Whether or not we want to admit it, our country is stressed out. With constant, up-to-date internet access and news coverage of all the natural disasters, acts of terrorism, school shootings, and general pessimism, we virtually live every conflict and its aftermath 24 hours a day. If this doesn’t cause stress and anxiety, nothing will. Fortunately, you have power over all this negativity. Try the following tips to relieve stress and alleviate anxiety and you’ll be well on your way to a calmer, healthier, and happier life.
Relieve Stress by Going on a Media Diet
Recently I made a conscious decision to relieve stress by excluding almost all conflict coverage from my life. I chose not to watch it on television, read about it in the newspaper, or listen to the endless radio dialog and debate. It’s easy. Whenever the coverage is dominated by belligerent reports, I just tune it out. People often ask me if I feel “out of the loop” on current events, but you know what? The important stuff always gets through. And I firmly believe that no one can take in all of this televised mayhem without being seriously affected.
We are drawn to reports of tragedy and disaster like moths to a flame. It takes discipline to go on a media diet. However, once you institute it, you will find that it will alleviate anxiety, allow you to sleep better, help you focus more easily, and make you feel less drained.
Getting Outside Will Relieve Stress Naturally
One of the best ways to relieve stress, anxiety, and mental exhaustion is to stop what you’re doing, go outside, and take a walk. The exercise helps, but there’s more to it. Getting outside in the larger environment forces you to get outside yourself. Indoors, everything can be very close, which causes introversion of thoughts and feelings. Our everyday language actually describes this condition: We feel “boxed in” or “trapped.”
However, if you simply walk outside and turn your attention to the clouds, planes, buildings, trees, cars, and other objects around you, the sense of being boxed in tends to vanish. It’s almost like flipping a switch in your brain, giving you a much lighter perspective and more energy. I have found this to be as good a stress and anxiety reducer as any I have ever come across.
Amino Acids Alleviate Anxiety
Another remedy to alleviate anxiety is L-theanine, an amino acid found almost exclusively in tea leaves. In fact, green tea—the most popular non-water beverage in the world—owes much of its prominence to this little-known amino acid.
Though green tea contains caffeine, it is widely known for its relaxing properties. This seeming contradiction is explained by green tea’s abundance of theanine, which works on two different fronts to promote relaxation. First, theanine increases alpha brain wave activity, producing a state of calm alertness. Several studies have shown that people who took 200 mg of theanine experienced significantly increased alpha activity within 30 to 40 minutes—without any drowsiness.
Second, theanine boosts levels of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that tones down the brain’s response to stressful situations. GABA—which is also available in supplement form and is an extremely effective way to alleviate anxiety—in turn boosts levels of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that soothe nerves and actually help create a sense of well-being. Theanine boasts even more claims to fame: improved concentration, immune system support, decreased blood pressure, and reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, to name just a few.
Relieve Stress With Adaptogens
Adaptogens are a group of medicinal plant compounds that help modify hormonal responses and protect your body from the negative impact of chronic stress. The best-known adaptogen is ginseng (Panax and Siberian), which has been shown to enhance the immune response, prevent free-radical damage, and increase resistance to stress, fatigue, and disease.
A lesser-known adaptogen is Rhodiola rosea. Rhodiola also reduces symptoms of stress-related fatigue and improves short-term memory and concentration. Animal studies suggest that rhodiola reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while maintaining healthy levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
Try These Old Standbys to Alleviate Anxiety
Finally, don’t forget the old standards. Exercise, prayer, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing have all been proven to relieve stress, alleviate anxiety, and consequently improve your overall health. And though it’s a bit cliché, laughter really is the best medicine. A good belly laugh or a funny movie can relax you and take your mind off whatever it is that’s troubling you.
Relieve Stress Naturally Recap
To help alleviate anxiety, drink a cup or two of green tea daily and take theanine supplements, 200-400 mg per day in divided doses. Theanine is nontoxic and will not cause drowsiness.
Try ginseng or rhodiola to boost your body’s defenses against stress-related problems. Dosages and potencies of ginseng vary, so look for a standardized extract and use as directed. Take 100-300 mg of a standardized extract of rhodiola per day as needed.
PharmaGABA, the most easily absorbed form of gamma-aminobutyric acid (which acts as an inhibitory or calming neurotransmitter in the brain), is a godsend for stress and anxiety sufferers. The suggested dose is 100 mg, one to three times per day.
Look for these supplements online, in health food stores, or order by calling 800-810-6655.
The Whitaker Brain Recovery Program has helped countless patients alleviate anxiety and relieve stress naturally. To learn more, call (866) 632-8890.