5 Natural, Research-Proven Ways to Beat Stress

5 Natural, Research-Proven Ways to Beat Stress

5 Natural, Research-Proven Ways to Beat Stress

Stress, just like the uninvited guest (or in this case, intruder) at a party, doesn't merely show up and leave after announcing itself, it hangs around long enough to ruin what was supposed to be a joyful environment. When our minds are clouded by stressful thoughts, we experience anxiety, the constant worry of what hasn’t even happened yet. Mark Twain summed this experience up perfectly, when he said; "I have been through some terrible things in my life. Some of which actually happened."

Imagine if every day your body thought it was running from a saber-toothed tiger. Welcome to modern stress, where your body can’t tell the difference between an angry boss and a carnivorous predator. Crazy but true, both scenarios pump powerful stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline through your veins, which was great for our ancestors thousands of years ago, but not so much when you’re just trying to navigate a traffic jam or meet a deadline.

So, what’s the big deal with stress? Well, chronic stress can make your DNA look older than it is[1]—think of it like not just adding candles to your birthday cake, but dousing the whole thing in lighter fluid! This accelerated aging, known as biological aging, isn't just about extra wrinkles before your time; it can lead to a slew of health issues, from heart disease[2] to decreased brain function[3].

But fear not! There are superhero strategies to combat stress that don’t involve living in a bubble or meditating on a mountaintop for the rest of your days. Here are my five natural, scientifically-backed, and not-so-boring ways to kick stress in its biochemical behind:

1) Change Your Mindset

Our brains can be quite melodramatic when under stress[4] — in other words, they love to create stories (who me!?). Changing your mindset isn't about ignoring reality but choosing a healthier narrative. Next time you’re stressed, instead of thinking “I’m doomed,” try thinking, “This is just an interesting challenge I’ll overcome.” It’s like telling your brain to switch from a horror movie to an adventure film, but always remember, you are the director in charge.

2) Exercise Stress Away

Ever feel like punching something (who said someone?) when you're stressed? Well, instead of a wall, how about a punching bag? Or if that’s too violent, a brisk walk or a dance party in your living room works too. Vigorous exercise helps metabolize excess stress hormones[5]—clearing your mind and calming your body. Think of it as physically shaking off your worries. But for your own sake, it’s best to exercise regularly instead of waiting till stress builds up.

3) Take Sleep Seriously

You know those people who brag about functioning on four hours of sleep? They’re not wizards; they’re warlocks casting spells on their health! Accumulated loss of sleep, otherwise known as “sleep debt” acts like a credit card for stress; it compounds interest and makes everything feel a lot worse. Loss of quality sleep can easily elevate stress hormones for many hours the following day[6]. Prioritizing sleep is like paying off this debt, reducing the oversensitivity to stress. Try going to bed earlier and at the same time each night and make sure to dim your lights two hours before bed.

4) Smile More

Yes, it sounds cheesy, but science backs it up! Smiling can trick your brain into happiness. When you smile, your brain releases dopamine[7], endorphins[8], and serotonin[9], which are like nature’s feel-good drugs. So even if you’re grinning through gritted teeth initially, your brain isn’t smart enough to tell the difference (speak for yourself!)—it just goes with the happy flow!

5) My 5 Stress-Busting Supplements

Mother Nature’s got a whole pharmacy in her back pocket, so why not take advantage of it? Here’s a rundown of my top 5 supplements to help reduce stress:

