Top 5 All-Natural Remedies for Stress

Stress is defined as “a feeling of emotional or physical tension,” and is the one of the leading causes of mental health issues. By learning to manage our stress, we’re able to better direct our emotional wellness.

Typically, stress and mental health are treated with medication and therapy. While these have shown to be very effective for many, they still come with risks and side effects. Particularly, medication which can sometimes worsen mental wellbeing.

With that, many are turning to all-natural remedies for stress. While these remedies aren’t perfect and often work better alongside traditional treatment methods, research has proven they’re useful tools.

Throughout this article, we’re going to explore stress, how it affects the body, and what natural remedies are best for managing it.

How Stress Works in the Mind and Body

Stress is a natural reaction our brains and bodies have in response to threatening stimuli and events. How we feel stress varies from person to person - with some experiencing more than others. These variations in stress are determined by a number of different factors, from genetics, life experiences, our diets, and personality.

Typically, stress is divided into three categories:

  • Positive - Stress that enables an individual to perform better.

  • Tolerable - A serious, but temporary response to stress that’s usually brought on by certain experiences.

  • Toxic - A prolonged stress response that’s not identifiable from any experience.

  • When we come face-to-face with stress, our body has two natural reactions: fight or flight. We either engage with the stress or run away from it.

    Why Do We Experience Stress?

    Research has found that there are two hormones primarily responsible for stress: adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline gets the muscles ready for exertion whereas cortisol helps to regulate bodily functions. In some cases, stress may become so intense that we lose control of our brains and bodies and, in turn, freeze.

    Due to these hormone activations, our bodies naturally experience:

    • A rise in blood pressure
    • Easier blood clots
    • Increased heart rate
    • Problems with the digestive system (slow down or stop)

    Stress used to be extremely important for our survival. When we were still hunters and gathers and came face-to-face with a predator, our brains and bodies would become stressed in order to help us escape. The hormone activation (and our body’s response to that) would give us more energy and make our odds at survival much more likely.

    Unfortunately, while this stress response isn’t as required in modern society, it’s still within our instincts to experience. Due to this, many struggle with stress in situations where it’s unnecessary. If left untreated, it holds the potential to spiral out of control and lead to a number of mental and physical conditions, including:

    • Addiction
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension
    • Poorly functioning immune system
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Stroke
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Suicidal ideation

    For these reasons, it’s extremely vital to treat stress as soon as possible.

    Top 5 All-Natural Remedies for Stress

    While traditional treatment methods for stress can be effective, they aren’t always an ideal option. Certain medications can come with a number of side effects that may even cause further stress. Not to mention, sometimes traditional treatment just isn’t enough for some individuals.

    With that, many are looking towards all-natural remedies. We’ve developed a list of the 5 best all-natural remedies for stress with some tips and advice along the way. If you plan on incorporating any of these remedies into your day-to-day life, we highly recommend consulting a doctor prior.

    1.) Aromatherapy

    Aromatherapy is when certain plant oils are used to create smells that may be able to decrease stress and anxiety. Some have found that certain plants are better than others - so, we highly consider experimenting around.

    While there isn’t much research on aromatherapy for stress, some have found a number of benefits. These include:

    • In preliminary research published by Scientia Pharaceutica, aromatherapy was found to alter brain waves and behavior in a manner that could decrease stress.

    • A 2016 study found that aromatherapy may be able to reduce the perception of stress. With a lack of perception, our body naturally creates less cortisol.

    • A 2018 study discovered that an aromatherapy massage may help to decrease certain illnesses caused by stress, such as anxiety and depression.

    • In a 2016 controlled trial, it was found that massages that incorporate controlled therapy are much more effective at reducing fatigue than massages alone.

    In a 2012 study, aromatherapy with lavender was found to be very effective for those struggling with insomnia. The study indicates that lavender was able to reduce certain symptoms of stress, such as an increased heart rate and sleep difficulties.

    2.) Meditation

    If stress is causing you to have racing thoughts, you may be able to manage these specifically through meditation. Meditation is the practice of mindfulness through breathing exercises, encouragement of a heightened state of awareness, and focused attention.

    While meditation isn’t the easiest to perform for newcomers, stress relief may be accomplished through consistent practice. In order to achieve meditation, you’ll want to practice the following steps:

  • Get Into a Comfortable Position - While most sit crossed-legged on a cushion, you’ll want to ensure a posture that will help you stay awake and keep your back straight.

  • Close Your Eyes and Relax - Once you’re comfortable, you’ll want to start relaxing your mind and body. Some people stare into the distance with a soft gaze while others pay attention to little aspects of their body (such as the way their hair feels against their skin). Regardless of your strategy, you’ll want to take deep breaths and get your mind and body relaxed.

