10 Ways to Lower Stress Without Medication

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How To Deal With Stress

I have a confession to make: I have a tendency to stress out. A lot. Sometimes it’s over common issues like money or time-consuming commitments. Other times it’s because it seems like every bit of our tiny space is covered with small building blocks with dangerous, jagged edges (also known as Legos).

Thankfully, I’ve learned several ways to lower stress naturally over the years and, when I remember to implement them, they work wonders for bringing my stress level down.

1. Breathe

When we get stressed, we tend to tighten up and stop breathing. I find myself holding my breath a lot when I’m stressed, which does nothing to help me feel better. When I notice I’m doing that, I intentionally stop what I’m doing and take several deep breaths – in through the nose and out through the mouth. I can feel myself calming down during this process.

2. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is known to have sedative effects on the body (one of its many uses) and is a helpful herb to use for stress, depression and anxiety. My favorite way to take lemon balm is as a tea because it tastes delicious iced or hot and can be enjoyed throughout the day. Drinking a cup shortly before bedtime also aids with sleep.

Using a tea strainer or tea ball, steep 1 tsp of dried lemon balm leaves in 1 cup of hot water (boiling is preferred) for 5 minutes. Feel free to make a larger batch if you want to sip on it throughout the day. (Find organic lemon balm leaves here.)

*If you are pregnant, consult your healthcare provider before drinking lemon balm. Recommendations are mixed on whether it’s a good herb for pregnancy or not.

3. Frankincense

Frankincense essential oil is one of my new favorites, as it has so many uses. One use is for stress prevention and relief. For prevention, I rub a drop either on the bottom of each foot or behind my ears in the morning (based on what I feel like I need).

If I find myself stressed in the middle of the day because, say, I stepped on another Lego, I will put a drop of lavender and frankincense in the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and then cup them over my nose. I inhale deeply a few times and repeat every ten minutes if needed.

Find 100% pure frankincense essential oil here.

4. Lavender

Lavender essential oil is a calming oil. While I use it often before bed to help us calm down and get to sleep, I also use it to prevent and relieve stress. I usually layer it with frankincense in the mornings and use both like I mentioned above when I’m feeling stressed during the day.

I also like to diffuse lavender essential oil in our bus to promote calm, as my stress tends to stem from chaos.

Find 100% pure lavender essential oil here and diffusers for essential oils here.

5. Magnesium

Research suggests that there’s a link between magnesium deficiency and how your body reacts to stress. (source) One of my favorite ways to make sure I’m getting enough magnesium is by taking baths with Epsom salt (and lavender and frankincense essential oils). Ok, so I’ll take any excuse to take a bath, but I think it’s a really good one.

Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin (taking oral supplements may cause diarrhea), so magnesium-rich baths are great. Magnesium oil or lotion can also be applied throughout the day.

Find magnesium oil or magnesium lotion here.

6. Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help block chronic, stress-induced elevations of stress hormones in the body. (source) This is good news because acupuncture is a holistic, painless (most of the time, anyway) way to care for your body.

7. Simplify

I’m a huge fan of getting to the root of the problem to figure out how to fix it. Perhaps your stress is being caused by clutter – a cluttered home, schedule or mind. Maybe it’s time to downsize a bit and simplify.

What can you say no to that would relieve your stress? What could you sell or give away? Could you start a journal to get your racing thoughts out of your mind and onto a place where they don’t seem so burdensome?

8. Gratitude

Sometimes what we need most is an attitude shift. (I know I do.) One of the most helpful things I’ve done to prevent stress is cultivate an attitude of gratitude. And to be totally transparent is sometimes really hard.

If that’s the case, start with the small things, like air, water and shelter. Then move on to others like your family and friends. Keep going from there to the big things and the small things in your life that you’re grateful for. Try to make a habit of giving thanks throughout the day.

9. Massage

If you’re like me, you don’t need anyone to twist your arm to get a massage. But if you feel like you need a good reason, consider this one of them. Massage therapy is not only good for releasing tension and easing sore muscles; it’s also a great way to help you prevent and reduce stress.

10. Orange Essential Oil

Orange essential oil smells amazing and is a great essential oil to have on hand for your DIY projects. It’s also useful for reducing stress and anxiety. According to the Mayo Clinic, citrus essential oils are useful for curbing stress and anxiety, nausea, and aiding in digestion. (source) Diffuse essential oil in your home or inhale the oil deeply from the bottle.

Find 100% pure sweet orange essential oil here.

What are your favorite ways to lower stress naturally?


image by JE Theriot

About Nina Nelson

Nina is a writer, student midwife, and mama of four. She blogs regularly at Shalom Mama and loves helping others create wellness through simple living. Check out her website for more simple wellness tips.

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  1. cindy says

    Great ideas! But I didn’t see ‘dealing with the root cause’. Stress is the natural result of fear(s) not dealt with. We all have them, somewhere; but most of us either ignore them or try to deal with them on our own. For those of us that believe the Bible, we’d have to agree with Scripture that worry is just wrong: “Be anxious for nothing..” and “Roll your cares onto the Lord..” (don’t have my Bible available for references). These are not suggestions, these are “how to” directives from our heavenly Father. What we do with our fears is our choice, and simply erasing the symptoms, while ok for the short-term, is not healthy in the long run. May we deal with what deals with us!

    • Jeanne says

      A great addition to a wonderful post, Cindy! As a therapist in days past, I love DIY techniques to manage our stress and their core causes. After years of study and practice, the easiest and best way I’ve found to ferret out core causes for our stress is with UCSF’s School of Medicine “Emotional Brain Training”. Dr. Laurel Mellin has put everything together in an easy-to-use, in-the-moment method to both express the foundational feelings which perpetuate stress cycles and to create new positive wiring so that we may come from our best places and live the life God intended for us. <3

  2. Kyia W. says

    Another WONDERFUL post & right on time! It’s best to get this stress thing worked out before the new year really gets underway! I will definitely be trying out some of these methods & following Nina! Wishing you & all readers Love, Laughter & Peace in 2014 & beyond!

  3. Didi says

    Wonderful information to have!!!! Are the link the best priced oils you’ve found? I understand they’re pure so they can get pricey. My New Years resolution is to transfer to a completely organic lifestyle. I have my food, skin care, and hair care transferred but need to get off the medication. So it’s pricy for me because I’m gonna need to stock up on a bunch of different oils/herbs.

  4. Becki says

    I agree especially about the massage (I’m an Licensed massage therapist..lol) I recently started taking magnesium as well and it is amazing how much it helps. The magnesium spray didn’t really help a whole lot but when I take pills I can tell a huge difference. I don’t think I can put enough spray on! I am pretty sure I am super deficient. Great article. 🙂

  5. Hanita says

    Hello Matt and Betsy,

    Happy New DIYear!!

    I’ve been receiving your tips for about one year now and I LOVE it! It has helped me tremendously so often. So thanks very much.

    (the Netherlands)