Health: Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress

Kata Kata

Admin | Posted On : 29-12-2023

The physical and psychological response to a demand or difficulty is frequently referred to as stress. It is the body's natural reaction to any demand or threat. When confronted with a challenge, a person's body responds with a fast sequence of physiological and hormonal changes, activating the "fight-or-flight" reaction. This survival mechanism allows an individual to react swiftly in frightening situations.

The science of stress is founded on homeostasis, which refers to the body's internal environment maintaining a steady, continuous state. When exposed to a stressor, the body attempts to restore homeostasis through a complicated adaptive response. The hypothalamus, a little area near the base of the brain, causes the adrenal glands to release a flood of chemicals like adrenaline.


Blood pressure, heart rate, and energy supply are all raised by adrenaline.

In contrast, cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream and improves the brain's use of glucose while suppressing functions that would be unnecessary or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. Cortisol changes immune system responses and inhibits the digestive, reproductive, and growth systems.

While acute stressors (short-term obstacles) might inspire an individual to perform effectively, prolonged stress can be harmful. Chronic stress occurs when a person is subjected to constant pressures without reprieve or relaxation. The stress can impair immunity, raise the chance of developing chronic diseases, and exacerbate mental health issues like depression or anxiety.


Work-related concerns are a significant source of stress. Due to tight deadlines, high-performance expectations, job uncertainty, and long working hours, a large section of the workforce is stressed. According to the American Institute of Stress, over 40% of workers say their jobs are stressful. A lack of control over work settings and an insufficient work-life balance lead to occupational stress.


It doesn't help that our lives revolve around finance, giving financial issues significant influence on stress. Financial stress may generate a pervasive sense of anxiety that impacts an individual's general quality of life, whether it is due to debt, insufficient income, or unanticipated spending. According to the American Psychological Association's 2019 Stress in America study, Sixty per cent of Americans report feeling anxious about money.



Interpersonal connections may significantly increase stress. Long-term stress can result from disagreements with spouses, family members, or friends, particularly if unresolved.

 Divorce, the death of a loved one, or social isolation can exacerbate these symptoms, as social support is essential in coping with stress.

Health issues, both personal and familial, can also be a source of substantial stress. Dealing with chronic sickness, disability, or the emotional and physical demands of being a caregiver may be tremendously draining. Uncertainty and concern about health consequences can lead to chronic stress, affecting other aspects of life.

Aside from these factors, life events such as relocation, job changes, or the birth of a child can all contribute to stress. Although these occurrences might be good, the adapting required can be stressful. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, which assesses various life events regarding their stress-inducing potential, sheds light on how such changes might affect stress levels.


Recognizing stress symptoms is critical for controlling its effects and preserving general well-being.

Physical Symptoms

Stress causes a variety of physical symptoms. Individuals may have headaches, muscular strain or stiffness, particularly in the shoulders and neck, and exhaustion due to the body's constant state of attention. Stress can also alter sleep patterns, resulting in insomnia or disturbed sleep. Alterations in eating habits, such as binge eating or decreasing appetite, are also typical. 

Furthermore, stress can cause cardiovascular reactions such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can contribute to long-term cardiac problems. Stress can cause gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomach, indigestion, or nausea.

Psychological Symptoms:

Stress can cause emotions of anxiety and restlessness. People frequently express trouble relaxing and experiencing extreme irritation or rage. Stress can also lead to sorrow or depression, lowering a person's general happiness with life, which may reduce concentration and make decision-making more complex, affecting personal and professional life. Persistent stress can cause a loss of confidence and self-esteem.

Behavioural Symptoms: 

An individual's behaviour can reveal a lot about their stress level. Changes in social disengagement, less frequent exercise, and procrastination are all indicators. Substance misuse, such as increased alcohol consumption, smoking, or the use of drugs as coping techniques, may also be involved in behavioural changes. These procedures may bring temporary respite, but they frequently lead to further difficulties and causes of stress.

Fortunately, people may use several natural strategies to control and lower stress levels. These methods produce relaxation, emotional relief, and a sense of well-being without synthetic medications.

A. Physical activity:

Physical activity is one natural technique to manage stress. Regular physical exercise boosts the synthesis of endorphins in the brain, which work as natural pain relievers and mood lifters. The Journal of the American Medical Association found a systematic evaluation and meta-analysis by Schuch et al. (2018) that found a link between depression risk and physical activity. Simple hobbies such as walking, cycling, or yoga might assist in relieving tension.

B. Mindfulness and meditation:

Mindfulness and meditation are also effective stress-reduction techniques. Mindfulness practice entails being present and engaged in the moment without judgment. Meditation frequently incorporates deep breathing and awareness to assist in cleansing the mind and generate a mood of tranquillity. Programs for mindfulness meditation reduced pain, suffering, and anxiety, according to a meta-analysis of 47 trials (Goyal et al., 2014). One may perform these techniques independently and do not require any specialist equipment, making them accessible to most individuals.

C. Diet:

Diet can also help with stress management. According to nutritional psychiatry studies, a diet high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can improve brain function and resilience to stress. It has been demonstrated that some foods, such as leafy greens, fatty salmon, nuts, and seeds, enhance mood and mental health. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids reduce clinical anxiety symptoms (Su et al., 2018).

D. Good night's sleep: 

A good night's sleep is essential for stress relief. The body and brain repair and rebuild itself with the aid of sleep. Lack of sleep can exacerbate stress, anger, and anxiety. Implementing appropriate sleep hygiene habits, such as sticking to a regular sleep schedule, developing a calming bedtime ritual, and limiting screen time before bedtime, may significantly improve sleep quality and, as a result, reduce stress.

E. Social support.

Another natural stress reducer is social support. Building and sustaining supportive relationships with family, friends, and community members may provide emotional support, assist in putting difficulties into context and provide practical answers to stressful circumstances. Social ties also give a sense of belonging and purpose, which can act as a buffer against daily pressures.


Stress is part of life, and we can not avoid it, but we can reduce it significantly through our choices - the best being a holistic approach. From engaging in regular exercise, Mindfulness and meditation, a balanced diet, appropriate sleep, and strong social relationships, each method provides a comprehensive approach to well-being that affects not just stress levels but also general health and lifespan.