Home Remedies for Stress
Some of the home remedies for stress include practicing breathing exercises, yoga, working out, and eating healthy food. The intake of ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, chamomile, lavender oils, and licorice are also useful home remedies for stress. These are simple remedies without any side effects.
Stress has become a common problem for people all over the world. It not only affects the health of a person, but it also affects the behavioral, emotional, and cognitive sides of a person.
Stress can mean different things to different people. However, it is mostly used in the context of psychology and biology. Under biological conditions, stress is related to the biochemical imbalances that are the result of a psychological disturbance taking place in in a person. The goal of the body (chemically) is to maintain a steady state or equilibrium at most times. There are psychological aspects of stress as well. Psychologically, each person is different; so is their response to stress. Events or situations such as war, famine, and childhood abuse can lead to stress-related disease known as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress in our bodies can also be aggravated due to the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, prescribed drugs, and narcotics.
Stress can be traced back to our early days of evolution. It was stress that helped and is still helping animals to stay out of danger. This concept developed by Walter Cannon in the early 1920’s is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, where an animal under attack generates energy rapidly with which it can either fight back or flee from the situation.
Today in our office and corporate environments, one cannot opt for either “fight” or “flight”. The accumulation of chemicals such as cortisol and norepinephrine takes place in our body during stressful conditions. These chemicals are not flushed out easily and they remain in our bodies causing health issues. Some of the most common conditions that result from stress include anxiety, tension, sleeplessness, dizzy spells, nervousness, cramps, acidity, heartburn, and backaches. These can be either immediate or short-term conditions.
Stress can result in long term conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, a high level of bad cholesterol, and poor heart conditions. It is also known to affect a person’s immune system in the long run, making us susceptible to diseases. In some cases, stress has been traced back to a low functionality level of vaccinations.
Types of Stress
There are different types of stress that might not be controlled with the same type of remedies.
Acute Stress: This is the most common form of stress found in people. This type of stress is generally related to the pressures from the recent past and near future. A small dose of this stress can be thrilling, like the feeling you get from sliding down a slanted hill. However, many people may not be able to enjoy this if the dose is higher than usual. Acute stress pertains to regular pressures and it causes bursts of anger, anxiety, headaches, jaw pain, backaches, heart burn, acidity, constipation, diarrhea, and high blood pressure.
Episodic Acute Stress: This type of stress is the next level of acute stress, where a person will be handling number of pressures or demands simultaneously. The symptoms of episodic acute stress include aggression, anxiety, impatience, tension, short-temperedness, high blood pressure, accelerated heartbeat, backaches, and high acidity. Their impatience and aggressiveness is sometimes perceived to be hostile and they end up being some of the worst communicators. On the other hand, there are others who are very depressed and sad rather than aggressive. Those kind of people can also face the same type of symptoms.
Chronic Stress: A major percentage of chronic stress sufferers end up as alcoholics or drug addicts. Major issues at work, in personal or professional life like estranged relationships, loss of loved ones, or unemployment contribute to chronic stress. The worst affected are not actually adults, but children. The psychological trauma that a child goes through under such situations may have a profound effect on his or her life in later years.
Symptoms of Stress
Some symptoms to look for in terms of stress-related problems include the following.
Poor Memory: Stressed out people experience poor memory capacity. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which can affect the brain’s hippocampus area, which stores important information in the form of neural connections. Research indicates that cortisol can rupture the existing connections and destroy newly formed or currently forming connections. In other words, the stress hormone cortisol can result in a poor memory when it is exposed to the brain in extended or lengthy quantities.
Lack of Concentration: Under stressful conditions, the release of cortisol disrupts the formation of new memories, which is the reason why it is difficult to maintain concentration while under stress. Studies on lab-induced stress and cortisol ingestion suggests that the presence of cortisol, both naturally and ingested, resulted in impaired memory.
Pessimistic Attitude: Pessimism or negativity is one of the symptoms seen in people suffering from stress.
Constant Worrying: Stressed out people often worry constantly for no apparent reason. Sometimes, the reason for worry could be a remote possibility, yet a good amount of energy is wasted in thinking about something that may never happen.
Constipation and Diarrhea: Constipation and diarrhea are also seen in people with stress. Stress causes the rectum muscles to tighten up, thereby leading to constipation. On the other hand, some people under stress can feel the opposite and may not be able to control the rectal muscles. There could also be situations where a person experiences both constipation and diarrhea in continuing cycles. Continued constipation and diarrhea cycles can lead to hemorrhoids or piles.
Faster Heartbeat and Chest Pain: People who are stressed and tense experience a faster heartbeat. This is due to anxiety, which arises from the subconscious thoughts about future uncertainties. This may lead to hypertension or high blood pressure. People suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure have a greater chance of suffering from strokes.
Lack of Sex Drive: Lack of sex drive is yet another major symptom that people complain of whilst stressed. Stress and sex share a few connections in the form of hormones. It has been found that stress can have a direct relationship with diminishing or neutralizing hormones that are responsible for a person’s sex drive.
