There’s a tendency to think of stress and anxiety as strictly mental phenomena, disconnected from our physical selves, and occurring only in the mind. The fact of the matter, though, is that stress and anxiety can be a result of taking poor care of ourselves physically, and stress and anxiety can also take their own physical toll on the body over time.
Physical expressions and symptoms of stress and anxiety often include:
A lot of content in the world of health and self-improvement revolves around the idea that the only way to deal with stress and anxiety is to make massive personal changes, or to seek out pharmaceuticals with tons of side effects.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In this article, I’ll discuss simple lifestyle habits you can start implementing and seeing results with right away. A key thing to pay attention to here, is that many of the most effective strategies for combating stress and anxiety are actually completely free and take very little time.
The following tips will not only help you minimize stress in your daily life, but also help you identify underlying sources of stress and anxiety that you might not even be aware of. Lastly, I’ll also talk about my favorite natural herbal formulas for minimizing stress and anxiety.
For a bang-for-your-buck, simple way to deal with stress, it may surprise you that few things are more effective than walking. Walking has been shown to reduce tension and anxiety, while providing a myriad of other health benefits. Studies have shown that simply “walking through green spaces” can help put your brain into a meditative state. The magic of walking is that it allows for something called “involuntary attention,” which is holding your attention while also allowing for reflection.
Walks boost energy, reduce fatigue, and cause a release of endorphins that can reduce stress-hormones and depression while also boosting mood and self-esteem. The simple act of spending time outdoors has been shown to reduce stress. For even more benefits, take a walk with friends or family. The additional social support and interaction is another potent way to alleviate stress.
I mentioned above that stress can cause sleeping difficulties, but it’s also the case that unhealthy sleep plays a big role in worsening any pre-existing stress, leading to a negative cycle in which your stress and sleep continue to worsen. This is why it’s so important to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is key for setting your body’s circadian rhythm, and ensuring you feel calm, balanced, and rested for your next day.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a hoth bath or shower shortly before you go to bed. You can also try burning Agarwood or Sandalwood Incense or diffusing essential oils, as well as minimizing your use of electronics and exposure to blue light. Try to sleep for at least 7 or 8 hours and try your best to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day.
Minimizing Electronics and Over-Stimulation
I just mentioned how using electronics shortly before bed can interfere with your sleep, causing feelings of stress and anxiety the next day. But electronics and screen time can also increase your feelings of stress in general. Growing bodies of evidence continue to link electronic screen media to physical stress markers. More hours of screen time are also associated with lower feelings of well-being.
Rather than the “involuntary attention” that walking induces, screen time tends to induce an over-stimulated, divided attention, and this fragmented mental state lends itself to stress and anxiety. Try eliminating screen time for an hour at a time to start, replacing it with books, walks, or baths, or listening to music or podcasts without simultaneously looking at a screen.
Developing a Skill or Practice - Deep Work
Another simple way to relieve stress or anxiety is to build a strong internal sense of control and individual agency. One way to do this is by practicing a skill or habit consistently over time. This skill or habit can be anything - but try to choose something you have an underlying interest in or natural attraction toward, whether it’s writing, playing an instrument, photography, gardening, etc.
Not only does cultivating a skill or practice build your sense of control and agency, it will likely calm your anxiety in another way: by focusing your attention upon a single point or goal (the practice/skill itself). This is important because a lot of anxiety in the modern world is rooted in “information overload,” in being overstimulated and dividing your attention and concentration across a multitude of things.
Cal Newport’s book Deep Work chronicles how detrimental this modern phenomenon is. Most of the great accomplishments of the past were achieved by individuals honing a ‘deep’ skill over time, in an undistracted state. In our own time, we see that the opposite behavior and approach to spending time is encouraged, resulting in those people we all know, who somehow browse instagram, take pictures, watch television, and eat their dinner at the same time.
By turning your attention away from shallow stimuli and toward an activity that is inherently deep and fulfilling, you minimize information overload, build control and agency, and in doing so help relieve stress and anxiety - and you’ll be building a valuable skill all along the way!
The benefits of journaling have a surprising amount of scientific support behind them. But it makes sense if you think about it - reflecting on your life in writing is sure to bring a lot of unconscious things to the surface.
Journaling allows you to put whatever you’re going through into words, and thus helps you look at your life in a deep and engaging way, rather than escaping from stress and anxiety into shallow distractions.
Multiple scientific studies have shown the benefits of both gratitude journaling and reflective journaling. One study found that “participants who wrote guided or non-guided reflective journals thought the journals decreased their anxiety.” Another study showed that “journaling and written emotional expression is effective on anxiety and stress scores in patients... as this technique can promote wellbeing.”
Try keeping a gratitude journal or reflective journal and see the effects for yourself!
Potent Herbal Formulas for Stress and Anxiety
After making use of the strategies detailed above, your best bet to further eliminate stress and anxiety is to use an all natural, high potency herbal formula. When taken regularly for long periods of time, quality herbs help to balance and support the body, and minimize your stress response.
This not only means less anxiety, but a host of other benefits, such as better immune defense, more energy, better digestion, improvements in cognition, and much more - all without the sketchy side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. My favorite herbal formula for reducing stress and anxiety is the following:
The Most Potent Formula for Stress and Anxiety - Agar35
Agar35 is a traditional tibetan herbal formula, sourced from herbs of the utmost quality and purity. These herbs are conscientiously, sustainably hand-harvested and gathered by well-paid, well-treated workers.
All the herbs which go into making Agar35 are organic and wild-crafted. They are made according to strict Buddhist principles and consecrated according to ancient, traditional methods.
Benefits of Agar35 Include:
In Tibet this potent herbal compound is used to aid with insomnia, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and back pain.
It is flexible in that it can be taken at any time, day or night, whenever you feel the need for stress or anxiety relief.
To find out what herbs are used in the formula, as well as how I recommend taking it, check out Agar35 in the Hyperion Herbs Store: