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Natural Relief for Stress

What is stress?

The World English Dictionary defines stress as mental, emotional, or physical strain or tension. Stress is the physical and emotional reaction to the pressures we have in our daily lives. It is more persistent and far-reaching than many would believe. Studies show that 75 to 95 percent of all doctor’s visits are caused by stress-related issues. More than 20 million Americans suffer from health issues related to chronic stress.

What can we do about it?

Drink to Relax:

  • Chamomile tea can be calming to body and mind.
  • “Relaxation Beverages” such as Montmorency cherry juice, which offers a form of naturally-occurring melatonin. You may want to look for a green tea/cherry juice blend that has been fortified with theanin (an amino acid that reduces mental and physical stress) and tryptophan (the compound in turkey that makes you sleepy). These can be found in the cooler section of grocery and health food stores.
  • Skullcap tea – An herb native to North America. It is used to relieve stress, promote inner peace, and to treat mental disorders and nervous conditions. There have been more than 290 compounds isolated in skullcap. Among them are flavonoids, which are thought to be key components for relieving stress. This is done by modifying levels of the neurotransmitters in the brain that adjust anxiety, relaxation, and mood. Skullcap can be found in teabags online and in some health food stores.

Scalp Massager:

This spider-like tool comes in wooden and metal models. Rubbed on the scalp, it can do much for the over-all well-being. Some studies have shown that massaging the scalp can increase production of endorphins and serotonin. These can help put you in a better mood, reducing stress and prepare you for relaxation. It can also work out a tight scalp and stimulate blood flow.

Sea Salt and Noni Foot Bath:

Soaking your feet in noni juice is just what the doctor ordered! Put warm water in a basin – about half full—and pour in a cup or more of sea salt and 100% pure noni juice.  Noni juice can be found in the supplement section of your health food store. Soak for 20 to 25 minutes.

Suma Smoothie:

Suma is known in South America as “para todo,” which means “for everything” or “for all things.” The natives of the Amazon region have used suma root for many generations for a number of health purposes, including as a calming agent. Suma is an “adaptogen”; it has been used to recharge the body’s adrenal glands (the body’s mechanisms that respond to stress and emotional change and that synthesize and store dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. To make the smoothie, blend together a scoop of suma powder, a banana, a cup of yogur,t and some acai berry juice (find one that is enriched with B vitamins to support the nervous system). This smoothie will help promote an overall sense of relaxation by moderating your stress-inducing hormones.

Intense Cardiovascular Exercise:

This is not just another “work-out”; it is a regime of exercises designed to specifically work your heart and muscles and burn out your stress as you burn fat. There are several types of exercises.

  • Sprint Intervals – Run as hard as you can for ten to sixty seconds. Then walk for one to two minutes. Repeat five to six times daily, at least three times per week. It may take you several weeks to work up to sixty seconds, even if you are pushing yourself very hard.
  • Elliptical Intervals – Work out in the same pattern as above using an elliptical machine.
  • Interval Rows – Workout on a rowing machine in a gym as hard as you can in intervals just as above.

The theme is obvious: work in intervals. This type of exercise is an extremely powerful way to burn up excess stress. It will also burn up fat. By working your body very hard and fast for short periods of time, you will burn up a lot more stress and fat than you could in a normal cardio workout. Try it out and see how you feel; just remember you must work out like this on regular schedule.

Hot Tubs:

Put on a swimsuit, and jump in. Sitting in your hot tub for at least fifteen to twenty minutes can leave you relaxed and stress free. The hot water will cause your muscles to relax, and there is a strong connection between mind and body. Shortly all that tension that had you all keyed up will be floating away in the filter system.

Screaming:

Scream therapy does work, at least for some. If you want to try it out for yourself, you may want to find a place of solitude so you don’t scare off your family, friends, and neighbors. Or you may want to direct it toward another driver as you drive along so that you can reduce your stress without getting mad or hurting anyone.

Sex:

Marriage partners may be able to reduce each other’s stress by engaging in sex. Whether or not we realize it, when we have a lack of activity in the bedroom, we can be causing each other to be more stressed. By adding to our togetherness activities, we not only have the opportunity to please each other, but we can also reduce each other’s stress. (Then you can go back into the hot tub together for more pleasure and stress-reducing activities!)

As always, you should speak to your healthcare provider and decide together what method or methods will work best for you. Here’s to your mental health!

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