Stress Relief Naturally
Stress or anxiety is a state of mind, often brought about by thinking and experiencing uncertainty about the future and if or how things will work out. It can also result from experiencing your current circumstances as adverse or challenging. By bringing your conscious awareness to the present, feeling gratitude, and accepting that the future is not certain, you can let go of the stress and experience a state of calm or better yet joy (yes, even during demanding times)! One in three Australians takes anti-depressants at one stage of their life. I think you'd agree this is a clear indication that we are not coping with stress too well! Living in Australia's 'big smoke', one of the most consistent complaints I hear is of stress and anxiety. It's rife in our society today with increasing aspirations, expectations, responsibilities, more and more to do, less time to do it in, and extra stimulation in every corner of our lives (thanks Apple!). Add to that the environmental stress of living in today's world. AARRGHH!!
Stress can show itself as unpleasant emotions, bodily discomfort and or disease. It can effect every aspect of our lives; our relationships (including with ourselves!), our work, our physical well-being and most importantly - our happiness and growth!
As a mother, if you feel stressed, it will be felt by your children - they take in who you are being, not what you say or do! If you are full of anxiety or tension, they are going to pick up on that!
You also don't want to sit in your comfort zone to have no "stress" in your life, because (unfortunately) eventually that will also form a type of tension from boredom and unfulfilled dreams! Stress is unavoidable, but taking it on is totally within your control. Ultimately we want to challenge ourselves, to grow, and increase our capacity for life. To be able to face and identify with a problem and yet not let it dictate our reactions or moods. To do this, I believe it is important to have an individual strategy or a practice in your daily life that helps support you.
Day-to-day practices you can implement to help manage how you feel include:
A clean diet free of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods
Taking time out to meditate or unplug / switch off
Participating in a spiritual practice or psychotherapy
Talking things over with family and friends
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Breathe, breathe, breathe
There is another way apart from medical drugs that you can support yourself. Nervine adaptogen herbal tonics strengthen and feed the nervous system and balance the endocrine and hormonal systems. Stress responses send out hormones that trigger a flight or flight mechanism. The adrenals release cortisol, which enables short bursts of energy. Under constant stress, the adrenals give out and the body can no longer flight or flee. Elevated stress hormones such as cortisol can drain the precursors to major hormones such as testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen. One of the key components that adaptogenic herbs offer is their ability to lower and stabilise stress hormone levels.
Some key herbs to help support the nervous system are:
Has been used for over 2000 years according to Chinese medical records. It is used to treat chronic stress, nervous exhaustion and immune deficiency and concentration.
Used in Eastern Asia for thousands of years it is considered to be a potent energy herb, used as an adaptogen , to improve stamina, well-being and restore mental and physical functioning in times of stress.
Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, indicated for debility, nervous exhaustion, anaemia, chronic inflammation and general weakness.
Has been used in the Arctic and Asia region for centuries to reduce stress related irritability, depression and fatigue and acts as a wonderful adaptogen.
To help insomnia, increase cognitive function, bring about a state of calm and also work as act as an anti-inflammatory to the GIT.
Used as an antiseptic in ancient Greek and Roman medicines, lavender is now also know to induce relaxation, to act as a calmative and improve mood.
To get a herbal liquid tonic made up for your specific indications, see a Naturopath. If you struggle to take the liquid tonics, there are a variety of fantastic herbal formulations in tablet form that treat individual symptoms such as wired and tired, down and out, emotionally vulnerable, total panic stations, etc! Herbs are a great way to support your whole system and help you stay on the right track (mentally and physically) during challenging times.