With dental appointments, often comes stress and anxiety. When the author of this article approached me to collaborate on a “ways to relieve stress and anxiety article”, I knew it would be a perfect fit for my readers.
Here are 10 useful ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
10 Useful Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
1. Consider Supplements
Several supplements are used to reduce stress and anxiety. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:
- Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.
- Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it’s effective.
- Green tea: Green tea has many polyphenol antioxidants, which provide health benefits. It may help stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels.
- Valerian: Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquillizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters GABA receptors to lower anxiety.
- Kava-kava: Kava-kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family. It has long been used as a sedative in the South Pacific and is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat mild stress and anxiety
Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.
Bottom Line: Certain supplements can reduce stress and anxiety, including ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and lemon balm.
2. Light a Candle
Fragrance can be bothersome to some people with Migraine. If scents bother you, you might want to stay away from aromatherapy, just in case. Image:
Using essential oils or burning a scented candle may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety. Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:
- Roman chamomile.
- Orange or orange blossom.
Is Lavender Essential Oil the New Migraine Essential?
Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies show that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep.
Bottom Line: Aromatherapy can help lower anxiety and stress. Light a candle or use essential oils to benefit from calming scents.
3. Learn to Say No
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress.
One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Being selective about what you take on — and saying no to what will unnecessarily add to your load — can be a good start to controlling your stress levels.
Bottom Line: Try not to take on more than you can handle. Saying no is one way to control your stressors.
4. Learn to Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating. Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, meaning you’re scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleeps quality.
Get in the habit of making a to-do list that’s organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks (multi-tasking) can be stressful itself.
Bottom Line: Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
5. Take a Yoga Class
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups. While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind. Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have looked at yoga’s effect on mental health. Overall, they have found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety, However, many of these studies have been limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on the nervous system and stress response. It may help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate and increase gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that is lowered in mood disorders.
Bottom Line: Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.
A recent study in college students suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression
Bottom Line: Mindfulness practices can help lower symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Cuddling, kissing, hugging and close touch can all help relieve stress. Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.
Interestingly, humans aren’t the only ones who cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends who are stressed
Bottom Line: Positive touch from cuddling, hugging, kissing and touch may help lower stress by releasing oxytocin and lowering blood pressure.
8. Listen to Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too.
Audio Therapy for Migraines: Is It Music to Your Mind?
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Bottom Line: Listening to music you like can be a good way to relieve stress.
9. Deep Breathing
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience the physical symptoms of stress — your heart beats faster, you breathe quicker and your blood vessels constrict.
Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response. There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration.
The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This helps your heart rate slow down, allowing you to feel more peaceful.
Bottom Line: Deep breathing activates the relaxation response. Many methods can help you learn how to breathe deeply.
10. Spend Time with Your Pet
Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. According to one study, dog owners reported lower levels of stress than non-dog owners.
Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood.
Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety.
Article Courtesy: WhatsInMyBag
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.