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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally

Apr 30, 2020 12:00PM ● By Ann Charlotte Valentin Barskaya

Most of us have experienced an increase in stress and anxiety during the past few weeks. Stress is the body’s response to a real or imaginary threat. When the body is under stress, it responds by releasing stress hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, resulting in the “fight or flight” response. The body isn’t very good at distinguishing between mental and physical stress, so it reacts the same way each time regardless of what type of stress is being experienced. Anxiety, which typically causes symptoms of worry, nervousness, apprehension and fear, is something you feel in your body and demands your immediate attention.

Tools for dealing with stress and anxiety:

When you experience stress and anxiety, remind yourself to be in the present moment rather than worrying about the future. As John Lennon said: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

Here are some things you can do at home to bring your attention to the present moment:
  • Meditate by sitting quietly and listening to calming music. Focus on your breath. If you start thinking about something, simply recognize the thought and let it go and return to focusing on your breath. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to only practice five minutes in the beginning if that is all you can do. Gradually work up to longer periods of time. The more you practice, the better you will get.
  • When you experience fear, tell yourself that you are releasing your fear to the sky and replacing it with gratitude.
  • Make a gratitude journal. Write down five new things each day you are grateful for.
  • Increase your exercise, as it creates endorphins, which naturally reduce stress. Look for online platforms to join in with others if that helps you get going.
  • Learn how to cook or bake new things. You can easily find recipes online.
  • Draw a picture and color with crayons, markers or paint. If you can’t draw, look for free drawing lessons on YouTube or other online platforms.
  • Make your own postcards and mail them to family and friends to brighten their day.
  • Grounding exercises, such as taking off your shoes and feeling the earth beneath them, will give you negative ions, which are calming.
  • Sing songs out loud or call a friend or family member to set up sing-along times.
  • If you play an instrument, take it out and play it or learn how to play a new song.
  • If you have a garden or patio, plant some flowers or seeds.
  • Go outside in the evening and look at the stars.
  • Learn something new. Look on YouTube or other online platforms for free classes.
  • Take time to sit outside and drink a cup of herbal calming tea, such as chamomile, and listen to the birds.
  • Read a book you own and never read or order a new book.   
Excerpt from chapter 13 of Med School After Menopause, The Journey of My Soul, by Dr. Ann Charlotte Valentin.

Remember this message: The darkness holds the power of creativity and transformation. It is from the darkness that new life awakens and begins.

Finally, practice this exercise: When you feel like you can barely make it through another day and nothing seems to be going in the right direction, remind yourself that this, too, shall pass. Tell yourself that you are strong. Remind yourself that you are sowing your seeds, and soon your flowers will blossom. Send yourself an email with this message or write it down and put it on your mirror or wall to remind yourself daily.


Dr. Ann Charlotte Valentin is a family physician and also has post-graduate education in bioidentical hormones, Koren Specific Technique, CranioSacral Therapy, Emotional Release Technique and BodyTalk. Valentin also works as an evidential medium and spiritual educator. Her book, Med School After Menopause, The Journey of My Soul, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Connect with her at 602-888-2320 or

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