  1. Shilajit/Humic-Fulvic Acid Complexes: These ancient compounds contain 77 organically bound trace minerals, 17 amino acids and 9 vitamins that support the body's stress response system. Shilajit has been reported to modulate the response to chronic stress, potentially offering protection against its detrimental effects[10].
  2. Wholefood Derived Multi Vitamin-Minerals: Unlike synthetic versions, food-based nutrients are absorbed better[11] and help manage stress hormones while building resilience. Your body craves real nutrients in their natural forms in order to become resilient to stress, so stop trying to fool it with fake nutrients.
  3. Ashwagandha: This is one of the most powerful herbs for helping to modulate responses to stress[12] and reducing anxiety[13]. For greatest effects, make sure yours contains 10% of the active phytochemicals, withanolides.
  4. Panax Ginseng: Also known as Korean ginseng or Asian ginseng, Panax ginseng is well known for increasing energy[14] and reducing the negative effects of stress[15], it’s like a calm-inducing elixir that’s been used for centuries. For greatest effects, make sure yours contains 7% of the active phytochemicals, ginsenosides.
  5. Cordyceps Mushrooms: Besides boosting energy and stamina, these fungi help in balancing the stress response[16]. Aside from this, cordyceps has even been shown to enhance exercise tolerance[17], and possible help people suffering from major depression[18], which is often exacerbated during chronic stress.

Remember, stress might be as persistent as that one relative who never leaves parties on time, but with these strategies, you can send it packing before it crashes on your mental health couch for too long. Stay happy, stay healthy, and let’s not let stress steal the spotlight in our lives!



[1] Hara, M. R., et al. (2011). A stress response pathway regulates DNA damage through β2-adrenoreceptors and β-arrestin-1. Nature, 477(7364), 349-353. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10368

[2] Sunwoo, S., et al. (2019). Chronic and acute stress monitoring by electrophysiological signals from adrenal gland. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(4), 1146-1151. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1806392115

[3] Guo, P., et al. (2017). Aberrant brain grey matter volume patterns differ among chinese han drug-naïve depression patients with acute and chronic stress. Oncotarget, 8(54), 91958-91964. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20954

[4] McEwen, B. S., et al. (2015). The brain on stress: insight from studies using the visible burrow system. Physiology &Amp; Behavior, 146, 47-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.04.015

[5] Rempel, M., et al. (2018). Vigorous intervals and hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes: a randomized cross over trial. Scientific Reports, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-34342-6

[6] Meerlo, P., Koehl, M., Borght, K. v. d., & Fw, T. (2002). Sleep restriction alters the hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal response to stress. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 14(5), 397-402. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0007-1331.2002.00790.x

[7] Strathearn, L., Li, J., Fonagy, P., & Montague, P. R. (2008). What's in a smile? maternal brain responses to infant facial cues. Pediatrics, 122(1), 40-51. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2007-1566

[8] Wanjari, T. N. and Sawarkar, G. (2020). Lockdown lifestyle: engaging the invisible enemy. International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 11(SPL1), 491-495. https://doi.org/10.26452/ijrps.v11ispl1.2836

[9] Ahmadi, K. (2023). Leveraging leader relations to cultivate brain-friendly workplaces. Business, Management and Economics. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.107836

[10] Surapaneni, D. K., et al. (2012). Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 143(1), 91-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.002

[11] Parada, J. and Aguilera, J. M. (2007). Food microstructure affects the bioavailability of several nutrients. Journal of Food Science, 72(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00274.x

[12] Salve, J., Pate, S., Debnath, K., & Langade, D. (2019). Adaptogenic and anxiolytic effects of ashwagandha root extract in healthy adults: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6466

[13] Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (withania somnifera) extract. Medicine, 98(37), e17186. https://doi.org/10.1097/md.0000000000017186

[14] Jin, T., et al. (2020). Clinical and preclinical systematic review of panax ginseng c. a. mey and its compounds for fatigue. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.01031

[15] Choi, K. (2008). Botanical characteristics, pharmacological effects and medicinal components of koreanpanax ginsengc a meyer. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 29(9), 1109-1118. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7254.2008.00869.x

[16] Zhang, T., Yang, S., & Du, J. (2014). Antidepressant-like effects of cordycepin in a mice model of chronic unpredictable mild stress. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/438506

[17] Hirsch, K. R., et al. (2016). cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high-intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(1), 42-53. https://doi.org/10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386

[18] Fijałkowska, A., et al. (2022). Edible mushrooms as a potential component of dietary interventions for major depressive disorder. Foods, 11(10), 1489. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11101489

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