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How to fight stress the holistic way ?

Stress is one of the most understated lifestyle disorder. We recognise stress but do little to alleviate it. Stress levels can be lowered, easily, through simple techniques that require just a wee bit of your time. Practice these tips and find your stress levels drop to healthy levels.

Stress is a modern-day disorder that ails everyone. It is not just adults who struggle with stress, adolescents and young school going kids experience stress and its pressures. Stress is perhaps one of the most lethal, silent killers.

It is also a term that is very loosely used. "I am stressed out…", "There is too much stress at work…, "I can't handle the stress…" How many times have you heard or used these phrases?

It is normal to get stressed and the human body is designed to handle high levels of stress. In fact, so well equipped are we to handle the stress that we at times thrive on it, we perform better when our stress levels are high. Just the way too much of anything is bad for us excessive stress can have harmful side-effects on our physical and mental wellbeing. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can deal with stressful situations, even if you can do nothing to prevent them.

So, here are some techniques that you can try, to reinstate a sense of sanity in your otherwise stressful life.

Anti-anxiety supplements & herbs

  • Vitamin C – According to a study, there wasn't much of a rise in blood pressure in people who were prescribed 1000mg of vitamin C and pushed to deal with stressful conditions. Their stress hormone levels got back to normal, faster than people who went through the same ordeal, but weren't given the vitamin supplement. So, try upping your intake of vitamin C, when you find are going through stressful phases
  • Panax ginseng – A herb, that is also known as the 'true ginseng' is cherished for its capacity to shield the body from stress. The herb is known to control the release of stress hormones and maintain the glands that produce them. Panax ginseng supplements can be taken to reduce stress levels. The recommended dose is 100 mg twice a day, during times of extreme stress. Experts advise that it is not a permanent solution and should not be taken for long durations
  • Camomile tea – Camomile has excellent healing properties and naturopathic practitioners swear by it. Drink a cup of camomile tea, three times a day and watch yourself handle stress better
  • Lavender – One of the most fragrant herbs with a calming effect. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your bath water and allow the sweet fragrance to calm your stressed nerves. Alternatively, use the oil in potpourri or leave sachets of pure lavender around the house. Slip one under your pillowcase and breathe in its soothing fragrance

Focus your mind

The best way to beat stress, the holistic way, is to short-circuit its advancement through specific relaxation techniques. Meditation is one of them, listening to music is another way to distress.

  • Meditation – One as the best way to relax a tired mind and an exhausted body. Meditation is therapeutic and has been clinically proven to calm stressed nerves. You can meditate anywhere; all you need is yourself and a quiet spot to sit. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Let your mind drift to a happy memory or picture yourself in a picturesque locale, away from the maddening crowd. Breathe deeply, feeling each breath you inhale and exhale, focus on the beautiful images playing through your mind. Don't get distracted by outside sounds and other thoughts. Alternatively, think of a positive phrase and concentrate on it. For example, "I am strong" or "I can do it". Positive thoughts act as a stimulus and shoo your stress away. Practice this daily, for 10-20 minutes and feel the positive energies take over
  • Music – Listen to music that you like, sing along, at top of your voice. It works wonders. Otherwise, play some instrumental music or listen to the recorded sounds of birds whistling and chirping or the sound of water gurgling along a stream. You'll be surprised how quickly it can relax you
  • Travel in time – When anxieties plague you, go back to a time when you experienced a similar unease. Look back at that time and you'll probably see how trivial it all was and that your angst was unnecessary. Now imagine yourself ahead in time, how would the present dilemma appear. In all probability, the predicament that is stressing you out today, would not appear such a big thing, in future. This should give you a better view on whether you are stressing too much

Try progressive relaxation

This is one of the lesser known techniques that can help alleviate stress. Remove your footwear and lie or sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and make yourself comfortable. Curl your toes as deep and as hard as you possibly can and hold them that way for 10 counts and then relax. Next, tighten your legs, hold for 10 counts and relax. Gradually move upwards, doing the same to other body parts – stomach, fingers, arms, torso, neck, face. This allows you to progressively work the stress from the tip of your toes to the top of your face and symbolically letting it go. Does it work? Try it out, before being skeptical.

Prevention is better than any cure

We allow stress to take over our lives. It is unavoidable; yes you can prevent it from happening. The key is in your hands. Lock stress out of your life.

  • Use exercise to bust stress. Go for walks, play a sport or indulge in another form of exercise, every alternate day, if you can't take out time every day. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. They are great mood lifters and bring down stress levels
  • Cut down the consumption of caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Quit smoking, if you do. These substances are known to slow down your fight-or-flight response, resulting in clammy hands, rapid pulse rate, severe anxiety etc. during stressful times
  • Engaging in a hobby can be relaxing. You can take up something that you always wanted to do, maybe growing indoor plants or try something a little different or more challenging such as growing strawberries in containers. Such activities allow you to forget the daily challenges that you face and allow you to take a breather

Does food beat stress

Eating the right foods could help you combat stress. There is a science behind the healing power of food. Foods can uplift the mood and suppress stress levels. Certain foods like chocolate have a positive effect on your mental and emotional health. Getting the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can reduce stress.

Should you see a doctor

Most definitely, and especially when you find you cannot deal with stress and find it affecting the quality of your life. You need to see a doctor if your symptoms become elevated – unable to sleep, recurrent headaches, pain in the back and beck region, binge eating, fatigue, overwhelming anxiety and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or chronic upset tummy. Stress can affect your mind as well. You could become short-tempered and cranky.

Untreated stress, can over a period of time lead to medical conditions such hypertension, heart attack, stroke etc. So, yes make an appointment with a doctor, if you find it difficult to find relief through the above-mentioned techniques.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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