Eating Disorders: Eating disorders can also be categorized under stress-related disorders. Psychologically, there are two types of eaters. One is an emotional eater and the other is a restrictive eater. Emotional eaters tend to eat whenever they are stressed out, feeling sad, or during any frustrated moments. Restrictive eaters, on the other hand, tend to stay away from food when they are stressed out. They are also known to frequently diet and stop eating certain types of foods. Thus, they might suffer from malnutrition.
Sleep Disorders: Sleeping disorders arise out of over-thinking about the day’s events or future events before going to sleep. Other factors, such as over-working, anxiety, caffeine, and tobacco consumption are also known to create sleep disorders.
Home Remedies for Stress
Some home remedies that can help in reducing stress include the following:
Ashwagandha: Withinia Somnifera or ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, has been used in Ayurveda for treating diseases such as osteoarthritis, Type II diabetes, and cancer. It is successful in treating anxiety and stress. Ashwagandha is available in capsule form and powdered form.
Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo biloba has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for treating various ailments. Scientific evidence suggests that ginkgo is also a very good stress reliever. It is believed to be one of the oldest living trees on earth. The average ginkgo biloba tree is believed to be as old as 4,000 years old.
Licorice: Licorice has been known to be an ancient herb that offers many benefits for millennia. Recent research has showed that licorice is also a very good stress-relieving medicine. This herb is believed to be very useful in diseases such as asthma, Athlete’s foot, fatigue, cold and flu, gingivitis, fungal infections, yeast infections, psoriasis, and ulcers.
Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea is advised to be taken before sleeping so that stress levels are lowered, which can result in sound sleep. Dried chamomile flowers are also used as medicine. It is a good cortisol neutralizer.
Chamomile and Lavender: Chamomile and lavender essential oils can be used for relieving stress. A study showed that a massage with chamomile, lavender, and geranium oils reduced stress and fatigue levels in many patients. Daily massages for 5 to 10 minutes would lower stress and fatigue levels considerably.
Healthy Diet: People under stress may ignore nutrition and healthy food. One should have wholesome food that includes items rich in proteins, carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid sweets, deep-fried and shallow-fried foods, as well as plain calories under stressful conditions. Instead, opting for vegetables or fruits can be a very good solution. The vitamins and minerals in vegetables and fruits act as antioxidants and reduce the incidence of stress-related hormones in the body.
Vitamin C-Rich Food: Vitamin C can effectively lower stress levels at both physical and psychological levels. A study showed that Vitamin C or ascorbic acid had positive effects on stress levels. It is found in citrus fruits, uncooked vegetables, and herbs.
Yoga: Breathing exercises are known to be very effective in reducing stress in people. Particularly, pranayama in yoga is known to be one of the best home remedies for stress. The process of pranayama includes slow deep breathing, which is very effective in various disorders such as stress, insomnia, hypertension, depression, and migraines.
Regular Exercises: Exercise on a regular basis has been proven to be a very good stress reliever. Take up any kind of exercise such as running, cycling, or swimming. Workouts will not only help in reducing stress, but will also burn off those excess calories that you have been planning to shed for some time.
Planning and Time Management: Proper workout plans with goals and deadlines, if made and followed, can help you perform well at your work, achieve goals, and help reduce stress levels. This can also be used in your personal life depending upon the need. However, set your goals in a realistic way so that they are achievable.
Make Time for Yourself: Allocate some time for yourself, especially after work. During this time, do not think about the things that trouble you. Instead, focus your energy on a hobby or on an interest. Pursuing an interest can be a very good stress reliever. Spending at least 1 to 2 hours a day having fun with a hobby can clear your mind from those stressful thoughts and leave you with a good feeling at the end of the day.
Share It: Sharing your bad experiences for the day with a loved one, a good friend, or a colleague can be a good way to handle stress. It will reduce the burden that you have been carrying all day and can give you some relief. Sometimes, the people that you’re sharing your experiences with might come up with some novel ideas to deal with your work pressures.
Spend Quality Time with Family and/or Friends: Try to spend quality time with your family and/or friends. Go for a long drive with your family or friends. It can be fun and will also relieve your stress at the same time. Not only this, it could help reinforce the relationships with your family members and/or friends.
Laughter: Laughter is a good solution to stress. Watch your favorite comedy sitcoms, shows, and movies. You could also think of joining in a laughter club in your location or going to see a comedy show at a club!
Don’t Forget to Sleep Well: It is very important that you get a good night sleep every day. Stress causes sleeplessness and a lack of sleep can aggravate problems. So, in order to avoid insomnia, practice meditation for a few minutes before you sleep.
Take up Social Work: Help others who are in dire need of your assistance. Your good deeds will not only benefit those around you, but will also leave you with a very good satisfied feeling.
Positive Talking to Yourself: Positive and retrospective talk to oneself can have a significant impact on stress levels. Stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. This can give not only positive feedback, but can also instill confidence in yourself.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: Tobacco and alcohol are two of the most important addictions that need to be avoided, especially during stressful times. Generally, addicts believe that alcohol and tobacco are stress-relievers, but scientific opinion states otherwise. Alcohol and tobacco are only stimulants whose effects are temporary.
Avoid Caffeine: Excessive consumption of caffeine in the long run also increases stress levels. Research on college students showed that caffeine increased blood pressure, which eventually resulted in increased stress.
Under extremely stressful situations, consulting a doctor is advised. Do not neglect severe symptoms.