Stressed? We have all been there, some of us on a daily, weekly, perhaps monthly basis. Did you know that “stressed” spelled backwards spells “desserts”? Hmm… I wonder if that’s why some of us eat our stress away… Oh No! that can lead to even more stress. 🙂
Well, let’s take a look at how stress is defined shall we?
Stress: “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
Things that cause stress
While there are a plethora of things that can cause stress in our everyday lives, let’s take a look at these to name a few:
- More financial responsibility – none of us want to have more bills than money coming in
- Being in a job you aren’t happy with – this might include working long hours, not having clear instructions from supervisors on work expectations, dangerous working conditions, discrimination or even harassment
- Death of a loved one
- Getting married
- Taking care of a terminally ill family member
- Then there’re emotional problems such as: Depression, low sex drive, anxiety, compulsive behavior and mood swings
Have you ever come across a scent that took you back to a “happy” time in your life? I think we have all experienced that at one time or another. Burning a scented candle or even using essential oils may help reduce the level of stress or anxiety you may be feeling. Here are just a few scents that are soothing:
- Roman chamomile – It is generally used as a blood purifier- it helps to prevent menstrual cramps and irregular periods. It can also be used in a steam bath to inhale to help sinus inflammation. It can also be used to help with ear inflammation and sore throats, just a general pain reliever overall.
- Lavender – It is known to have antiseptic qualities. Not only can it help with headaches and toothaches, it can also help with minor burns and even bug bites. And there’s a bonus, it can even help to prevent hair loss. But, one of my favorite qualities about this oil is its calming effect. You ask how so? Well, it interacts with the neurotransmitter known as GABA that helps to quieten the brain and nervous system activity therefore reducing restlessness, aggression, agitation and anger. I’m thinking we could all use more Lavender in our lives !
- Ylang Ylang – This oil is known for causing a reduction in blood pressure and stress hormone levels due the following study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836517. It is still in the testing phases regarding lowering blood pressure.
- Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Evening primrose oil, Ginger, Turmeric essential oil and Basil all have a variety of anti-inflammatory qualities. For those who have Rhuematoid Arthritis, mixing certain oils together to get a better effect can be done. In everything there are positive and negative side effects so it is always best to consult your physician before applying new techniques to your health regimen.
Traditionally Speaking …
Even though natural alternatives can sometimes help to alleviate the added stresses and ailments, prescription medications are the more likely choice. So which ones are usually used to treat stress-related issues?
The most common ones are Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin and Librium just to name a few. Which ones treat what ailments? Well, Xanax (alprazolam) Klonopin (clonazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam) are normally used short term for anxiety.
Those who have anger issues typically will be prescribed anti-depressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa. Even though these drugs don’t really target “anger” in the body, what they do have is a calming effect that helps to control negative emotions and the feeling of rage.
So how do you balance between traditional and natural treatment for stress? Why not use “complimentary medicine” in conjunction with traditional medicine? Complimentary medicine is when alternative medicine therapies are used along with traditional medicine.
Examples of complimentary medicine include:
- Natural health products – such as dietary supplements, herbs and probiotics
- Mind and body techniques – such as massage therapy, acupuncture and even tai chi
- Alternative health choices – such as homeopathy, naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine
We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another, so with the guidance of a doctor, why not try different therapies to see what works best. It’s all about the right research and knowing what is right for our bodies. There are risks and side effects in traditional as well as alternative medicine.
I wouldn’t recommend letting alternative medicine take the place wholly of traditional medicine. I would suggest, however, to combine some more complimentary approaches such as meditation, massage therapy, yoga and chiropractic with your doctor’s plan of care for you, if that’s the direction that would be beneficial.
Other ways to consider…
When dealing with stress, sometimes we simply need to think outside the box and perhaps the easiest way to deal with it is right in front of you.
Did you know that when you are always around constant noise, it tends to keep your brain actively on alert mode and can lead to physical stress? Some ways you can alleviate this is to play some soothing music in the background or try downloading white noise on your phone or simply wear ear plugs.
When you feel your stress temperature rising, try massaging your ears. 🙂 Rub your ear lobes as well as the outer edges of your ear. Did you know that by doing this, it triggers the reflex points on your body and cause you to relax more. Hmm…who knew?
As you are going through the day to day activities, you may consider upping your intake of vitamin C, as your body can get run down quickly and become susceptible to those nasty germs floating around.
Have you ever paid attention to your body when you are trying to tell someone something in a hurry? Your heart rate is up and your breathing becomes more shallow. Try talking slower and see how your body reacts. I think you’ll find it more physically and emotionally relaxing. The same goes for eating; when we eat too fast, it stresses our bodies’ digestion system. We have a tendency to feel a sense of urgency about the events happening around us even when eating therefore causing us to not be relaxed. Next time you eat, try focusing on the quality of food and give yourself a chance to slow down.
Schedule some “me time”. We probably don’t do this often enough. You’d be amazed at how much calmer this can make you feel. I like to dabble with my acrylic paints and oil pastels so sometimes I take a day off work just to do those things that make me feel better.
Learn to just say “no”. I know this can be a hard one for some of us, especially those type A personalities. Sometimes we can overwhelm ourselves, so next time someone requests something of you, if your gut tells you … just say no. You’ll feel better and people will respect your decisiveness, eventually.
Last but not least, sometimes when our manganese level is high, it causes us to be irritable, aggressive, nervous and anxious. Occasionally we just need a good cry. Watch a sad movie, because when you cry, it lowers your manganese level therefore making your mood better and lowering your stress level.
Just to Recap…
Whatever way you deal with the stress in your life, make sure you follow what your doctor tells you along with trying things that will be helpful for your body overall. So, if you decide to go natural as well, then go healthy.