnic. Bring some scissors to clip some plants while you’re at it to propagate for your own indoor jungle. If that’s not feasible, find a botanical garden nearby and wander around. Get lost in your senses and surroundings. Make it a point to get outside.

Fresh air produces more oxygen while green scapes increase serotonin levels, so you will literally increase your happiness when you get outdoors. Oxygen also happens to boost your immune system and cleanse your lungs. That should be motivation enough to get your butt outdoors.

Who needs synthetic drugs when oxygen is a natural drug? Reducing stress and anxiety shouldn’t be expensive, either. It’s free with the help of nature.

8. Listen to nature sounds.

Sometimes getting out into nature isn’t convenient. But that can’t deter you, especially when you can bring it indoors.

You also don’t need to replicate the wilderness in your home with a bunch of greenery if you’re not a plant person. All you need is some music. Specifically, nature sounds.

Skeptical about the effects of this? “In clinical studies, we have proven that 2 hours of nature sounds a day significantly reduces stress hormones up to 800 percent and activates 500-600 DNA segments known to be responsible for healing and repairing the body,” says Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Not only do you get to reap the rewards of less stress, but you’re also healing through the sound of nature. Two hours may seem like a luxury that you can’t afford, but it is attainable. Listen to nature sounds during your commute to work. If you work from home, have it on while you’re working.

Have the sound of nature playing while you’re cooking, folding laundry, vacuuming, taking a bath, or even when you’re showering. Everything adds up. Before you know it, you’re listening to two hours worth of stress-reducing music each day.

This really doesn’t require effort. All you have to do is play the music and carry on with your day to day activities.

Let’s move onto the next stress and anxiety-reducing hack to get those feel-good vibes going with some smiling.

RELATED: 6 New, Holistic Ways To Treat Depression Without Medication

9. Smile therapy. 

The power of a smile can’t be underestimated, which is why smile therapy is such an effective technique to reduce stress and anxiety.

Have you ever found someone to be much more attractive when they’re smiling? That’s not be taken in a context of vanity. It’s because they exude happiness and effervescence.

There’s a joie de vivre to a smiling face. You want what they have. You want the secret recipe for their happiness.

However, it’s not a secret. Those people don’t allow stress and anxiety to dictate their lives, because it’s simply not worth being robbed of their vivacity.

If that’s not reason enough to incorporate smile therapy to say sayonara to stress and anxiety, take a look at the tremendous health benefits of smiling:

  • boosts your immune system
  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • lowers your blood pressure
  • increases your life expectancy

Smile more often for no reason at all. Smile because it makes you feel good about yourself.

Think about a time when you were ecstatic and smile at that memory. Look at pictures of puppies. Watch a comedy. Flip through pictures of you and loved ones. Create a mood board of how happy and stress-free you want your life to be.

Take a few moments to honor yourself with a smile. Smile away the stress and anxiety. 

You can also travel to the bygone era of your childhood, which is what brings me to the next technique of how to reduce your stress and anxiety.

10. Nourish your inner child.

Remember the days of innocence when you were so carefree and your biggest worry was which game to play with? I do and it’s easy to get wistful in a daydream about the days when life was easy.

Do you also sometimes wish you can relive your childhood all over again when life gets too burdensome? The good news is that you can take a trip down memory lane. Through nourishing your inner child, you’re able to mitigate the stress and anxiety drastically.

With minimal time and effort on your end, you can bring the joys of childhood back into your life again, even if it’s only momentarily.

Stress and anxiety were nonexistent in your vernacular or train of thought, because there was only the present moment. It was about finding ways to live life to the fullest, which is why nourishing your inner child is the perfect antidote for your stresses.

Indulge in your childhood favorite food (even if it’s unhealthy), watch your favorite childhood movie, or play a game. You can even just bring yourself back through memory alone and visualize your favorite time as a child, how good things felt back then.

Incorporate the days of easy living to take a reprieve from your current reality. 

11. Plan your dream weekend.

You can find a symphonic harmony in your mind through the power of dreaming about your perfect weekend getaway. Whether it’s a cabin nestled in the woods while reading a book under the moonlight and stars to exploring a metropolis to lounging on a secluded beach, don’t hold back on your ideal weekend.

Be as lavish as you want to be. This is your dream. You’re transporting yourself to an entirely different reality, which will instantly scale down on your stress and anxiety.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford it, it’s just that. You’re fretting and not dreaming. You don’t have to take this weekend trip just yet. You just have to alter your current reality.

Here’s another hack: Instead of focusing on a lack of funds, place emphasis on how you can make it happen.

Don’t say, “I can’t afford this.” Instead, say, “how can I afford this?” Dream the dream and not live in a nightmare by planning a weekend escape.

There you have it — stress and anxiety-reducing hacks to get those feel-good vibes going. While the everyday stressors of life can be frightening, you have the ability to change your reality any moment you choose to. 

Stress and anxiety are only a lack of control of your future, so the sooner you focus on the present moment, the quicker you reclaim your sense of calm and peace. In the meantime, use these techniques to slay away the inner demons for a healthier you.

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Eva Wexler is a writer who focuses on mental health, self-care, and health and wellness. For more of her mental health content, visit her author profile on The Mind's Journal.

This article was originally published at The Mind's Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.