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Originally published April 22 2010

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety Naturally

by Fleur Hupston

(NaturalNews) Stress is the body's way of dealing with potentially dangerous situations, heightening adrenaline levels and increasing alertness. However, prolonged stress and anxiety can be detrimental to mental and physical health. Understanding stress and anxiety and how to deal with it in a natural way can help to eliminate some of the harmful effects stress has on the body.

Short term stress is normal and contributes to winning the race, studying for an exam, preparing well for a presentation at work or doing well at a job interview. Unfortunately, people these days rush through life at a frenetic pace, cramming more and more into their busy schedules. Many experience more stress every day than their bodies are designed to cope with. Just getting to work during rush hour traffic can be a very stressful experience for a lot of people.

Chronic Stress and Anxiety

Generally stress is the physical reaction to a current situation, while anxiety is the stress experienced due to an event or situation anticipated in the future.

When stress becomes prolonged, it is considered to be chronic. It can affect health, moods, productivity, relationships and quality of life. It is this type of prolonged stress that needs to be managed.

What are Some of the Causes of Stress?

There are a number of major contributors of stress and anxiety. The death of a spouse, divorce, marriage separation, a jail term, the death of a close relative, injury or illness, marriage, being fired from a job, marriage reconciliation and retirement are considered to be among the leading causes of chronic stress.

Effects of Chronic Stress

Many health conditions and problems have been directly linked to chronic stress and anxiety. Some of these effects include obesity, autoimmune diseases, skin conditions such as eczema, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep problems and even general body pain.

How to Reduce and Manage Stress Naturally

Stress is a part of life for most people and cannot be eliminated completely, but it can be managed by a number of natural methods. Some of these natural ways of controlling stress include:

Exercise - exercise will improve overall health and give one a sense of well being by the release of endorphins, thus boosting confidence and lowering stress levels. Regular exercise can also decrease the production of stress hormones and therefore help to better manage stressful situations. Reducing stress through exercise can give one a sense of well being and confidence. The more stress is reduced; the easier it becomes to cope with and eliminate stress.

Relaxation - learning relaxation techniques will help to relax both mind and body, which is essential in the quest for better stress management. Relaxation can lower heart rate and blood pressure and increase blood flow to organs and muscles, allowing an individual to feel more in control of a situation. A visit to a professional to learn relaxation techniques may be necessary, since relaxing can be surprisingly difficult for someone who is always tense and stressed.

Exercise and relaxation should be a regular feature of a busy life. People complain that they just don't have time to go to the gym to exercise or the time to find a quite place in order to relax. What they fail to grasp is that people who exercise and relax are less stressed and probably more productive in the long run. Most companies give their staff a lunch break - use it, not to work, but to exercise and relax.

About the author

Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.

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