It is inevitable that at some point we will all be faced with some form of stress. Although some stress is healthy for us- it protects us, it drives us- extreme stress can be harmful to the mind, body and spirit.
Different people cope with stress in different ways. Some find ways to deal with their stress in a manner that is considered to be healthier, while some others may have unhealthy ways of dealing with stressful situations.
As an EAP counselor, I have heard several clients cite their negative coping mechanisms to include emotional eating, excessive drinking and smoking, as well as displacing their feelings from stress onto those closest to them. If stress is not managed appropriately it can develop into exhaustion, burnout or even some long-term health conditions.
Many are aware of the benefits of good nutrition and exercise to help in reducing stress on the mind and body. However, there are also other holistic approaches to help in reducing stress levels. Here you will find five practices that can be used to assist in stress management. Please keep in mind this information is not intended to provide diagnosis nor should it take the place of advice given by your physician.
“There is nothing in the most advanced contemporary medicine whose embryo cannot be found in the medicine of the past.” —Maximilian E. P. Littre
The use of herbs has been used for thousands of years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) healing herbs are the primary medicines for about two-thirds of the world’s population. With that said, many of today’s traditional medicines contains active ingredients derived from plants.
What does that tell us about the power of herbs? Think of it as getting the healing you need directly from the source. The following are a few of the herbs that may be beneficial in helping to lowering the stress hormones cortisol:
|Ashwagandha||Reduces cortisol levels (anti-stress), improves mood, promotes anxiety reduction, other benefits include use as an anti-inflammatory.|
|Chamomile||Can help to relax, can improve quality of sleep, another benefit includes anti-inflammation|
|Eucalyptus||Promotes relaxation, can lower blood pressure, also known to be a good sleep aid when used as an oil.|
There are several ways one can reap the benefits of the use of healing herbs, including:
“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.” – Unknown
Gardening outside or caring for indoor plants can have many benefits. To name a few: it can help to improve psychological well-being by uplifting the mood, reduces stress and helps to increase productivity, outdoor gardening can also be stress relieving due to the physical aspect of it.
Many plants have been scientifically proven to purify the air. So the next time you find yourself in your local supermarkets or home improvement stores, check out the plant section. A few low-maintenance, stress reducing plants include:
- Aloe Vera Plant
- Snake Plant (Mother-In Law’s Tongue)
- Areca Palm (Air Purifier)
“Everything in nature invites us constantly to be where we are.” – Gretel Ehrlich
According to research, nature has the ability to restore a sense of peace within the mind and body. Science also confirms that spending time in nature helps to improve blood pressure as well as helps in reducing cortisol in the body, in turn reducing stress related health issues. According to the journal of cardiology, spending time in nature can even improve heart health. A few things to do while outside in nature:
- Take a walk in the park
- Go for a hike
- Practice deep breathing exercises while sitting out on the lawn.
- Try Earthing— The act of physically connecting our bodies to the earth. You can practice this technique by planting your bare feet in the soil
Healing with Crystals
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” – Nikola Tesla
The practice of using crystals is considered a major step for healing stress naturally. There are many different types of crystals and many different stress techniques through the use of crystals. Visit your local Metaphysics store to learn more about crystals and to add to your collection. Some popular crystals that are said to aid in stress management are:
- Black Tourmaline
- Rose Quartz
“At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Unknown (often, incorrectly, attributed to Lao Tzu)
The Reiki system is a healing modality that opens you to the world of vibrational energy. “A Reiki practitioner helps you learn to open your heart to the healing that has been present all along. Reiki is amplified prayer. Reiki is beneficial to both practitioner and client. Reiki is an ancient healing technique that opens the mind, heart, soul, and body to divine love.” – (Victoria Grace Williams, Reiki Practitioner from Reiki with Grace, 2021, https://reikiwithgrace.wixsite.com/reikiwithgrace)
- The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines (Michael Castleman, 1991)
- What Is Reiki? https://iarp.org/what-is-reiki/
By, Ashley Vazquez, MA MFT