Here is how to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally in 5 Easy Steps?
Why is stress caused?
Stress is caused by our expectations, we want something and something else happens. We all stress at some point of time but excess stress leads to depression. Stress and depression is the main cause of all diseases. We are so used to make stress a part of our everyday routine that we don’t even realize how much stress we take daily. I realized that I was a lot stressed out than I knew when it impacted my sleep. I only slept 3 hours most days or other times I did not sleep at all for 2 nights straight! This became everyday routine and I noticed as the evening approached my mood changed because I was afraid to go to bed and not get sleep. Lack of sleep affected everything in my life, my relationship, my work and my health (I came across mood swings and thyroid). After discontinuing yoga for 3 years (as I was lazy and sometimes had no time), I returned to yoga as the only solution to seek inner peace and I am glad I did. In 2 weeks only, my sleep improved, I slept longer and was more relaxed.
To cure anxiety and stress, we need to be aware that we are stressed out.
Most common signs to recognize Stress and Anxiety
- Frequent headaches
- Muscle and body aches
- Upset stomach
- rapid heart beat
- Change in appetite
- Sweating in hands and feet
- Loss of confidence
- Perplexed mind
- Lack of sexual interest
- Addictions to alcohol or drugs
After learning we are stressed out, we need to learn how to reduce stress and anxiety naturally? Of course at some point of time in our lives we all have been stressed, but the question is how to control stress?
Yoga- the only long-term solution to stress
We all have our short term ways to reduce stress for example if you love shopping then that may help you to relieve stress or if you love music then you might feel happy listening to music. However these are temporary solutions, which will divert your mind for that moment but will not cure your stress.
Yoga is the only permanent long-term solution to Stress Management as it calms your brain and provides peace of mind. Are you willing to transform your stress into positive energy? Then lets start with yoga today. You don’t need any special yoga classes or yoga pants and a fancy yoga mat, all you need is the will power to transform yourself. Are you ready for that transformation? Yes, right?
Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress
Benefits of Stick Pose/ Wind-Releasing Pose (Yastikasana/ Pavana Muktasana)
- It aids in digestion and cures upset stomach and gas problems
- It gently massages the intestines and internal organs of the abdomen.
- It strengthens and tones the legs, thighs and hips areas by promoting blood circulation to these areas
Steps for Stick Pose/ Wind-Releasing Pose (Yastikasana/ Pavana Muktasana)
- Lay straight on your back exhale while placing your arms straight overhead, the back of the hands toward the floor above your head
- Keeping your shoulders relaxed stretch your hands, feet and back, as though lengthening your body. (Yastikasana/ Stick Pose)
- Inhale and bring your right knees towards your chest.
- Hold behind your knees with both hands towards with your toes facing the ceiling (Pavana Muktasana/ Wind-Releasing Pose)
- Exhale and return to the Yastikasana Pose/ Stick Pose
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 on left feet
Benefits of Child Pose (Balasana)
- This pose helps open the hips and eliminate or reduce any pain through the hips
- It gently stretches the spine and lower back and helps to get rid of back pain
- It aids with digestion as it gently massages the intestinal tract and inner organs
- It calms the mind and brain which is the reason its called child pose.
Steps for Child Pose (Balasana)
- Sit down on your heels with your big toes aligned together.
- Your knees should be wide apart.
- Reach out your arms on top of your head straight and inhale.
- Exhale and slowly reach your hands to the floor, with the support of your hands allow your body to bend down on the floor. (Hold your breath as long as you can)
- Keep your arms straight reaching out on the floor, with palms facing the floor.
- Inhale while placing your palms under your shoulders and slowly sit up straight.
- Continue doing this pose for 5 times
Cautions for Child Pose
- Avoid this pose if you have knee injury
- During pregnancy don’t press your belly on the thigh
Benefits of Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
- It reduces headaches, muscle pain and nervous tension.
- Eliminates stress and anxiety
- Increases memory power
- Increases self-confidence
- Lower blood pressure
- Increases body energy level
- Lie straight on your back with your arms placed along side of your body about 6 inches away from your body.
