Top Natural Remedies for Stress
Stress Awareness Month in April is a great opportunity for all of us to take the time to understand how it affects us, our friends and colleagues and, if it is becoming a problem, to discover ways to manage our stress levels better. By understanding the causes and effects of stress, and finding out more about treatments, we can take back control and start to improve our health and overall wellbeing.
Stress – or more accurately, the inability for people to cope with the stress in their lives – is often referred to as a modern-day epidemic. A degree of stress is a normal part of everyday life – but it’s important to try to manage how stress impacts your life to keep healthy.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to managing stress – it will depend on you, the factors which are causing stress and your natural ability for resilience. However, whatever you are dealing with at the moment, our top natural remedies for stress could help you take that first step to feeling a little less overwhelmed.
What is stress?
Stress is a natural response to what the body and mind perceive as a threat. Your body’s stress response is designed to help you best respond to difficult situations. It is also part of what is known as your ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response.
When any of us experience a stressful situation, we experience noticeable physical, emotional and psychological changes. These can include your muscles tensing up, your heart ‘racing’, feeling anxious or overwhelmed and an inability to think clearly or objectively.
Why is stress bad for you?
Our body’s natural stress response to was originally designed to keep us safe, helping us to react quickly and effectively to stressful situations: imagine if you were a caveman faced with a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you would be very grateful for the flood of adrenalin that could help you run faster and focus on just one thing!
Today, however, this same ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in for many everyday stressful situations, leaving you with too much adrenaline coursing around your body, causing adverse side effects and potentially having a long-term negative effect on your health.
As well as feeling unpleasant, chronic stress can worsen existing health problems like heart or skin conditions. This can be made worse but the strategies that many of us use to cope with stress, such as drinking alcohol, ‘comfort eating’ or smoking, which of course all compound the negative impact on our health and wellbeing.
A Natural Approach to Managing Stress
There are a number of ways that you can be kind to yourself so that you are as well equipped as possible to cope with the stresses and strains that life throws at us, from the everyday hassles such as the school run or supermarket queues, right through to major life stresses such as bereavement, relationship breakdowns or illness.
Here are our top six tips for natural steps that you can take to reduce the impact of stress on your health:
- Eating for Better Wellbeing
What we eat has a huge impact on how well our body can respond to stress. Just as a car won’t run on an empty fuel tank, so your body needs the right nutrition as fuel. We all know that a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables helps our bodies work well, but it can also help to boost your mood and improve your state of mind. Reducing stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and high-sugar foods means that we can help avoid making a stressful state feel even worse.
- Exercise to Ease your Mind
Physical activity is a great stress reliever. Whether your favourite form of exercise is a stroll around the park with the dog or a brisk 10k run or cycle ride, you will almost always feel better afterwards. Physical activity can help you clear your thoughts and release some of your emotional intensity by releasing endorphins – the ‘feel-good hormone’ – in your brain. If the activity can take place outdoors, then you will also get the benefits of fresh air with additional oxygen to help you deal with problems more effectively
- Build Meditation into your Week
There are many different types of meditation, so you can choose which one works best for you, whether that’s a yoga or tai chi class, guided meditation or just an app on your phone. Once you have learned how to meditate, you can practice it pretty much anywhere to help relieve stress and calm troubled thoughts.
- Take Sleep Seriously
It’s essential to get enough sleep. Without it, our bodies and minds don’t have time to rest and restore themselves, leaving us more vulnerable to being overwhelmed by stress or anxiety and less able to deal with it effectively. The book ‘Why We Sleep’ by Professor Matthew Walkersays “Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep”.
- Keep Communicating
When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it can feel easier to say nothing and try and deal with your worries on your own. As the recent ‘Time to Change’ mental health campaign has highlighted, it is not healthy to bottle everything all up inside. The old adage of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is as relevant today as ever and chatting face-to-face with friends about what’s bothering you can be a great stress-reliever.
- Try a Herbal Remedy for Stress
St John’s Wort is a traditionally trusted and used herbal remedy for stress, low mood and anxiety. Make sure you choose a THR approved product for an assurance of safety and quality. THR-certified HRI Good Mood contains the strongest daily dose on the UK Market and is available at Holland & Barrett, Boots and Superdrug. Always read the patient information leaflet before taking.
By taking these simple steps and finding out more about the impact of stress, you can start to regain control of how stress affects your day to day life. If you feel that stress is causing high levels of anxiety or depression, or if you are concerned about symptoms such as raised heart rate, you should always consult your GP.
If you are interested in finding out news and information about a natural approach to supporting your health, beauty and wellbeing, why not follow HRI Herbal on Facebook @HRIHerbal?