Do you find yourself struggling to cope with ever-increasing amounts of stress? Do you have healthy tools available to help you relax and let go of ongoing tension and anxiety? Do you feel like your patience and inner calm is slowly eroding away? In today’s world, healthy solutions stress are more important than ever. Conventional treatments for stress and anxiety can leave you feeling drowsy or fatigued, create dependency, and ultimately, increase mental and emotional stress in the long run.
The good news is, there are a number of natural therapies that can help transform the way the brain and body respond to stress. These natural solutions help promote a sense of mental and emotional calm, increase mental focus, and help sustain all-day energy and vitality, without causing dependency. In fact, many of these natural stress solutions offer additional “side-benefits” for long-term health and wellness.
Ashwagandha is one of the most highly regarded and commonly used adaptogens by Ayurvedic healers. Adaptogens are a special class of botanicals that help balance your system for optimal energy during stressful periods. Ashwagandha helps the body resist stress and maintain mental and physical energy throughout the day, while supporting restful sleep at night. Its ability to reduce anxiety, ease restlessness and stabilize moods is highly valued by many herbalists. It also helps reduce chronic inflammation, fights infection, enhances immunity, improves memory and promotes overall well-being.
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Holy basil is native to India, where it is called Tulsi and revered as one of the most sacred plants. Like ashwagandha, this time-honored herb works as an adaptogen, naturally improving the body’s response to physical and emotional stress during periods of high anxiety and physical exhaustion. Specifically, it has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol. Taking a holy basil herbal supplement or drinking it as a tea can help stabilize the brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels to calm and relax, without causing drowsiness. Holy basil also helps to balance blood sugar and cholesterol, and provides a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
It’s well-established that B vitamins support metabolic and immune health. In addition, research shows that healthy levels of B vitamins — especially B6, B9 and B12 — may also help reduce anxiety and depression and boost energy. Whether you supplement with these essential B vitamins, or obtain them through foods such as organic dairy products, grass-fed meats, raw nuts, brewer’s yeast, and other sources, they can have a direct impact on your brain’s serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Evidence shows that B vitamins help balance and metabolize neurotoxic chemicals associated with psychological conditions like anxiety and depression. B vitamins benefit mental health, particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), which may improve mood and memory, and increase energy levels. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCL) — combined with other B-complex vitamins — can reduce levels of the toxic amino acid, homocysteine, and support GABA and serotonin neurotransmitters. This can help reduce feelings of anger, anxiety, despair and depression. When taking B vitamins, it is essential to accompany them with minerals such as zinc and trace elements which serve as co-factors to optimize the benefits of B vitamins.
Green Tea (EGCG)
Researchers have found that people who drink four or more cups of green tea daily are 44 percent less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who drink only one cup per day or less. Studies show that the component responsible for green tea’s potential antidepressant effects is L-theanine — a calming amino acid known to reduce mental and physical stress and enhance critical neurotransmitter activity. Green tea is also abundant in a class of phytochemicals called polyphenols, including the potent antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which contributes to an increase in brain alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are associated with a state of being awake but relaxed, so EGCG and L-theanine work together synergistically to promote a state of “alert relaxation.”
Honokiol is a powerful extract from the bark of Magnolia officinalis, which has been used for centuries in Asia to promote numerous areas of health — including a healthy mood. Honokiol works with GABA receptors in the brain, providing natural calming effects to support gentle relaxation and a healthy mood. It also works as a potent antioxidant, with a free radical scavenging ability up to 1,000 times greater than vitamin E. ecoNugenics HonoPure® 98% Honokiol is the highest quality and purity Honokiol available, offering gentle and effective support for a healthy mood without causing dependency. Honokiol is also shown to actively support cellular health, through multiple mechanisms, offering broad-spectrum health benefits for long term wellness.*
Yoga And Tai Chi
Natural herbs and supplements can make a difference in helping reduce stress, but these approaches are only half of the equation. A large and growing body of published research shows we also need regular physical activity to relieve stress and anxiety, with yoga and Tai Chi being some of the most studied practices for taming stress. These ancient exercises been shown to dramatically reduce stress, lower cortisol levels, improve brain health and much more. Yoga purposefully relaxes and rejuvenates and can also invigorate, depending on which type you practice. Similarly, Tai Chi is designed to facilitate a state of mental calmness and clarity while improving physical energy and core strength. The strategic breathing involved in both yoga and Tai Chi naturally boosts energy levels, while the postures and meditations keep your mind, body and spirit focused and grounded and relaxed.
Mindful meditation is another well-researched method for relieving stress and improving energy and focus. A simple 10-minute daily meditation session can offer significant improvements in mood and energy levels. More and more peer-reviewed research confirms that meditation is a viable method for improving health, energy and emotional well-being — reducing anxiety, depression, mental imbalances and risk of chronic disease. In fact, studies show that daily meditation can be more effective than antidepressants in improving emotional balance and peace of mind.
Stress — in some form or another — is a daily reality for most people. What matters is how we deal with it. Along with a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, these natural approaches can help us let go of nagging anxiety, and transform our stress response into energy and focus that we need to reach the next level of health and vitality, naturally.