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Natural Stress Relief

Posted to: Wellness Blog by Dr. Joanne on Jan 22, 2014

There are many herbs that help nourish your nervous system, ease feelings of stress such as anxiety, and help keep your energy reserve up during periods of stress.

Adaptogenic herbs are the class of herbs that can be thought of as the “anti-stress” herbs.  Herbs in this class help increase vitality, support the immune system, have antioxidant properties and help you cope and adapt to stress. Taking an adaptogenic herbal formula during times of stress provides great support so that you can avoid becoming ill, over-fatigued and becoming “burnt-out”.

Some of my favorite adaptogenic herbs include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Holy Basil.

Ashwaganda is a calming herb and is beneficial if you are feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping. It helps improve the quality of sleep when taken over time. It also provides immune support – so it’s a good choice if you have been getting minor illnesses more frequently.

Rhodiola is a great choice when fatigue is your main concern, are feeling down or experiencing pain in your body.

Holy basil is an herb from the Ayurvedic tradition. Studies have shown Holy basil is effective in lowering the stress hormone cortisol and may even help reduce blood sugar. Holy basil is a good choice when you are stressed, having trouble sleeping, and are having trouble losing weight.

These herbs are often found together in products, this is because herbs, when taken together, help each other work better! There is a nice product called Serenity Formula by Natual Factors. This formula contains Ashwaganda, American Ginseng, Lavender and Rhodiola. This formula is a good choice when you are fatigued and feeling overwhelmed. 

Adding a B complex and a mineral formula containing zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium are also really helpful during times of stress, as the body tends to use up your minerals and B vitamins quickly.

Supplements are only a piece of stress management. They can provide much relief but it’s just as important to adopt lifestyle habits that help reduce stress. Below is a technique that I learned from Heartmath practitioner and psychotherapist Laura Sunn, MD. This simple technique is simple, easy to do, takes only a few minutes and can be wonderfully effective!

 

Quick Coherence Method

Step 1: Focus your attention in the area of your heart, in the center of your chest.

Step 2: Maintain your heart focus, and, while breathing deeply and quietly, imagine that your breath is flowing in and out through the heart area.

Step 3: Feel a positive feeling (whatever makes you feel good!). This could be a feeling of care you have for someone or something; or a feeling of appreciation of the good things in your life.

Practice this method whenever feeling stressed, anxious, or experiencing a negative feeling. Over time you will more quickly enter this positive place and you will be able to stay in this positive, calm and relaxed place more easily throughout your day.

For more information about this technique visit http://www.heartmath.com/personal-use/quick-coherence-technique.html

 

Need some help choosing supplements best suited for your individual needs? Come in and talk to our Naturopath, Dr. Joanne.

All supplements mentioned in this blog are available at Good Harvest Market. 


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