5 health benefits of yoga, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Yoga. (AJC file photos)

5 natural ways to relieve stress

During these uncertain times, stressful feelings may be increasing.

If you’re looking for ways to unwind naturally, here are five methods of doing it from CNN.

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Practice meditation

Meditating allows you to focus your mind for a while and practice being present.

“You can spend one minute each morning and each evening doing this,” Richard Davidson, founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds, told CNN. “And that kind of appreciation is something that can foster a sense of optimism about the future.”

If you’ve never meditated before, Headspace has some resources for how to get started.

Get adequate exercise 

Regular exercise is one of the main ways to improve your physical and mental health. 

“A brisk walk, jog or bike ride can help keep you calm and healthy during these uncertain times,” Jennifer Helsz, an associate professor in kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada told CNN.

You don’t have to do high-intensity exercise for a long time to reap the benefits, either. A study of university students showed high-intensity training led to increased stress and inflammation. Cleveland Clinic has some examples of moderate exercise, which you can do to de-stress.

» RELATED: Study: Replacing sitting with sleep or light activity may help boost mood

Do some yoga, tai chi and qi gong

You can also get moving through yoga. The practice can release endorphins, improve sleep and regulate the body’s central stress response system Jacinta Brinsley, a doctoral candidate at the University of South Australia who recently published a study on yoga, told CNN.

If you’re new to the practice, Self magazine has some go-to poses for beginners.

Traditional Chinese exercises, tai chi and qi gong, also have stress-relieving qualities including lowering the hormone cortisol and improving immune function, studies show.

» RELATED: 5 ways to stay healthy while getting older

Make sure you’re sleeping

Relieving stress also means getting enough sleep. To do so, develop a routine and follow experts’ advice of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. 

Avoid scrolling on your phone or watching TV before bed, as blue light can disrupt your sleep. You can also unwind with a warm bath or shower and read a book before catching some Z’s, but don’t consume alcohol or coffee as a nightcap — they can be disruptive.

Breathe slowly and deeply

Deep breathing can be a way to ease your mind.

“Learning breathwork lets you know that you have an ability to physiologically calm yourself,” stress management expert Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, an editor for the American Institute of Stress’s magazine Contentment told CNN.

For tips on how to incorporate breathing exercises into your day, visit Healthline.

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