We all know the modern world can be stressful. Whether it’s job stress, relationship stress, or even environmental stress, it appears that no one is immune. The important thing is how you deal with it.
Humans aren’t meant to be in a prolonged stressful state. When our fight or flight response (completely normal when outrunning a grizzly bear) lingers too long, or isn’t caused by a rampaging grizzly, this is known as chronic stress. And chronic stress is a very serious problem.
It’s estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all doctor visits are stress-related. The physiological effects are similar to poor sleep – the forgotten nutrient – and poor diet choices. Chronic stress can quickly lead to chronic inflammation, which is the foundation for most disease and illness. Heart disease, autoimmune diseases, obesity, mental disorders, even cancer, can all be attributed to chronic stress.
So, now that we know what it is, why it’s bad, and that most of us, if not all, have some experience with it, what can you do to combat chronic stress naturally? Thankfully, there are some great options.
There’s no really no point in “burying the lead” as journalists call it. If you want to crush your chronic stress, why not consume some herbs that do exactly that?
To put it simply, adaptogens are a unique class of plant/herb that helps your body adapt to stress, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, or environmental.
Adaptogenic herbs can “adapt” their function based on your body’s specific
needs. Which is why adaptogens can simultaneously give you an energy boost
and calm your body.
Adaptogens, like rhodiola for instance, balance your entire biological system safely and without side effects. The term “adaptogen” was coined by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarev in 1947. Which is appropriate since rhodiola hid behind the soviet curtain until a couple of decades ago. During the cold war, rhodiola was secretly used to benefit Russian military officers, political leaders, cosmonauts, and Olympic athletes. They were well aware of the benefits it provided. You may recall the Soviets’ dominance at the Olympics during this cold war period.
Other powerful adaptogens include: Schisandra, ashwagandha, eleuthero, and medicinal mushrooms like chaga and cordyceps. Cordyceps is a wildly-popular supplement with China’s aging population, as it restores vigor and vitality, and helps relieve fatigue.
There’s no doubt that exercise benefits health in a variety of ways. But did you know that exercise releases endorphins – brain chemicals that are strong mood-enhancers?
Exercise also helps normalize your circadian rhythm, which contributes to better sleep, more optimal blood-sugar levels, and also an improved mood. And don’t discount the effects that good sleep can have on your emotional state.
Yoga, in particular, is an excellent exercise for reducing your stress levels, and numerous studies have been done to support this. It can help reduce anxiety, depression, and also improve sleep. But it’s the combination of mind, breath, and body that makes yoga such a great stress reliever. It’s impossible to be stressed AND doing yoga.
Are you struggling to achieve inner peace? Well, those struggles can produce outer consequences. Meditation is great for combating stress, worry, and anxiety. You don’t need any equipment, you can do it in your home or office or car (not while driving, preferably), and just 10 – 15 minutes per day can yield some positive benefits.
If you’re one of those people that say, I can’t quiet my mind long enough to meditate, unfortunately you need it more than most. And if you have tried it before with little success, how about getting a little guidance?
Guided meditation audio programs are popular these days, and for good reason. Some even incorporate binaural beats into the audio file that help put your brain into the proper state, which makes meditation much more achievable. It’s truly a game changer. Check out Brain Sync if interested in exploring this option further.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Talk about a game-changer. It may take a lifetime to acquire some of our emotional challenges, shall we say, but with EFT you may just be able to eliminate them in minutes.
A quick warning: if you’ve never seen EFT before, it may come as a shock. Just know that there is a ton of science backing this very-effective stress relief method. But it’s not just for stress relief. Any negative emotions, fears, concerns, even physical pain, can often be lessened or even completely wiped away with just a few minutes of EFT.
The most important point to remember if trying EFT is that details matter. The more you can tune-in to your problem while tapping, along with how exactly you phrase your problem when speaking it aloud, will contribute much more to your success in resolving your problem.
Check out this all-encompassing resource on all things EFT. And here’s an EFT video on using it for stress relief. Simply follow along and tap your problems away. EFT, by the way, works similarly to acupuncture and acupressure, but with a more-emotional element.
Back to Nature
There’s something about being in nature that helps calm people down. Surrounded by more trees than people, cars, pollution, and noise can have wonderful effects on your ability to cope. Perhaps it’s seeing the bigger picture that nature has a way of reminding us of. Or it could be as simple as getting more sun and oxygen. Vitamin D, in particular, through sun exposure has tremendous emotional benefits.
Keeping a journal is another way to combat the effects of chronic stress. If you’re the type of person who keeps everything inside, the simple act of getting it out, even if it’s on paper, can make a huge impact. Plus, writing our problems down gives more awareness to them. And anytime we’re more aware of something, there’s a greater chance of us taking the steps to correct it.
Don’t discount the effects that being proactive can have on your emotional state and stress levels. When we’re proactive, we feel more in control of our lives. And there’s nothing stress-free about feeling out of control.
Know more about Dr. Raju Mantena