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Simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety

We all experience stress; it is the body's reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. Not all stress is bad, it's very common and can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily lives or can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life. There will always be some form of stress in our modern lives, so it is important to find your own personal way of dealing with stress and not let it overwhelm you. Watch the video above to learn some small tips you can use when you begin to feel overwhelmed, to help you take back control.

1. Rub your arms

When we are feeling stressed, we can use the body to shift those emotion and send messages to our brain that we are safe and well. If you're feeling anxious, the simple act of rubbing your arms may help. Try gently grasping your arms with opposite hands, rubbing your arms up and down and squeezing them gently. It can really help to soothe any discomfort of the present moment. 

2. Try calming herbs

Chamomile and lavender have relaxing properties and have been used for centuries to help people feel calm. Ashwagandha is a lesser-known plant, that is great for strengthening and soothing. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Adaptogens do what they say on the tin, they help the body to ‘adapt’ to its surroundings and cope with both physical and emotional stressors.  They have a rejuvenating and nourishing effect which help restore balance in the body.  

3. Belly Breathing

Any time your outbreath is longer than your inbreath, for example inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for six seconds, we start to wind down the sympathetic nervous system activity. This slows our stress response and helps to promote relaxation in the body. This is a way of resetting the system. Try breathing deep into your belly, not just your diaphragm, and breathing in for three seconds, hold for four seconds and out for five seconds. 

4. Positive affirmations. 

Affirmations are short powerful statements, in the present tense, that you repeat several times. They can feed your brain information that you are feeling positive. You could try saying aloud – “I am happy, I am calm, and I am stress free”. There is even scientific evidence showing that the use of affirmations improved exam performance[1].


1.   Sherman, D. K., Hartson, K. A., Binning, K. R., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Taborsky-Barba, S., Tomassetti, S., Nussbaum, A. D., & Cohen, G. L. (2013). Deflecting the trajectory and changing the narrative: How self-affirmation affects academic performance and motivation under identity threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 591–618.

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Author: Jo Webber

Head of Herbal Education

As a B.Sc. qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, Jo is passionate about bringing these two ancient sciences together to help people feel empowered about their health. Jo has put her post-graduate certificate in education to good use, co-founding the Ayurveda academy to help others learn of the wonders of Ayurveda.​ Jo has also earned a Masters degree in human sciences from Oxford University and has taught in several schools


B.Sc. qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher

Years of experience:

20 years as a Hatha yoga teacher/ayurvedic practitioner

Professional Registrations:

Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association

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