Stress Management • Natural home treatment

Stress is not something you catch.  It is not a virus passing from one person to another and taking up residence in your body.  Stress is a reaction to situations in your life and the triggers are different for everyone.

Stress management - Image of girl painting at sunset by the sea

Even if our reactions are subconscious and automatic, they are at some level, choices.  One person may calmly accept and deal with situations that would throw someone else off kilter.  Remember that stress responses are reactions and we do have some power over our reactions.

Whenever you suffer from stress, a whole cascade of undesirable chemical activity takes place in your body, from the speeding up of your heart rate to a decrease in saliva.

SOME DISEASE CONDITIONS THAT MAY HAVE A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP TO STRESS

Some believe that all our disease conditions have a relationship to stress. If you have a propensity toward a particular condition, stress is likely to speed its development along. This list is just a sampling of those conditions that researchers believe are most connected to stress:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Bladder infections
  • Cancer
  • Colds and sinus infections
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Headaches
  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

More doctors are more aware of the value of alternative/complementary medicines than even a few years ago, so a good doctor will offer some suggestions for dealing with stress besides the usual antidepressants.

SELF TREATMENT

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation. If it doesn’t make you feel better and give you more strength to deal with life’s challenges with serenity (though it may), it will at the least help you to fight off the ravages of the chemical malfunctions that come with stress. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan that can keep your hormones balanced, giving you a greater chance at serenity.

In short, eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible, and organic when you can. Indulge in unhealthy habits like drinking alcohol, smoking and eating junk foods as little as possible.

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS THAT MAY CALM

  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Hops (with other teas) at bedtime
  • Kava
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Oregano
  • Passionflower
  • Peppermint
  • Rose tea
  • Valerian root

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Ashwagandha
  • Basil
  • Brahmi
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Passionflower
  • Rosemary (for cooking and in your bath)
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Tulsi
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.), or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress. Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.

  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Clary sage
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa (lemon balm)
  • Neroli
  • Palmarosa
  • Rose
  • Rose otto
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Ashwagandha
  • L-theanine (found in green tea)
  • Omega 3’s
  • RediCalm is a combination of Ashwagandha, Passionflower, L-theanine, 5-HTP and Lemon Balm
  • St. John’s Wort

HYDRATION

Studies show that dehydration increases cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone). Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ to one ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

Exercise stimulates feel-good hormones and helps keep your immune system strong. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

SLEEP

Studies show that lack of quality sleep affects the production of disease-fighting antibodies. It will also make anxiety much worse. If you wake in the morning after 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep feeling unrested, you aren’t getting enough sleep or you have an underlying health condition.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend, meditate. Do what works for you to keep mellow. Some of the following relaxation methods may be helpful for you:

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • A walk in the park
  • A warm bath or sauna
  • Adrenal support
  • Deep breating exercises
  • Don’t skip breakfast–low levels of choline, as found in eggs, are associated with increased anxiety.
  • Eat small meals frequently to keep blood sugar normal.
  • Hops (humulus lupulus) as an extract or tincture or as aromatherapy in hops pillows
  • If you are hungry, try eating something, which may help to dissipate the anxiety.
  • In the middle of your anxiety, try 20 minutes of real sweat-producing exertion (if you have no contra-indications to a good workout).
  • Pet therapy
  • Some time to yourself
  • Warm up; sit in the sun or take a hot shower.
  • Yoga breathing
  • If you are feeling stressed about something, try thinking of something else. Make it something pleasant.
  • Try to believe that there is very little that we cannot handle in the moment.  When we worry about possible future disaster or we continue to relive past disasters; that is stress we are heaping upon ourselves.
  • Find books that inspire you and read a little each day; maybe a spiritual book or a self-help book that helps you to calm down.  A few of my common-sense favorites are:
    • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (Albert Ellis) (You can read a book or find a counselor who uses that technique)
    • Loving What Is by Byron Katie
    • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • When you take herbs for anxiety, be sure to check with your doctor–especially if you are on any prescription meds.
  • Do not drive an automobile when you are under the influence of sedating substances.

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Adequate hydration
  • Regular exercise
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Laughter
  • Dwell on the positive
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