Everyone deals with stress at some point in their lives. Left unchecked, stress can cause a myriad of health problems and take a toll on your body. This being said, it is important to find ways to relieve stress. The type of stress that a person experiences should be taken into consideration before choosing a treatment plan.
For instance, if the stress a person feels is mild and only happens on occasion (that should include just about everyone), then a natural supplement to relaxation technique may solve the problem. However, if the stress is chronic and severe, it would be best to talk with your doctor before deciding how to treat it.
Why Natural Remedies?
First and foremost, natural remedies offer real help without the unwanted, and sometimes dangerous, side effects. Often times a person will be given a prescription for a particular condition only to cause a host of unrelated medical issues. No one should have to deal with that. Natural remedies also cost less than most prescriptions.
Second, some natural remedies like exercise, relaxation techniques, and a healthy diet only add to an individual’s overall health. Imagine relieving stress while strengthening your body and mental state; it truly is of great benefit. As mentioned earlier, natural remedies may not be for everyone. When in doubt, always consult your physician.
Herbal supplements are nature’s gift to healing. Everything we need to be healthy can be found in nature. Take caution to carefully read the labels before taking any herbal supplements. There are some that cannot be taken while pregnant or nursing, or with other medications.
Ginseng: has the remarkable capacity to adapt and bring balance. If you are stressed, it calms you down; if you are lethargic, it gives you energy.
Chamomile: is soothing and brings a sense of calm. Also known to promote sleep.
Valerian Root: promotes relaxation and restful sleep.
Passion Flower: decreases stress and anxiety. Also acts as a sedative and induces sleep.
Kava: is known for its stress relieving properties as well as relieving tense muscles and promoting a restful sleep.
These are but a few of the natural herbs available to help relieve stress. They may taken alone or with other supplements. Remember to read the label!
When we become stressed, sometimes all we need is a few minutes in a quiet place while enjoying a calming aroma. Personally, I find that just smelling something can trigger emotions; good and bad. When I feel stressed or discontented, the scent of jasmine or lavender seem to melt the stress away. Here a few more scents that will bring a sense of calm:
Frankincense: “Slows the breathing and calms the nervous and digestive systems, relieving anxiety, depression, nervous tension, emotional upsets, and stress-related digestive problems” (naturalremediesforbetterhealth.com, 2010)
Sweet Marjoram: brings relief to the nervous system and promotes sleep.
Other essential oils that reduce stress are: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Grapefruit Mandarin, Neroli, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang
Diet and Exercise
We may not want to hear it, but diet and exercise are extremely important to mental health. Our bodies were not made to eat a diet of highly processed, fast foods. Again, all that we need to be healthy is available from nature. I used to wonder why so many of the Old Testament people lived so long. The answer is, at least in part, is that they ate from the Earth and worked hard. There was no television, no cars, or any of the other modern marvels that have made our labor easy.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet promotes overall health, including your mental health. There are foods that are known to support brain health and relieve stress. Some of these power foods are (Stress-Relief-Choices, 2010):
• Bananas: easy to take with you, bananas should be a must-have staple in your kitchen. Bananas contain tryptophan, a chemical that is known for its relaxing properties. They are full of potassium, vitamin A, iron, phosphorus. Bananas also boost your brain power!
• Nuts: in moderation, nuts can be instrumental in your overall health. An excellent source of plant protein, nuts are a great source of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Nuts also lower your risk of heart disease. Some nuts have the same effect on serotonin levels as prescription medication. The best nuts for stress relief are almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts.
• Brown rice/pasta: can help maintain high energy levels which may prove to be beneficial under stressful circumstances.
• Fruit: eating fruit is a great, healthy way to have something sweet. It may be tempting to reach for candy or salty snacks, but they will leave you feeling sluggish and zapped of your energy. Fruit is just as convenient as the other choices but offer you real nutrition. Under stressful situations, fruit can be a quick and healthy way to bring relief.
• Ginger tea: drinking some ginger tea can ease stress. Simply add a 1-inch piece of ginger root to about 2/3 cup boiling water and steep for 5-10 minutes. If desired, add some brown sugar.
• Porridge: eating some porridge for breakfast will kick start your day. It is packed with protein and will keep you going for hours, which in turn optimizes your body for stress relief.
• Hot water: this is a great way to bring relief to an unsettled stomach. It also cleanses the body and relieves stress. Lemon may be added. In fact, drinking hot eater with lemon is also good for your waistline!
• Vegetables: this is a no-brainer. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy mental state. Like fruits, many vegetables can be eaten raw and are easy to take with you. If you cook your veggies, try steaming them, as this ensures that most of the vitamins are left intact.
There are countless ways that you can naturally, and safely reduce stress-from taking a walk to relaxing in a bubble bath. We live in a fast-paced world that demands us to keep up with it. If we do not listen to our bodies, then we will suffer the consequences. If you are dealing with stress, then try implementing some of these ideas into your lifestyle. If you cannot manage the stress on your own, then by all means see your doctor. Stress is not to be toyed with and must be managed effectively, or else it could lead to bigger problems.
naturalremediesforbetterhealth.com, (2010). Ways to deal with stress without drugs or harmful side effects. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from http://www.naturalremediesforbetterhealth.com/ways-to-deal-with-stress.html
Stress Relief Choices (2010). Stress relief food. Retrieved November 5, 2010, from http://www.stress-relief-choices.com/stress-relief-food.html