5 Ways to Reduce Stress - Cannabotech CBD Oils & Products Articles

5 Ways to Reduce Stress

Joel Taylor - writer and editor for Cannabotech
By Joel Taylor
Kelli Harris
Edited by Kelli Harris

Updated April 14, 2023.

Young woman who is stressed out

The immediate psychological effects of stress on general wellbeing and mood are known to everyone. However, prolonged mental stress can be a catalyst in the progression of various other physical conditions, including heart disease, weakened immune response, arthritis, and skin conditions, to name a few.

Reducing stress is a vital aspect of improving the health of your entire body, but it can be challenging to know where to start. This article looks at the different types of stress, some lifestyle and supplementary changes to help you get through stressful times, and how to know if you should seek medical attention.

What Types of Stress Are There?

There are many different kinds of stress that an individual can experience. While psychological stress might not be the same as oxidative stress, studies have shown that prolonged psychological stress can lead to increased oxidative stress. As such, it can be assumed that, although the types of stress are different, they are, to some degree, connected. Thus, it stands to reason that management of one type of stress will, to some degree, reduce other types as well.

Almost every institution defines the types of stress differently, but they can all be classed into 2 main categories: physical and mental. These can be further subdivided into 3 degrees of severity:

  1. Acute stress Your immediate reaction to a challenging situation, such as skydiving or even jump scares in a horror film. Generally speaking, this is nothing to worry about unless the event is severe, such as life-threatening situations that could trigger PTSD.
  2. Episodic acute stress Characterised by frequent exposure to acutely stressful responses. This is common in highly stressful lifestyles or career paths (think of a security guard) but can also indicate an anxiety disorder that might progress into something more severe.
  3. Chronic stress Characterised by frequent or prolonged exposure to highly stressful situations. Chronic stress is a serious condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Discussing ways to reduce every kind of stress in every severity would likely fill hundreds of pages with content, and so we will specifically be covering ways to reduce feelings of mental stress at the chronic and episodic acute stages.

5 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress at Home

The methods that we've gathered to reduce stress naturally involve no extra expenses and can be implemented immediately.

1. Meditate daily

There is extensive research on meditation and its effectiveness in reducing feelings of stress, relieving anxiety and depression, and helping individuals maintain their heightened wellbeing long-term.

There are many different meditation practices that all have slightly different benefits, but the simplest one to implement is the Buddhist practice known colloquially as mindfulness meditation. To perform the practice, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Focus your attention on your breath

Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn't about "thinking of nothing." Rather, it is the art of cultivating an awareness (or mindfulness) of your body and mind, understanding the patterns of your thoughts, and strengthening your prefrontal cortex by repeatedly drawing your attention back to your breath. All you need is 5-10 minutes a day initially, slowly increasing that over time.

2. Exercise regularly

Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and tension quickly. A simple 15-20 minute aerobic routine, or even yoga, is a great way to focus your frustration and tension on a single task and let your stress dissolve.

Exercise is reported to affect neurotransmitters in our brains called dopamine and serotonin. Although the science behind them is more complicated than a single sentence explanation, better regulation of serotonin and dopamine in the short term is associated with improvements in mood and thus a reduction in stress. The effects of exercise on these neurotransmitters is so powerful that research has suggested it can even reverse the damage caused by induced methamphetamine addiction.

Furthermore, focused exercise is another form of meditation that can reap many of the same benefits as mindfulness.

3. Socialise

Minor symptoms of stress can compound exponentially without much warning. It's common to want to shut yourself off from the world when you experience stressful or deeply upsetting situations without realising how you might be worsening the condition. Humans are social creatures that require interaction with other humans, lest our mental states begin to decline. In fact, research suggests that loneliness can lead to severe psychiatric and personality disorders.

4. Stay proactive

The same compounding effect is true for procrastination, for as the number of small tasks you need to complete increases, so too does the stress about not completing them. If you're ever feeling stressed about how much you have to do, pick something small, like making your bed, and let the feeling of achievement drive you to complete more complex tasks.

5. Control what goes into your body

Foods high in sugars and fats (like processed junk food) can increase levels of oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to several health problems that contribute to feelings of mental stress.

The same is true for excessive intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, which are known to promote feelings of stress accompanying withdrawal symptoms when individuals try to quit their addictions.

As such, it is clear that maintaining a healthy diet full of antioxidants will reduce stress hormones and the associated anxiety. Some foods that reduce oxidative stress include leafy greens, fish, nuts, soothing green tea, and much more.

Other Ways to Relieve Stress

If the methods listed above aren't working for you, there are some other things you can try, such as the following mood-boosting supplements:

  • Magnesium and calcium supplements Although more research is needed to understand exactly how these compounds improve your mood and reduce stress, some studies have shown links between calcium and magnesium deficiencies and impaired dopamine systems.
  • Vitamin D A simple vitamin that can be obtained from exposure to direct sunlight or artificial supplements, research suggests that vitamin D can increase dopamine levels and help balance mood.

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When Should You See a Doctor for Stress Problems?

Although there is no clear-cut answer for this question, it stands to reason that if your stress levels interfere with your daily functioning and natural mood-boosting techniques aren't working fast enough, you may be suffering from chronic stress that could progress to something more dangerous. The various stress management techniques discussed above are scientifically proven to boost your mood, but some individuals are unfortunate enough to suffer from more severe conditions that aren't quite manageable without expert intervention.