Stress is a common by-product of living. Everyone faces it in differing degrees and handles stress in different ways. If left untreated, it can strain your health and even lead to disease and death. The good news is, even those who have a great deal of stress can manage it effectively and naturally with stress-reduction techniques.
Stress and the Body
Stress is not a bad word. Although it can destroy a person’s health, it is also beneficial in some cases, and can help a person deal with difficult situations. In fact, stress has a certain affect on the body, which is sometimes called the fight-or-flight response. In the face of stress, the body reacts by sending brain signals to the body—much like an alarm sounds when there is danger. A combination of hormone and nerve signals prompts your adrenal glands to increase levels of certain hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Occasional bursts of these hormones can help a person react to problems by increasing energy levels and enhancing awareness. However, if this stress reaction stays constant, a person becomes overexposed to stress hormones, and faces certain health risks as a result. The following are some of the conditions associated with chronic stress:
- Digestive disorders
- Heart disease
- Increased flare-ups of skin conditions and other existing health complications
Reducing Stress with Herbs
Certain herbs have a calming effect on the body and can help you balance the stress in your life. The following are some well-known herbs for stress reduction.
Chamomile: The active ingredients in chamomile’s dried and fresh flowers are shown to have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and smooth-muscle relaxing effects. The light floral taste of chamomile makes it an ideal tea, one that is widely sipped for both its flavor and its health-enhancing effects. The herb is often used to induce sleep and promote a sense of well-being.
Ginseng: Ginseng is an adaptogen, or an agent that helps the body manage stress. The active components in ginseng are ginsenosides, which are thought to lessen the negative effects of stress while promoting mental and physical performance. For this reason, ginseng is often found in energy drinks and tonics for athletic performance. Use the herb as a daytime pick-me-up and to increase your immunity to stress.
Additional Stress-Reduction Techniques
Aside from using herbs, you can reduce stress naturally by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. Wholesome foods can help increase your energy levels, which in turn helps you manage heavy workloads and gain confidence in yourself and your achievements. You might also surround yourself with positive people–those who help you focus on the good things in life rather than harping on the negatives. Optimism is often infectious, as is a sour mood and pessimistic outlook.References: MayoClinic.com: Stress Management; Maryland Medical Center: Chamomile: Roman Chamomile; NCCAM: Asian Ginseng