Whether it be, wondering where your next mortgage payment will come from, trying to figure out what you are going to do with the kids for the week again, or the unknown of when all this will end, now, more than ever, more people are feeling the pressures of stress.
Properly dealing with stress can be the difference between staying healthy or getting sick. Did you know that over 80% of all illness and disease today anywhere in the world can be linked back to one common element...STRESS! According to WebMD, over 75% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
Stress can aggravate or even be the root cause of many medical conditions from high blood pressure, autoimmune responses, skin issues, ulcers, digestive disorders, and to decreased immunity. Proper stress management may help reduce the potential of dealing with chronic diseases later.
7 HERBS TO THE RESCUE
Herbs are highly beneficial for reducing stress and alleviating tension. Botanicals that have a calming effect on the nervous system are generally classified as a nervine. Most gentle nervine herbs can be safely consumed throughout the day to relieve mild anxiety and to help a person stay calm.
Consuming gentle nervines earlier in the day is extremely helpful for individuals who feel irritable or anxious as a result of stress, and for those who struggle with insomnia. Gentle nervines keep the nervous system from getting too revved up and the right herbs will encourage a relaxing and more restful sleep.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is one of the most popular relaxing herbs that has safe and effective nervine actions for all ages. A tea or bath of chamomile soothes restlessness, reduces irritability, and encourages peaceful sleep. Chamomile can also be useful for soothing teething or colicky babies, as well as for reducing children’s fevers. A few drops of chamomile tincture (herbal extract) will help relieve mild daily mental stress.
Note: If you are allergic to ragweed or other plants in the daisy family, there is a possibility that you may experience an allergic reaction to chamomile. Test it topically by placing a few drops of the tea or tincture on your arm before consuming internally; if a rash forms within 24 hours, you are likely allergic and should avoid using chamomile.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Catnip acts as a gentle nervine for most adults and a mild sedative for children. This herb is also helpful for digestive cramping. If you have catnip growing in your backyard, simply pick the tops and combine with peppermint and chamomile for a tasty tea.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is an amazing herb that helps with anxiety, nervous exhaustion, gloom, restlessness and in some cases, it may help with insomnia. Lemon balm makes the perfect herb to grow in your garden with its uplifting citrusy scent. Besides a refreshing cup of tea, the fresh leaves and stems can be chopped and used in fruit salads with a drizzle of honey or added to cakes, muffins, or cookies.
Linden Flowers (Tilia spp.)
Linden flowers have a wonderful gentle calming action on the nervous system. The flowers contain both tannins and mucilage, which helps to soothe irritated membranes in the upper respiratory system and in the digestive tract. If you have a basswood tree growing in your backyard, consider picking some fresh blossoms for yourself– there is a reason the bees love this tree!
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skullcap has gentle and nourishing effect on the nervous system. It is known to help relieve occasional tension and stress. It is particularly useful for insomnia, especially if a person is unable to sleep due to an overactive mind with thoughts that are circular in nature. Additionally, it can be used throughout the day during stressful situations.
Oat tops (Avena sativa)
A very gentle tonic herb that helps support and nourish the nervous system. Oats (milky oat or oat straw) can help reduce fatigue and support nerve functioning over time. This herb is ideal for anyone who is overworked or relies on caffeine to get through the day. Consuming oat tops in a tea or tincture regularly helps to build resistance to daily stress and burnout.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This popular botanical is by far the most well know herb used for calming that is often used in aromatherapy applications for its mild relaxing action. It can be lovely when used in the bath, massage oils, pillows, room sprays, or body fragrance to uplift the spirit.
OTHER NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR STRESS
Flower Essence Therapy:
Fields of Flowers is a homeopathic formula, which is a unique combination of the 38 traditional flower essences with each one long associated with a key element of emotional concern. This is a product that can be added to water or taken directly for calming effects on the body.
Individual Bach Flower Remedies. To get your personal mix made just for you, call the Lamb Shoppe to set up a phone consultation or in-person wellness consult with Connie at 320-587-6094.
Want to learn more about Flower Essence Therapy? Check out this coming class: Flower Essence Fundamentals.
4 Helpful Stress Supplements:
StressArrest ™ supports your mood and helps resolve the irritability and restlessness that can sometimes interfere with the normal functioning of your day.
Mood-Stasis™ is a blend of vitamins and herbs that work synergistically to support a calm and positive mental outlook.
NeuroCalm™ is designed to promote the activity of GABA and serotonin, which may help support healthy mood, cravings, and feelings of calm, satiety, and satisfaction.
CannabOmega™ The omega-3 fatty acids found in this product are best known for their neuro-protective properties and their roles in brain health, including support for healthy mood and cognition.
WHAT ELSE REDUCES STRESS?
Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so eat a nutrient-dense diet of whole, organic foods that help to nurture your body. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you will feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a form of exercise that provides gentle stretching and muscle toning by using a series of slow, meditative flowing motions while gradually shifting your weight. Chi (or Qi) means life energy inside the body. Tai Chi is a form of Qigong (energy practice). When we practice Tai Chi, we are improving energy flow inside the body which can lead to several health benefits.
Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.
Think positive thoughts and be grateful. Look for the good in a situation or person. Positive thoughts and gratitude come back to you multifold.
Have a “Take Charge” approach to life with time management. By planning and setting goals, more can be accomplished with less effort and time. Be assertive by saying “no” firmly and sincerely when you should.
Connect with others. Spend “virtual” time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress. Learn to ask for help if you need it. Right now, while you may not be able to connect in person, give a friend a call or write a kind note to someone.
Learn to recognize your individual stress signals. Listen to your body so you can recognize your individual stress signals such as headaches, muscle tension, or a nervous feeling. Know where in your body you typically carry stress and once you feel it coming on, take measures to relax and stay calm.
Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
STRESS REDUCTION TECHNIQUES
Remember, we do not need to be victims to our own emotions, thoughts, or attitudes. By taking control of how we respond to stress, we can decide how it manifests in our body.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when stress creeps into your day:
Go for a walk.
Spend time in nature.
Talk to a supportive friend.
Write in your journal.
Take a long bath.
Play with a pet.
Work in your garden.
Curl up with a good book.
Listen to music.
Watch a comedy.
Have a good workout.
Use breathing techniques.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.