- The palms should be facing the ceiling/ sky and feet should be straight and spread apart
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply
- Feel your body heavy on the ground and feel every sensation in your body
- Feel every organ in your body from the feet all the way up to your head
- Invite peace of mind, body and soul by releasing all the tension and relax leave your body light
- Continue deep breathing and stay in this pose for 5 minutes
- Recover from the pose by returning to normal breath.
- Feel your arms and toes wiggling and bring your body back to awareness
- Feel as though you have a new body which is beautiful and free of every tension and acts like a new born
- Roll your body to the right side and raise slowly by inhaling
Caution for Corpse Pose
This yoga exercise is considered safe for everyone but one caution for pregnant women is that they keep their head and chest raised by supporting these parts with a pillow or cushion.
Benefits of Restorative Forward Bend
- Fosters a focused and sharp mind
- Prevents stress and mood swings
- Increases flexibility of the spine by increasing blood circulation towards the back
- Prevents osteoporosis
Steps for Restorative Forward Bend
- Sit up straight with your arms reaching out straight over your head and legs straight and lengthened as far as possible.
- For your comfort you can place a pillow or bolster on your shins.
- Make sure your shoulders are away from your ears and spine is straight
- Pull your lower belly in and exhale and bend by reaching your arms forward over your head and resting them on the exposed end of the pillow or bolster (if not using bolster then on the floor)
- Rest your forehead on your cushion or bolster (if not using bolster then on your feet).
- Feel your muscles stretched at the back and your feet and thighs relaxed
- Feel your forehead relaxed
- Keep deep breathing and hold this pose for 5 minutes
- With the support of your hands slowly sit up straight and inhale
- Caution for Restorative Forward Bend
- Pregnant women should avoid this pose
- Avoid this pose if you have back injury
- Avoid this pose if you have asthma or slipped disc
Benefits of the Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
- This posture is an excellent workout for the muscles of the back and hamstring.
- It cures insomnia, anxiety, headaches and stress because it enhances blood circulation to the brain.
- In addition to the above mentioned benefits, it improves digestion, thyroid condition, osteoporosis, menopause problems and strengthens and tones legs and buttocks.
Steps for Bridge pose
- Lay on your back while placing your arms along side of your body with palms facing the floor.
- Bend your knees by pointing them towards the ceiling while bringing your feet as close as possible to your butt.
- Hold on to your ankles with your hands.
- Lift your pelvic region upward from the ground while inhaling.
- Hold your pose and continue breathing deeply for as long as you are comfortable while feeling the sensations in your body
- Gently release your body back to the ground by exhaling
- Make sure every part of the spine rests on the ground
- Continue doing this pose for 3 times.
Caution for Bridge Pose
- Avoid rotating your head while performing the pose
- Skip the pose if you have any neck, shoulder, knee or back injury
- Watch this video for more yoga exercises on Stress and anxiety
Stress Buster foods
Have you noticed that people in the warmer countries or areas who are more exposed to sunlight are mostly happy? The reason is vitamin D, as they get Vitamin D naturally from the sun. But people like me who live in cold country need to make sure we consume Vitamin D through food. Here are the list of foods with Vitamin D that will create happy hormones.
- Sockeye Salmon
- Free range eggs
- Shiitake mushrooms
Foods with high Amino Acids can increase your happiness as well. These are
- Sesame Seeds
- Brown Rice
Also studies have shown that people who consumed fish are less likely to get depression than the people who don’t eat fish. The reason is omega 3 which is essential for the body and is not manufactured by the body itself hence it needs to be consumed as part of your diet.
Skip these foods to avoid stress
Cut down on carbs and sweets like ice-cream, chocolate, chip, cookies and other junk as they might make you happy at that moment but later on when they are processed by the body they make you more prone to depression. In addition to that, they are stored as fat and they increase your weight which will make you feel even worse.
However don’t completely cut down all of these but consider these foods as small treats after inducing all the healthy food in your diet. This way you are rewarding yourself after all your healthy meals.
Please feel free to leave your comments below, I will be happy to get back to you as soon as I can.