  • Stay in the Moment - The primary purpose of meditation is to make you one with the moment. It’s likely you’ll experience a number of uncontrollable thoughts, but it’s not in your interest to necessarily ignore them. Rather, you’ll want to keep them into consideration but consistently bring yourself back to the moment.

  • This is the basics to meditation. There are a number of other ways to practice meditation - such as yoga - that you may find more effective.

    Unfortunately, research on meditation and stress is somewhat lacking. However, a 2010 meta-analytic review found that it can be an effective strategy for those struggling with mood disorders and mental illnesses, such as anxiety.

    3.) Exercise

    If you find that stress gives you a lot of anxious energy, you may want to consider exercise. Beyond the fact that you’ll be tiring yourself out, exercise also releases endorphins in your brain. These are feel-good neurotransmitters that help to suppress a number of negative feelings, including stress.

    Not to mention, there has been some research indicating exercise’s stress-reducing abilities:

    • In a 2015 review, exercise was found to have a significant impact in treating anxiety. However, the review did warn that more research was necessary before coming to any conclusions.

    • In a 2016 study, it was found that exercise might help anxiety that’s directly caused by stress. For example, exercise may be able to reduce anxiety in those trying to quit smoking.

    Beyond this, stress is simply really good for our physical health. And when our bodies are feeling better, it’s only natural our brains will too.

    It’s important to note that exercise is most consistent when regularly practiced.

    4.) Herbal Supplements

    One of the most popular methods of reducing stress is by taking specific vitamins and herbal stress. Research shows that when our bodies lack certain vitamins, it may cause stress or inhibit our ability to manage stress.

    Currently, some of the most popular vitamins and supplements for anxiety stress include:

  • L-theanine - An amino acid in green tea that can have a relaxing effect on the body. In a 2019 study, a daily dose of 200mg of L-theanine was found to reduce a number of stress-related problems, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

  • B Complex Vitamins - Some research suggests that those with stress are lacking in B vitamins. While you can garner these vitamins through foods like grain, meats, legumes, dairy products, and leafy greens, it may be in your interest to take a vitamin supplement.

  • Melatonin - If you struggle with sleep due to stress, this natural hormone made in the pineal gland can help to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. A 2015 review discovered that melatonin helped 770 people struggling with sleep due to anxiety.

  • Kava - While research is limited, some have found that the kava plant may be able to reduce anxiety. However, it should be noted that kava can be toxic to the liver and should not be taken frequently over a long period of time.

  • Magnesium - This mineral is responsible for a number of processes throughout the body, including the functioning of nerves and muscles. A 2017 review found that magnesium holds the potential to reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Rhodiola - Has been used as a stress remedy for centuries. While research is limited, a 2018 review saw Rhodiola rosea extract had a lot of potential to reduce symptoms of chronic stress.

  • Keep in mind, this is just a selection of vitamins and herbal supplements that may help with stress. We highly recommend doing your own research as we guarantee you may come across others you prefer.

    5.) CBD Oil

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is a new and popular way to combat stress. Extracted from cannabis (or the marijuana plant), CBD is a phytocannabinoid that may help to bring our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) into a state of homeostasis. Unlike fellow cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause psychoactivity - in other words, it doesn’t get you high.

    While research is still in its early stages, CBD has been found to potentially help treat a number of health conditions, including stress. Research into CBD for anxiety and stress include:

    • In a 2010 study, it was found that CBD had helped people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Beyond relieving anxiety, CBD was also able to change the brain’s blood flow patterns in regions associated with anxiety and stress.

    • In a separate 2011 study, CBD was also found to reduce symptoms of SAD that were induced by public speaking.

    • A 2014 research study discovered that CBD had both anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. However, this study was performed on animal subjects rather than humans.

    • A 2015 analysis revealed that when CBD is continuously taken, it can reduce stress and a variety of anxiety disorders, including SAD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

    While CBD oil is the preferred method of consumption, you can take it in a variety of other ways - from edibles to topicals. However, those with anxiety may find that vaping CBD or smoking hemp flower is ideal as it provides you with the most immediate effects.

    Final Word

    Beyond the suggestions here, there are other natural ways to reduce stress. These include:

    • Emotional support animal
    • Herbal teas
    • Relaxation exercises
    • Time management strategies
    • Writing down your stressors

    It’s likely you’ll need to experiment around with different remedies in order to see what works for you. However, we guarantee that incorporating at least one of these remedies into your life will reveal a difference.

    If you’re not sure where to start, we highly recommend speaking to a doctor about your stress and how you’d like to relieve it. If you plan on taking any natural supplements, it’s very important to speak to a medical professional as some may have negative interactions with other medications.

    Written by: Paul James