What is Stress?
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. It can come from your environment, your body or your thoughts. It’s not necessarily driven by negative events or thoughts. Positive changes such as a promotion, a new baby or a new house can create stress. Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or a response.
Fortunately, our bodies are designed to experience stress and to react to it. Stress can be positive. It can keep us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when it continues with no relief or relaxation between stressors.
Stress activates our bodies “flight or fight” response. With prolonged periods of stress our flight or fight response becomes chronically activated. This causes physical and emotional wear and tear on the body. Stress that continues without relief creates a negative stress reaction and can lead to a condition called distress.
Distress disturbs the body’s natural equilibrium and can lead to physical symptoms such as:
- Digestive issues such as upset stomach
- Elevated blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Problems sleeping
Distress can also lead to emotional problems such as:
- Panic attacks
Stress has been linked to the six of the leading causes of death:
- Heart disease
- Lung ailments
- Cirrhosis of the Liver
How to Relieve Stress Naturally?
- Relax: practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
- Sleep: You may be more productive if your mind and body are well-rested. To help facilitate a good night’s sleep try setting a consistent sleep/wake schedule.
- Exercise: Physical activity is vital for stress and releasing happiness-inducing endorphins.
- Eat healthy: A balanced diet, avoiding temporary “sugar highs” that may be followed by fatigue, can energize the body and mind.
- Talk: Sometimes airing your concerns and getting the support of others can put problems into perspective.
- Manage your time: Stress can be avoided by planning, trying not to procrastinate, and making time for loved ones.
- Be positive: Keep a sense of humor and try not to stress yourself out by focusing on worst-case scenarios.
- Be realistic: Acknowledge your limits, your abilities, and your control in any given situation.
Common Herbs to Help Relieve Stress & Anxiety
As we all know, the only constant is change and stress is our natural response to change. Therefore, people have been experiencing stress for centuries and solutions to help us cope with stress have been found in the natural world. Lemon Balm, Passion Flower, St. John’s Wort, Kava Kava, and Hemp have all been used successfully to help relieve stress and anxiety.
Lemon Balm has long been favored by herbalists for use in all complaints that “proceed from a disordered state of the nervous system.” Lemon Balm is commonly used for anxiety, stress, insomnia, irritability, and restlessness. Lemon Balm relaxes both the body and calms mental and emotional turmoil.
Lemon Balm contains several components that make it an effective natural remedy. The chief active component is rosmarinic acid, a powerful antioxidant that also has antimicrobial properties. Rosmarinic acid has been shown to increase the production of GABA neurotransmitters, which help regulate mood and modulate anxiety. These brain receptors also help stimulate the production of serotonin, thereby increasing feelings of well-being and promoting healthy sleep patterns.
Lemon Balm can be found in PureCalm™ by Native Remedies.
Passion Flower is a relaxing herb to both the mind and body. It can help facilitate sleep for those experiencing insomnia. Herbalists frequently recommend Passion Flower for imbalances of the nervous system including nervous tension, insomnia, and stress headaches.
The medicinal properties of Passion Flower are attributed to its alkaloids and flavonoids. Like many plant extracts, the alkaloids and flavonoids lose their effectiveness when separated. Native Remedies uses a full spectrum extraction process to ensure these properties remain in balance.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort has a long history as a treatment for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and nervous disorders. The effects of St. John’s wort come on slowly over time and it can typically take from 2-4 weeks and even up to 1-3 months for the full benefits to be felt.
The exact mechanism of how St. John’s wort works in the body is not yet known, however it is suspected to have an action similar to MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors or an SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor).
St. John’s wort can be found in MindSoothe™ by Native Remedies.
Kava Kava, or more simply known kava, is the best anti-anxiety herb. It is great during emotional stress and upheaval. It helps create calm when one is in the middle of intense personal trauma such as recovery therapy, relationship turmoil, personal loss and the like. While relaxing, Kava does not dull the senses but tends to focus the mind and sensory capacity.
Kava has been well studied around the world and has been recognized as a useful herb for decades. Studies have shown that its mechanisms of action include decreasing levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, binds to GABA receptors in some regions of the brain, inhibits noradrenalin (norepinephrine) uptake and more.
The endocannabinoid system appears to be involved in the regulation of anxiety as there are a high number of CB1 receptors located in the parts of the brain involved with anxiety. Current research suggests that the endocannabinoid provides information to the central nervous system about the anxiety-inducing trigger and our behavioral response to the trigger.
Balance within the endocannabinoid system is key for maintaining the appropriate stress and anxiety responses. In some scenarios, high doses of cannabinoids are associated with feelings of stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is recommended to start with a low dose approach.
CBD may reduce anxiety by modulating specific receptors and can also interact with CB1 receptors. It appears to be helpful for managing anxiety that is triggered by stress, or for anxiety that does not subside after a stressful event.
Native Remedies offers a variety of Hemp products to support emotional health and balance.
As we continue to navigate our way through 2020, it is comforting to know that there are tried and true natural solutions to help support our bodies and minds through this time of change.
To your good health!