Claiming that modern life is hectic is an understatement. The urge to do more, the daily agenda always fully booked, the need to be always connected and an ineffective approach to managing stress can lead to serious health issues. Some of the effects of stress include depression, addictions, and various disorders. The article 5 Natural Ways to Boost Your Mental Health During Stressful Times by Sandee LaMotte deals with how to cope with stress effectively. The author suggests several methods to release anxiety and depression naturally, providing accurate scientific evidence.
Published on CNN, the article offers an overview of various ways to cope with stress, starting with underlining the importance of exercising regularly. The author reports that the research has found that physical activity increases the blood circulation in the brain, stimulating the amygdala and the hippocampus, which control mood and response to stress (LaMotte, 2020, par. 3). However, high exercise loads can be counterproductive and lead to inflammation and stress. On the contrary, rhythmic movements such as walking, swimming, and running are efficacious as they boost blood circulation into the main muscular groups.
Then, the author focuses on the importance of adopting a series of habits to improve life quality, especially concerning sleep. For example, keeping the sleeping room at a temperature between 60 and 67 °F increases the restorative qualities of the rest (LaMotte, 2020). The article also suggests avoiding nicotine and stimulants in the afternoon and developing routines to relax, including taking a warm bath, switching off the smartphones, listening to some music, or reading a book. LaMotte (2020) then explores the benefits of depth breathing as an extraordinary way to counter stress. Researches have shown that respiration techniques help realign the sympathetic and the parasympathetic systems, simply by tuning the brainwaves (LaMotte, 2020, par. 17).
Deep breathing contributes to building and supporting cardiac coherence, a state of equilibrium where individuals can control emotions, traumas, and stress.
Along with breathing techniques, oriental practices, such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, can be helpful tools in coping with stress. The article covers the main characteristics of these three oriental disciplines. Yoga is a philosophical system aimed at developing the connection between body and spirit. It teaches that improving physical capabilities boosts the spiritual growth of practitioners (LaMotte, 2020, par. 24). While it entails physical exercising through a series of postures, it includes breathing techniques and meditation. Tai chi and qi gong, two traditional Chinese practices, reduce stress through low-impact physical exercises combined in harmonious sequences of movements. They increase alpha, beta, and theta brain waves, and, in the long run, they can improve breathing, coordination, mental focus, and reduce the level of stress. Finally, the article explains how meditation and mindfulness reduce stress changing the structure of the brain. In just two weeks, practicing meditation makes appreciable changes in the brain (LaMotte, 2020, par. 31). Cultivating appreciation through mindfulness exercises increases optimism, nurtures the spirit, and brings physical and psychological benefits.
Summing up, the article by LaMotte describes natural ways to reduce stress. The author provides links to the researches that back the discoveries, indeed adding authoritativeness to the writing. Physical exercise, deep breathing, oriental disciplines, and meditation are healthy practices that help reduce stress and improve life quality. Notably, regular practice of these activities is likely to impact the lives of individuals at a deep level, changing the overall attitude towards life in a way that stress will no longer be a weighty issue.
LaMotte, S. (2020). 5 natural ways to boost your mental health during stressful times. CNN. Web.