Whether we like it or not, with life comes problems. Even when we start our days with a positive attitude and the greatest intentions, that cup of Starbucks coffee in your car still manages to spill and make a mess. Yikes! While our first instinct of reacting to this type of problem is to curse and yell, I’m here to tell you that taking a few deep breaths is a much better choice. Why? Simply because breathing deeply would signal your body to calm itself while screaming would induce stress. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “So what? I wouldn’t be angry if this *&#$ didn’t happen in the first place!” But I’ll have you know that constantly allowing yourself to be stressed or exposing yourself to stressful situations can eventually have a bigger impact on your life than you could’ve ever imagined.
Let’s talk science– How does stress affect the human brain?
Stress is actually a survival mechanism designed to help us control threatening situations. Even though our brains have grown bigger and more complex through evolution, the concept of stress remains familiar because it is essentially our coping apparatus. Too much stress, however, causes the connectivity between our hippocampus and prefrontal cortex to deteriorate. To put simply: our brain gets so accustomed to stress that it is no longer able to moderate our responses in an appropriate way. As a result, we have a much bigger reaction to everything around us and we lose to ability to control our emotions. When our anxiety levels are high, we encounter bigger issues such as trouble staying focused and lacking concentration.
So how can you reduce stress levels effectively?
So doing 15 minutes of yoga and taking longer showers didn’t really help. Well, we wouldn’t blame you! There are many more options of reducing stress that have been backed up by science itself. Here’s a list of 5 tips that have been proven effective and may actually help you achieve those productive, stressless days you’ve been dreaming of:
1. Use nootropics!
- What better way to get rid of stress than by eating your way through it? If you’re looking for a nootopic to reduce anxiety levels (and thus increase focus), then you want to look for compounds with anxiolytic properties. An example of one that you can find in your cupboard right now is green tea! Ever wondered why they also serve a cup of this wonder-herb after a spa session? Green tea promotes alpha waves in the brain, which are linked to relaxation. Another option is Bacopa Leaf Powder, which gives you relaxation without the sedation. This incredible plant works with our dopamine and serotonergic systems, which promotes improved mood and increased motivation. If you’re interested in stacking your nootropics and getting the most high quality formulas, then check out some of the most esteemed supplements available in the market, such as Nitrovit.
2. Sleep your stress away and invest in a dream pillow!
- Making your own dream pillow can induce healing dreams and leave you feeling fresher than ever in the morning. You can buy one of these cuddly buddy for as low as $9 online. If for some reason you’re under a budget and would prefer making your own, then you’re in luck because it’s super simple to create one. To make your dream pillow, get two pieces of rectangle-shaped cotton fabric and sow three sides together. Then stuff your pillow with an herbal mix (including chamomile, mugwort, rosemary, lavender and more!). Voila!
3. Kiss someone
- Kissing releases dopamine – the “feel good” neurotransmitters in our brain and eases the production of cortisol – the “stress” hormone. Cheeky!
4. Chill with your pet
- Numerous studies have shown that dog and cat owners are less stressed out because of their pals! Pet owners feel more loved and they have lowered levels of cortisol, which in turn reduces anxiety levels.
- Exercising stimulates the production of endorphins, which help us feel happier, more motivated and less stressed! Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can help foster relaxation.